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Picture taken from his official youtube channel note 

If I'd had a character killed off every time I laughed in a campaign, I don't think I would've gotten out of the tavern alive.

Puffin Forest (originally titled Puffin Forrest) is a YouTube channel where the creator, Ben, describes his experiences with Tabletop RPG Games as well as with other things in his life. His channel can be found here.

Puffin Forest provides examples of:

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    Tropes A through H 
  • Absurd Phobia: Ben's character Aligaros, being the Dumb Muscle, is afraid of libraries.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The first game Ben GM'd takes place in one. It's big enough that an otyugh, a giant tentacle monster, lives in it. But it turns out that sewers are gross.
  • Accidentally-Correct Writinginvoked:
    • In "The Infamous TPK Module" Ben was running an encounter with a "lake monster" but he couldn't find the relevant stat block. He instead used the block for a Purple Worm which proceeded to demolish the party, forcing them to retreat. Ben later determined he was meant to use the stat block for a Sea Serpent whose stats are almost identical to a Purple Worm; the encounter was always meant to be a near-TPK.
    • In his The Lord of the Rings Evil Campaign, Ben picked Sauron before realizing he actually doesn't know very much about the character, having only seen the film trilogy. So he gives Sauron the Deceive, Notice and Craft skills, essentially making him an evil blacksmith, and runs his evil empire like a militant corporation out to industrialize Middle-Earth by force. Cue Tolkien lore nerds in the comments section affirming that Ben pretty much got Sauron spot-on (the main difference being that his take was slightly goofier).
  • Accidental Innuendo: In-Universe. The GM of a Star Wars campaign describes lightsabers as "extending" and start emitting white light after touching.
    • In the Curse of Strahd campaign, a Night Hag drained some of Krusk's dreams while Boshack was helpless to stop it (not that he wanted to). The day after, Boshack told Krusk that the night hag had "sucked [him] of last night". Krusk reacts with appropriate horror.
  • Action Girl: The episode "An Abserd-ly Difficult Mission" gives us Langderosa, a dragonborn fighter with a stat-block that Ben describes as "abusively long". She leads a raiding party against a human town, and cuts a player's head off with one stroke during a blood duel.
    Langderosa: Haha! You call that an attack? I'll show you how real warriors duel.
    • Note that this is something Ben (possibly unintentionally, as he has a history of skimming modules and forgetting details) changed. Langderosa is male in the module as-written. And also called Langdedrosa, but that's much more excusable.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • Ben is surprised to find out that Krakens are weak to magic in 5e. Despite their high saving throw bonuses, they do not have magic resistance, the Immutable Form trait or even legendary resistance, meaning that even a low level polymorph spell can hit them hard.
    • Gods in Ben's setting are extremely resistant to all damage except psychic. While it takes a lot of damage to kill them, doing so with psychic damage is the easiest way.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Banshee in Pathfinder (which is an ofshoot of D&D, so it still counts). In D&D, they're low-level bossmonsters, or Mooks for higher levels. In Pathfinder, they're stronger than liches!
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Mordenkainen of Greyhawk game is a bit of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who generally is more focused on his schemes than the little people who are caught up in them. Mordenkainen in Ben's Curse of Strahd campaign is rather nice and friendly and also speaks in an Old West accent.
  • Adorable Abomination:
    • Dragons and serpent-type monsters tend to look like a child's drawing with chubby bodies, plushie-proportions, and a smiling face with puppy dog eyes.
    • The aboleth with the Split Personality from Terror of the Deep. Ben draws it more like a cute whale thing than what aboleths actually look like, and its cutesy, friendly personality ends up talking to the players a lot more than its evil side. A similar adorable aboleth also appears in Too Many Pets, although considering the latter campaign takes place in Waterdeep which the Tomb of Annihilation module merely references, it's unlikely that it's the same Aboleth. Another story ends with the party finding a trinket with another adorable Aboleth inside it (which may explain how the party got the Aboleth pet in Too Many Pets).
    • The immortal cat monster from the holiday one off.
    • The Shemhazian/Mutilation Demon from the Pathfinder TPK module. It is the Final Boss of a module that is designed to kill the players, but Ben draws it as a cute spider/bear thing and talks about it in a cutesy voice like it doesn't have a chance of winning because it is all by itself, but then he switches to a serious voice when he gets to the part about how it will petrify the players and eat their corpses. This actually isn't too big of a shift from its art which gives the Shemhazian an almost puppy-like face.
  • Affably Evil:
    • The party that fought Tar Hogar/Garathor. The DM himself considered them Pure Evil, but Ben was still very affable and friendly. invoked
    • Ben chose to play Sauron in the Lord of the Rings game as a polite and cheerful company CEO since he had no idea what Sauron's canon personality was like, and also because it helped keep the team of villains together.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy:
    • Captain Morgan volunteered for a ridiculously dangerous mission because he was high out of his mind on cocaine.
    • Aligaros keeps waking up in jail with no memory of what he did to get arrested as a result of his drinking habits and he is too dumb to realize that maybe he needs to quit getting blackout drunk.
  • All for Nothing: Ben's view on the Cthulhu mythos. Investigators give their lives to push the end back day by day, but ultimately, humanity is living on borrowed time. Sooner or later, the terrible gods of the mythos will catch up to them.
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted in The WORST solutions. After a trek through the Dream Lands, one of the players lampshades this trope, and states that it's a good thing Ben won't do that. In the background, Ben is seen tearing a page out of his notebook.
  • All There in the Manual: Several of Ben's videos are from adventures based on official modules, and reading these modules can provide some additional insight.
    • Sometimes this justifies Ben's mistakes. For instance, the Waterdeep module doesn't actually have a stat block for Nihiloor but does have his portrait next to the stat block of a Nimblewright; the DM is supposed to use the stats of a mind flayer. Other times not so much, such as Ben missing a section specifically called "Getting into the temple" in The Fane of the Night Serpent, due primarily to his having picked up the module at the literal last-minute.
    • The behavior of Lennithon seems peculiar in that an adult blue dragon has a hissy fit and flies off after a few weak sword blows and an arrow. Rather than Ben choosing to spare his players, this is by the book. In The Tyranny of Dragons the encounter was specifically designed so Lennithon would prioritize attacking NPCs rather than the players and would retreat after taking either a small amount of damage or a single crit.
    • Ben has two post-campaign discussions for the "Curse of Strahd" playthrough, one with the DM and one with the players. The discussion with the DM in particular gives more insight on the changes he chose to make to the campaign and why, along with the sources he either used or was inspired by.
  • Alpha Bitch: Trixie Starbright, who is also a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Ben's thought process on what alignment his own characters are depends on what they're holding - if it's dynamite, they will be Chaotic Evil, because Stuff Blowing Up is too fun to resist.
  • And the Adventure Continues:
    • 500 years after the Malikar and Covenant campaigns, a new story begins. Since the party gained the Boon of Immortality, we can be certain they'll be around to witness it. When the new campaign starts, one player decides to keep playing as his old character, though there isn't any info yet on where the other old characters are.
    • At the end of the "Curse of Strahd" campaign, Gouda and Krusk set off together to adventure across the Demiplane of Dread. Enforced by Mavaras, whose Dark Gift compels Gouda to always be "the hero" and seek out new adventures that distract her from returning home.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • It is revealed at the start of the campaign after the Time Skip that the gnome monk Michelle spent 500 years completely alone, unable to be seen or heard due to losing control of his powers. Meeting the new characters is the first time since then that anyone has been able to see him.
    • Strahd's fourth bride was imprisoned in the dungeons once Strahd grew tired of her. Since there presumably isn't any silver, running water or sunlight down there, she's almost certainly in this situation.
  • Animated Armor: Used particularily insidiously in the Curse of Strahd campaign. The paladin Krusk discovered a suit of magical armor that was actually animated and under Strahd's control. Once the players tried to fight Strahd, he simply activated the armor, effectively neutralizing their tank for several rounds.
  • The Archmage: Mordenkainen, the (in)famous Archmage of Oerth. He's also doing what appears to be a cowboy aesthetic, as opposed to his usual, more traditional Archmage look.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Humorous variant: A DM accuses Ben of not knowing how alignment work. When Ben asks "How does alignment work, then?", the DM can't come up with an adequate explanation. note 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The Covenant was forged to protect the Prime Material from incursions of planes like Hell, Pandemonium, the Shadowfell and Mount Celestia. invoked
    • When describing the fallen world in the How every D&D Universe begins video, he mentions "Evil, disease, gnomes and death".
  • Art Evolution: Compare Ben's earliest videos with his recent ones and see how much he has improved.
  • Artistic License – Economics: In "Black Market Blues", there is a town where both the local government and police force sanction the black market. It's the primary source of income for the town, yet the town council doesn't make it an open market "because then we'd lose the black market and nobody would make any money." When Ben points out the logical error in this, the town's Inquisitor tortures his wizard character.
  • Ascended Extra: When the W.O.R.S.T. are exploring a Dream Land, DM Ben makes the mistake of describing one of the surreal sights, a dapper Funny Animal otter pulling a cart, in a bit too much detail. The party immediately interacts with him, and since he was intended to be window dressing Ben has to improvise a name (Ottie Otterton), and they then essentially kidnap him. He helps save the day and becomes part of the campaign in the real world. Then the party decides, for literally no reason, that he must be secretly evil.
  • Assurance Backfire: When their D&D characters get transported to New York City, Ben's character reassures the now-human Dragonborn that being human isn't so bad.
    Ben: I'm a human every day! Now you're just! Like! Me!
    Zod: Oh my god... the horror...
  • Atrocious Alias:
    • The players characters in the Malikar and Covenant storyline got themselves stuck with the name "The Turtle Molesters/Fuckers". They later changed it to The Turtle Friends.
    • The successor party was named the Warriors Of Really Shitty Timing, or WORST.
    If you have a problem, what you need is... the WORST solutions.
  • Ax-Crazy: Two so far.
    • Prospector Jenkins, Grim servant of death!! He throws dynamite for fun!
    • Crazy Mike! He's owns a toy store, and holds children hostage to force their parents to buy toys at his store.
  • Badass Normal: Antonio de Castilian Maximilianos. He's actually a completely normal goblin and Ben just rolled really well for it.
  • Back from the Dead: After being slain by monsters, the Goddess pulls the soul of Ben's cleric back from the afterlife and restores him. Much to Ben's disappointment.
  • Batman Gambit: W.O.R.S.T. thinks Otterton is pulling this on them, constantly playing them like fools to accomplish his goals. He's not, but another, completely unknown and unrelated character is.
  • Beat Still, My Heart:
    • During Fane of the Night Serpent a player walks in on Ras Nsi's throne room right when he is killing somebody who failed him by ripping out his still beating heart.
    • Garo dies this way in the first session of "The Shenani-Guys in The Curse of Strahd". He gets better.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: The episode "D&D Stories: funny moments from my campaign" reveals that the party from the Malikar and Covenant storylines is called "The Turtle Fuckers". When Will's character Michele asks Ben to tell the story of how they got that name, he refuses to animate it. Ben later clarified that the name actually was "The Turtle Molesters" and they got it because they had a pet turtle and had a habit of applying touch spells to dirty places, and Ben had threatened to give them that name as a joke if they didn't come up with a name, but they never did come up with a name so Ben went ahead with his threat.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In "Miscellaneous Monsters and Bears of Sand" a PC lied to a guard that they were hunting sand bears, monstrous half bear half scorpion creatures. One of PC's didn't realize that sand bears weren't real and was later killed by a manifestation of his fears in the form of a sand bear.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Gouda's patron, Mavaras comes across as the silliest of the patrons at first. When talking to Gouda, he rambles about spreading chaos, lauhgs maniacally and is an overall Obviously Evil comedic character. In the Amber Temple, his darker nature is shown a bit, as he offers Gouda a new body, does something to it when she refuses and talks creepily about her being the hero. "Always be the hero." In the final episode, Gouda's pact with him comes back to bite her big time. She is cursed to wander the Demiplane of Dread forever, always distracted by some new quest, never able to return home to Faerûn. Not even death will free her from her pact, as Mavaras will simply offer her one of two new bodies and recreate the one she didn't choose as a villain for her to fight. After all, she wanted to be the hero. Now she will be the hero forever...
  • Big Ball of Violence: In "Too Many Pets" when a player finds himself fighting against a dog headed hag, the rest of the players and enemies are shown fighting in a big cloud in the background.
  • Big Eater: In "Adventures In The Real World: Christmas Shenanigans (also, thanks Dingo!), Ben reveals himself to be this. His favorite part of the holidays is the food, he feels tempted to crash holiday parties so he can eat their food, and at a game of White Elephant he picked a giant ham as his present (which the others at the party considered the gag gift).
  • Big Fun: Ben always draws himself and any character he plays as noticeably fatter than everyone else. Also can be a Fat Bastard when he is playing an evil or jerkish character. He actually isn't fat in real life. Also frequently combined with Fat Idiot since Ben enjoys playing dumb characters.
  • Big Good: Throughout the Curse of Strahd campaign, the players are intending to travel to Krezk, where they have heard of a powerful spellcaster and wise man called simply "The Abbot". Subverted when it turns out that Strahd has already broken him, and he is just trying to placate the vampire.
  • Bird People: Flynn, the Aarakocra bard. He's the target of quite a bit of Fantastic Racism, even from his own party.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Trixie Starbright, one of Ben's RP characters, is not above using a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to make others suspicious of her rival.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The ending to My players LOSE the final fight!". While the party failed to kill Malikar, they succeeded in preventing his plot to destroy the world and inadvertently sending him to Mount Celestia note . The fighter and his drow elf companion ended up in the Beastlandsnote , the sorcerer ended up in Arcadianote , the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing ended up in Ysgardnote , and the Monk escaped the tower and was greeted as a hero. However the party members are permanently separated from each other, and because the Monk had no idea that the people in the tower were transported to different dimensions he believes that his friends died and that Malikar will return. He lives in fear of this, the rest of his life, and when he is old he gives the Mournblade to his son. The next campaign retcons these events because the players wanted to continue using their old characters so Malikar still survived, but the party was reunited sometime after being scattered and got to go on another adventure. The next story after also ends in a bittersweet note because the heroes are given the gift of immortality, but part ways and never see each other again.
    • For the party overall in the Strahd campaign:
      • Boshak gets a full-on Earn Your Happy Ending, with his rejecting Dendar's orders leading to a shift to Chaotic Neutral, the restoration of his arm, and help from Gertruda and the flesh golem in killing the green dragon that massacred his village. He's also the only one to leave the Demiplanes of Dread.
      • Gouda and Krusk are trapped (Krusk more voluntarily as he's just staying with Gouda) travelling around, Gouda always planning to go home but always and forever being distracted by some new quest. After all, she is The Hero... and will never be anything else, forever reincarnated to be so while her rejected reincarnations come to life as shells with only the purpose to kill her. Gouda's player is very put out by this, while Krusk's notes that his character will probably be fine with it.
      • Garo gets the shortest end of the stick—he must stay in Barovia proper, due to being the champion of the Fanes of the land, who force him to stay as their eternal protector. Meanwhile, the woman they put in the position of Lord turns out to have been lying and actually wishes to emulate Strahd...and is a stronger spellcaster than Strahd ever was. Garo is now the Abbot to her Strahd, and will slowly be broken down over the centuries even to the point of hiding the sun again once she becomes a vampire, forced to appease her lest he harm the people and land he must forever protect. Ouch. Ben comes to the conclusion that Barovia should be left well enough alone until everyone inside finally dies of their own accord.
    • In the "Curse of Strahd" Post-Campaign discussion, the DM reveals that even the "best" ending would have qualified as this. Namely, joining forces with Strahd to destroy the Dark Powers and free all of Barovia, at the cost of both freeing Strahd from Barovia and letting him turn Irena.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • In the job interview video, Ben tells several extremely obviously lies to the interviewers.
    • Ben claims in one video that there are no stats in D&D for a house-cat. When someone else tries to point out the cat stat block in the Player's Handbook, Ben punches them in the face.
    • Ben's claim that he wasn't at all upset by a past GM one-shotting him with a ridiculously overpowered magical attack while his voice and avatar are expressing barely repressed fury.
  • Book Ends: In the first episode of "The Shenani-Guys in Curse of Strahd", the party finds an old letter written by Kolyan Indirovich. In the final episode's Downer Ending Distant Finale, a broken Garo finds that, if he were to send a message beyond the mist, it would be the same:
    So, I say to you: Give us up for dead and circle this land with the symbols of good. Let holy men call upon their power so that the devil may be contained within the walls of weeping Barovia. Leave our sorrows to our graves, and save the world from this evil fate of ours. There is much wealth entrapped in this community. Return for your reward, after we're all departed for a better life.
    -Kolyan Indirovich, Burgomaster
  • Born Unlucky: Ben has all kinds of bad luck and it is hilarious. When he runs games they often do not go as planned, and when playing he often gets terrible rolls. This turned to his advantage when he went to the Stream of Many Eyes and played a game where the goal was to get low numbers with the dice instead of high numbers, which he has had a lot of practice with.
  • Boring, but Practical: In the "DM.exe has crashed" video, the paladin goes to get a search warrant for the school. It takes a while, but it was a lot more practical than the samurai's preferred method of holding the entire school hostage.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Antonio de Castilian Maximiliano, a Goblin Swashbuckler who manages to parry all the party's attacks and fell two players before the rest retreat. Ultimately a subversion; while one PC accuses Ben of making him a "3rd level bard, 5th level fighter, 8th level swashbuckler", Ben reveals that Antonio is just a normal Goblin with normal stats and Ben's rolls were particularly lucky this time.
  • Breakout Character: Abserd is by far the most popular of Ben's characters, having a lot of Fan Art.
  • Break the Cutie: The Curse of Strahd campaign is pretty much one big one for Ben's character, the Cleric/Monk Garo. He starts out kind as pious, but over the course of the series, Barovia starts to get to him. They agree to help some kind, old ladies, but they turn out to be hags. They rescue a town from an insane leader, but only by delivering it straight into the hands of Strahd. Said leader is then executed, despite Garo's pleas that he be put on trial, along with his innocent wife, and his son seemingly dies in a malfunctioning Teleportation circle. Finally they manage to kill the hags, Garo showing how Barovia got to him by brutally murdering the one who plead for mercy, but they are too late to save two of the children and the third one they have to kill themselves, or else she'll turn into another hag. By the end of the fifth episode, he can do nothing but solemnly hope that maybe they'll finally get to save someone for once.
  • Brown Note: The Omega Pun is a pun so powerful that it can kill even gods that here it and only a true Pungeon Master can safely learn it.
  • The Bus Came Back: In "A Most Abserd Character", Ben made a useless multiclass adventurer called Abserd. He was last seen being handed over to an evil wood elf by his own party, but he returns in "An Abserd-ly Difficult Mission" as the town's mayor.
  • But Now I Must Go: In episode 9 of the Curse of Strahd playthrough the party convenes with their various NPC allies to discuss their plans. Mordenkainen, Ismark, and the werewolves all choose to leave the party. While Mordenkainen plans to help them in the future, Ismark has given up and is going home while the werewolves think the party is too dangerous to be around.
  • But Thou Must!: One of Ben's problems with 4th edition which hit on multiple fronts.
    • The only real choices you could make were at character creation, where you decided which build you wanted. From that point on, you got to pick one ability for each level, but only one of those would work with the build you were using, so you only had one real option for each level. The War Priest class was even worse, as it didn't even give that much choice.
    • You couldn't multiclass either. If you wanted to play a Hybrid class, you had to make that decision at level 1. Even then the amount you could actually accomplish was heavily limited by the aforementioned class design.
    • And skill challenges, something which Ben states his group mostly ignored because of how overly restrictive they were. The challenges were designed to only be solved in a small number of ways, some of them completely nonsensical, and once started the players could only sit and listen as the DM told them what their characters were doing.
  • Call-Back: Calling back to a notorious aboleth encounter outlined in, "Terror Of The Deep!", "The Xanathar Guild" ends with the party finding a magical stone with an aboleth inside it that introduces itself with, "Hey guys, how's it going? I don't really get a lot of new friends in this stone", in the same way as the aboleth in Acererak's tomb.
  • The Cameo: In "Dungeon Bebop: 12 Cartoon D&D Sketches", Blue from Blue's Clues is exploring a dungeon with Ben. They skidoo into a picture ... which contains an evil monster.
  • Cannibal Clan: Averted two times. The first, in the first Parnast video, was because one player was Wrong Genre Savvy, and assumed the village were cannibals because they would be "happy. to have [them] for the feast". The other was in the second Malikar video, and more understandable. Two players had killed a large amount of guards and stuffed their corpses in the kitchen. The two players that hadn't been present later tried to hide in the kitchen, and you can imagine the rest.
  • Cannibal Larder: Two player characters mistakenly think that they have found a cannibal larder when they enter a kitchen in a bad guy's fortress with pieces of dead bodies stuffed everywhere. Actually what had happened was that two other players characters had hidden in the kitchen and killed all of the guards that entered and then did their best to hide the bodies.
  • Captain Ersatz: A running gag in the Curse of Strahd story is that everytime Garo dies, Ben pulls out a character sheet and starts writing stats for "Stan Velsing, vampire and werewolf hunter". He finally stops when he learns there's already such an expy in the game.
  • The Cassandra: In the video "Zee and Puffin talk about stuff", Zee mentions that he once played a character who always sounds like he is lying because of the way he talks.
  • Cats Are Mean: The villain of the Holiday One Off is an immortal monster that happens to look like an ordinary cat and loves to hunt humans who have been shrunk to the size of mice.
  • Celibate Hero: Garo, Ben's Curse of Strahd character, mentions having taken a vow of chastity as part of being a monk and cleric. This comes up when he gains two female-presenting nature spirits as patrons. While they never act inappropriate with him, Gouda still has fun calling them his girlfriends.
  • Central Theme: Unusually for a D&D campaign, there is a recurring theme throughout the "Curse of Strahd replay" series: The short-term advantages and long-term consequences of making a Deal with the Devil. Each player gets to accpet or refuse a pact with a dark power, and what they do ultimately decides their fate after the campaign. Garo and Gouda remain true to their pacts due to faith or trust, and are imprisoned in the Demiplane of Dread as a result. Boshack and Krusk turn their backs on their patrons once their demands grow too great, and are able to leave the Demiplane afterward (although Krusk chooses to stay of his own accord).
  • Chaotic Stupid: The video "DM.exe has crashed!" leans this way, with the Lawful Good paladin being the only rational player character in the group. The story involves the group having to break into a school to investigate it, and the paladin's decision is to get a warrant to search the school legally and avoid conflict. While she's off taking care of the warrant, the others all decide to break into the school and cause a bunch of trouble. One character with the power of invisibility was knocking out teachers and breaking walls. The thief disguised himself as a student and conned students out of their money, which ended with him getting beaten up by students once they caught on to his cheating. The druid defends the thief by setting one of the students attacking him on fire. The samurai's solution to calming things down is to whip out his gun, and shoot it into the ceiling, which leads to a stand-off with the police, and him throwing magic grenades at the cops.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A seemingly insignificant detail Ben gives in the Job Interview video is one of the interviewers asking him how small the batches of protein he had worked with were and Ben responding by pinching his fingers together to show how small. Ben is shocked when he got hired because of how poorly the interview went. It turned out that question was the most important question in the entire interview.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: One of Azrael's complaints in "D&D Story: Too many betrayals!". The Covenant Campaign had eight NPCs betray the party, back-to-back across two sessions, up to and including an angel backstabbing them. While Ben can justify each betrayal individually, all these occurring so quickly has eroded player trust.
    Azrael: "Never trust Ben's NPCs! Every single one of Ben's NPC's is evil!"
  • Church Militant: In the Deadlands one shot, the players were attacked by a group of magic wielding reverends.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • In the "Curse of Strahd" campaign Krusk needs to find a suit of plate and happens to find some in a raider camp. Strahd later activates a curse on the armor that paralyzes Krusk and reveals he placed the armor where the party would find it. Granted, Strahd has demonstrated a knack for knowing where the players are at any point and may have even directed them towards it using his guise as Vasili.
    • In "Why won't my character just DIE already?", the party defeat the dark lord... only to realize that he was, in fact, someone completely unrelated to the dark lord, and just happened to look alike and be performing a ritual the same night in the same tower, just one floor up.
  • Cool Old Guy: Halaster Blackcloak, lord and creator of Undermountain, one of the greatest mages Faerûn has ever known... And also avid bowler.
    • Also doctor Rudolph van Richten, vampire hunter extraordinaire and one of the very few people who could qualify as good guys in Barovia. Mordenkainen should be this, but is apparently depicted in his thirties.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: When Ben played as Sauron in an evil The Lord of The Rings campaign, because he had no idea what kind of character Sauron was he ended up roleplaying him as a corrupt executive who ran the team of villains and their armies like a company.
  • Covered in Gunge: The first D&D game that Ben GM'd takes place in a sewer. One of the party members, a blond elf girl, falls into the sewer and gets covered in poop. It only gets worse for her from there.
  • Cowboy Cop: This is Detecive Savage Rage's character. He is too badass and cool to follow any rules and he thinks that being a cop allows him to do anything he wants.
  • Crapsack World: In D&D lore, Barovia (and Ravenloft in general) is considered so bad that the Death World of Athas is preferable, and Ben's DM knows how to keep that theme going. The woods of Barovia are infected by werewolves, its ruler is uncaring at best and predatory at worst and almost every local leader or individual is cruel, misguided or straight-up evil. Even the supposed Big Good vampire hunter Van Richten turns out to have brutally slaughtered innocent people to kick of his carrier.
  • Creation Myth: Parodied in "How Every D&D Universe Begins".
  • Crossover: Dingo from Dingo Doodles makes occasional cameos and crossovers. He also participated in a livestream with Zee Bashew from the Animated Spellbook series and Dingo, featuring Dingo's boyfriend Felix as the DM. Ben also did a channel invasion with T the Writer, where each of them made a video for the other's channel.
  • Cross Player: Ben has no issue playing female characters. They tend to be just as evil or stupid as his male characters, though.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Shenani-Guys fear that this will happen to them when they battle Strahd. While they do take a beating, they do eventually beat him. And then the real Strahd shows up, revealing that the players merely fought a Simulacrum.
    • Asiago's party's first battle with Garathor ended with him flying of and laughing maniacally, leaving the party, beaten and bruised, behind. This is a time-honored DM strategy known as "Catharsis."note 
  • Cursed with Awesome: The players in the Malikar-campaign, except for the monk and the fighter, are sent to a random plane of existence. Miraculously, they all ended up on the good side of the great wheel (the other fighter and his drow companion went to the unsoiled wilderness of the Beastlands, the sorcerer went to the utopia of Arcadia, and the Mobile Suit Gundam Wing went to the eternal battleground of Ysgard), which also contains places like the Nine Hells, the Abyss, Hades and Limbo. They can never return, but they were pretty lucky all things considered.
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • When the party was dealing with a group of hags, one player was unable to fight when he saw that the hag he was fighting had the head of a dog and tried to ask the other players to switch opponents with him.
    • In "DM.exe Has Crashed!", when a new player joins the group during a battle, one character is distrustful of the new character until his player see a picture of what the new character looks like - an adorable little girl wearing a bear skin wielding a giant wooden ladle - and he decides to trust her immediately.note 
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Ben tried to do an episode that was more positive about D&D 4e but ultimately found he could only name a few positive traits such as the formatting of the books. Even the title fails to find an interesting not-complaining angle with "D&D 4e was a game".
  • Darker and Edgier:
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Way too common in D&D.
    Ben: Take a moment to flesh out your backstory and figure out who your parents are - they're dead! Did you have any friends - also dead! What village did you come from - burned to the ground.
  • Daydream Surprise: Episode 8 of "Curse of Strahd" campaign opens with Ben narrating how previously Garo had stormed the vampire's castle and easily beaten the vampire, right up until Garo wakes up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dingo from Dingo Doodles is this when she makes a cameo.
    Ben: You guys get snow? In Canada?
    Dingo: ... Yes. Yes, we do.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the "Curse of Strahd replay," each member of the shenani-guys are offered a pact with a dark power. Wether or not they stay true to their patrons ultimately decides wether they Earn Your Happy Ending or get a Sudden Downer Ending:
    • Garo is brought back by the Fanes of Barovia, the three nature spirits who ruled the land before Strahd. They give him some druid-like powers, but ask that he work to undo Strahd's evil and restore their power. After the campaign, they force him to remain in Barovia as their champion. Once Strahd's successor comes to power, Garo becomes the new version of the Abbot, a yes-man dedicated to placate the darklord, lest she harm the people.
    • Gouda accepts a pact with Mavaras, an Obviously Evil death tyrant who wants her to spread chaos. He gives a lot of benefits, like improving her wild magic and reviving her when she dies, but he also curses her to wander the demiplane forever, constantly chasing new quests that distract her from her true goal of returning home. Also, the bodies she rejects upon her resurrections are made into villains for her to fight. She wanted to be the hero, after all.
    • Boshack was the only partymember who had a patron before coming to Barovia. Dendar, the Night Serpent. She gives him his warlock powers, but also makes him more yuan-ti-like when he earns her favor. When she asks him to reform the night hag coven, however, he refuses, causing her to put him in "magic time-out". Boshack's refusal to follow her unquestionnably ultimately nets him the happiest ending of the bunch.
    • Krusk refuses to make a pact at first, as it would conflict with his vows. He does eventually accept a pact with Bahgtru (the orc god of brute strength), who gives him more orcish traits. Like Boshack, Krusk turns his back on the patron once it demands he break his vows. He is also trapped in the Demiplane of Dread, but it is of his own accord, not the whims of the Dark Powers.
  • Death Seeker: In one campaign, Ben got sick of playing his cleric character and wanted to swap them out, but the other players and the DM thought his healing was too important and refused to let him retire the cleric. Ben's solution to this was to start roleplaying the cleric as simultaneously being reckless and selfless, charging the deadliest looking enemy in fights and never healing himself, hoping that he'd get killed and the party would have no choice but to accept the swap. Unfortunately the one time Ben managed to get him killed, everyone else was so distraught that the DM brought him back to life through divine intervention, much to Ben's annoyance.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Ben's description of the Flaming Sphere spell from "PEE IN MY BUCKET!":
    "However, he forgot that flaming sphere is a sphere that is flaming, as in, it has flames."
  • Description Cut: Used several times in "Whoops! Guess everyone has to die now!" to juxtapose the expectations of the module (sneak in, make a deal with an NPC, quietly make their way to the head priest) with the realities of just how far Off the Rails they'd gone (ringing alarm bells, a dead NPC, heated battles in the halls, etc.).
  • Detective Animal: The players in Too Many Pets name the ghost dog they befriended Sherlock Bones after it helped them solve a mystery.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In "Everybody Died in Call of Cthulhu" a player character killed himself by setting everything in the room he was in on fire, including the only door out of the room. This same player character had in a previous game collapsed the entrance to a mine with dynamite while he still in it, which Ben let him live from.
    • In "The Hero of Parnast: Part 2", the group wanted Wallace out of the group as swiftly as possible, so at the end of the adventure, they sent him ahead on a mount with the villain in tow. They realized too late that this would, again, cast Wallace as the true hero of Parnast.
    • In "Read your spell BEFORE you cast it" a player cast the spell Darkness on a dragon without reading what the spell does. Instead of making it so that dragon couldn't see them, it made it so they couldn't see the dragon.
    • In "PEE IN MY BUCKET!" a player cast the spell Flaming Sphere, while they were on a wooden ship that was stuck in some trees, which set the ship on fire, and resulted in most of the remaining crew falling to their deaths escaping from the flames.
    • Ben himself in 'Whoops! Guess everyone has to die now!'. He wanted to DM an Adventurers League, which resulted in him having to DM for an already in progress campaign for a module he hadn't read yet. As a result, he had to skim through most of it, resulting in him skipping how the party is supposed to get into the fortress and only finding that out after the party had already gone in guns blazing. The end result? What should have been a simple stealth mission turned into a massive blood bath that contrary to the title, the party barely survived.
    • In "D&D Stories: funny moments from my campaign", the party rogue cut's off the blacksmith's hand arbitrarily. For the rest of the story the blacksmith refuses to do work for the party again, and only the inexperienced blacksmith's apprentice will work for them.
    • Later in that episode, when the party was ambushing Orcs in a Church Steeple, they forgot until after they set the explosive trap that they were in the building. Cue a Super Window Jump and broken legs for the party members.
    • In one of the real life videos, Ben was surprised that nobody recognized him from his show at a gaming convention. Then he remembered he had never shown his face in his videos...
    • In the first Covenant campaign video, it is revealed that the monk lost the Mournblade because he thought that a sandbox in a public park was a good place to hide it.
    • When Ben got to play in an evil The Lord of the Rings campaign where the player characters were villains brought back from the dead, he eagerly chose to play as Sauron only to realize that he had no idea how to roleplay as Sauron or what Sauron's abilities were and thus he had to make up Sauron's personality and guess his abilities, which may have explained why nobody else picked Sauron.
    • There is also the GM who told Ben that he trusted him to know how the game worked so he would sign off on whatever character Ben made without checking, not considering that this was Ben he was talking to, who of course brought a ridiculous character to the table.
    • In DM.exe has crashed! || Attack at the school, an idiotic samurai player tries to calm down a bunch of frightened students by firing a pistol, which of course has the exact opposite effect and ends with him in a confrontation with the police which he keeps on making worse with one bad decision after another, eventually resulting in him getting thrown in prison.
    • In part 11 of the Curse of Strahd replay, the werewolf Emil plans to build an army of werewolves against Strahd by attacking the town of Vallaki and turning all of its inhabitants. It is subsequently pointed out that his plan is doomed to fail on many fronts. First, if they succeeded this would mean there would be hundreds of feral werewolves attacking anything they saw; they wouldn't be sane again until it was too late. Second, even then the werewolves would hate Emil and the party for the death and destruction of such an attack. Third, most of Vallaki doesn't want to fight Strahd. Fourth, Emil, the guy who wants to lead them, is a pretty shitty werewolf who would likely be kicked out of the new pack.
    • In the same episode Krusk agrees to become a werewolf, also not thinking about the consequences. Luckily he is quickly cured and reminded about the going feral part.
    • In "Worst Games I've Run" Ben recounts the time he attended a convention and agreed to DM six gaming sessions to cover his admission fee. He ended up running a different module for each session, each of which he would he would need to read about and do prep work for. As a friend pointed out, Ben could have simply selected time slots that let him DM the same module six times.
    • In another "Worst Games I've Run", Ben played with a DM who wanted a more cinematic experience, trying to have experienced players who knew what they were doing so they could avoid the annoying out-of-character confusion about what the characters could do. Thing is, he not only invited a new player, who'd obviously have questions, but he also wanted the game to be a surprise, so he didn't even tell the new player what D&D was! Then he made everyone roll up new characters with no pregens or help with software...for fourth edition which is infamous for it's character creation bloat and again, with a new player who knows nothing about D&D. The result is hours spent alone in character creation...and only enough time to actually play the game for 20 minutes.
    • In "Call of Cthulhu || Bound In Blood" Ben notes that the character Dick Tracy had a backstory element of being a heavy drinker. The problem was that the setting was Prohibition-era America, forcing a rewrite for Dick's backstory that he busted speak-easies in order to steal their booze to fuel his addiction.
    • "What it's like to give your players an overpowered NPC friendo" is a parody of a movie trailer where Ben spends the entire time berating himself about why he thought it was a good idea to give the players a pet kraken.
  • Disaster Dominoes: In "The W.O.R.S.T. Solutions!" the town's buildings are built very close together, resulting a fire started by the party jumping to increasingly poignant buildings such as the puppy shelter, orphanage (with extra orphans), and the fire department.
  • Disguised in Drag: Ben's character Detective Clancy disguises himself as Trixie Starbright then the party is infiltrating a party to act as one of the other party member's date.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: When a player wants to frame Wallace, and another player protests, they try to argue that they are not really framing him, but when they try to describe what they want to do they end up admitting that they really are framing him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One of the ten items an adventurer should always carry with them according to T the Writer is a scroll covered in either nonsense or a picture of a naked woman, which the player drops on the ground so a guard will pick it up and examine it while the players sneaks up on them.
  • Divine Intervention:
    • When one of the party members tries to rescue a child from the sewers she falls in and gets attacked by a tentacle monster. How do the rest rescue her? By summoning a literal angel! No, it's never explained why they didn't use the angel to rescue the child directly.
    • When Ben finally a character he was tired of playing killed, the DM railroaded him into continuing to play the character by ruling that his goddess intervened to bring him back to life.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: During a campaign, the players kidnap a well dressed otter man they met in the dream world and bring him to the real world, but they later start to suspect he is actually the Big Bad of the game and tricked them into kidnapping him, without any evidence at all. It isn't confirmed if they are right or wrong, but it seems unlikely since Ben's players are very unpredictable and it would be hard for Ben to plan something like that, and plus Ben didn't seem to have even planned for them to talk to the otter man. He was going for this with the actual villain, but overshot to the point that The Reveal was the first time they met him or heard his name.
  • Double Tap: Garo caves in a hag's skull and then follows up with a second blow to her head, just to be sure.
  • Downer Ending: The Shenani-Guys in Barovia, as is to be expected of a Gothic Horror story. Garo and Gouda are beholden to their pacts. The Fanes force Garo to stay in Barovia, serving them for all eternity. Gouda is sent across the Demiplane to spread chaos forever, everytime she dies, she is reborn and sent on her way. As for Barovia itself, the Shenani-Guys have to elect Strahd's successor, and they choose the newly resurrected Petrovna, who turns out to be just as tyrannical and gruesome as Strahd was. After the campaign, she rules Barovia with her dark magic. Once she grows old, she too accepts the pact of Vol, the Vampyr, and kills her brother to seal it. Garo, stuck in Barovia without the power to oppose her, becomes much like the Abbot; dedicated to placating her so she won't harm the people. He even calls upon the dark clouds to hide the sun, effectively returning Barovia to square one. Years later, Garo reflects on the words of poor, dead Kolyan Indirovich; Barovia should be sealed, warded with holy symbols and prayers, so that the evil contained within never could escape. Ultimately, only Boshack and Krusk had their happy endings.
  • The Dreaded: Chadwick Strongpants somehow has a reputation as a ridiculously powerful superhero, such that when he approaches bad guys panic and end up accidently killing each other, thus defeating themselves without Chadwick having to do anything. Chadwick doesn't actually have any powers at all.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The Gnome Monk Michele turned to drugs and alcohol after defeating Malikar, because he couldn't bare to face the fact that the rest of his party allegedly died.
  • Dumb Muscle: Ben's fighter character, Aligaros, who always tried to use his axe to solve problems and kept getting arrested because he thought getting blackout drunk nightly was a good idea. When Katya convinces a revenant to leave by talking to it, he comments it was like she used an axe, but with her mind. Creating the Running Gag that he should use his mind axe to solve the problem. Which resulted in him taking a level of Psion in order to have an actual Mind Axe ability that he sat on for months Just For Pun.
  • Dungeonmaster's Girlfriend: Averted with Ben's brother Will. Ben gives him no special treatment, and when he doesn't bother to create a character Ben teaches his brother a lesson by creating one for him.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: In "Taking An Arrow to The Heart In D&D": Lemmy makes one to Thrognar when the latter was shot in the heart ... and immediately backtracks when it turns out that Thrognar will pull through.
  • Eagleland:
    • In "That time our characters went to New York City", Ben portrays New York City as being on a large United-States shaped island labelled "FREEDOMLAND". This island's land is colored with the American Flag.
    • In a collaboration with Dingo Doodles, Ben describes a Call of Cthulhu game he was GM for. In this game, Dick Tracy and Justin Case break into a dorm room in an all woman's school. When the women in the dorm corner the two detectives to find out what they're doing, Dick Tracy tried to bullshit his way out of this. Dick Tracy argued that America being a free country means they can go anywhere they want while Justin Case waves a miniature flag and hums the national anthem. The college girls critically failed their intelligence check and believed it, so the two could steal everything not bolted to the ground. After that, they got a 1% bonus to their success chance when eating apple pie.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In early videos, Ben's character, Aligaros, as always depicted as having a hat signifying a ranger or maybe a bard. Later videos identified him as a Fighter.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The monk from the Malikar video was played by Ben's brother from a later video.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Malikar from My players LOSE the final fight! makes a clear distinction between being evil and being a jerk. He doesn't like instant death traps because he thinks they're unsporting, and chastises one of his henchmen for making inappropriate comments to his prisoners and making them uncomfortable.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": Ben generally doesn't give us the names of the characters, or even the NPCs in his videos. The literal barkeep in the Xanathar guild video is named Durnan.
  • Evil Is Petty: Comes up a lot in Curse of Strahd
    • When the Shenani-Guys refuse to accept Strahd's dinner invitation, he burns down the church in Vallaki in a show of power.
    • The Dark Powers, after cursing Strahd to forever be trapped in Barovia unable to be with the woman he loves, gave him a vision in the mist where he could see his ancestral home, but it would always be out of reach. Even Garo thought that was too vindictive.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Deconstructed in Unleashing Evil in Dungeons & Dragons: The evil entity sounds so deep and demonic that Ben shuts the door immediately.
  • Evil Virtues: In the "Curse of Strahd replay," Both Strahd himself and his direct servants display the capacity for virtue:
    • Strahd himself: Courtly Honor. Once he gives his word, he keeps it.
    • Rahadin: Loyalty. He is Strahd's oldest and most trusted servant, and his loyalty to Strahd is second to none.
    • Escher: Compassion and friendship, surprisingly for a vampire. His makes a deal with Gouda to rescue the bride Sasha from the catacombs because she's his friend, not because he can earn anything from it.
    • Baba Lysaga: Maternal love, twisted into obsession.
  • Evil Weapon: In the Malikar campaign, the players had to find the pieces of a evil sword called the Mournblade that had the power to destroy souls, which they needed in order to make sure Malikar wouldn't come back after killing him. The Mournblade can talk and only cares about killing things, not caring if it is being used for good or evil.
  • Exact Words: Mavaras told Gouda that "you are the hero. You are always the hero." After the campaign, he curses her to forever wander the Demiplane, always distracted by some new quest and never able to return home. Whenever she dies, Mavaras will create new bodies for her and raising the ones she refuses as villains for her to fight.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: The moment when the players realize that they are still in the building that they are about to blow up.
  • Expy:
  • Eye Scream: How an unfortunate NPC is killed in "Secrets Of The Skeleton Town."
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Chadwick Strongpants is a super hero who somehow has a reputation as The Dreaded, which causes enemies to panic and defeat themselves through Friendly Fire when he approaches, but it turns out that his actual power is nothing at all. He is a completely average guy.
  • Fallen Hero: When Ben learns that his party is pure evil, he likes to imagine that the GM will use those characters as villains for another party's adventure.
  • False Dichotomy: With five options instead of just two. Whenever Ben wants to play a particular campaign, he claims that he offers the players four other options that are objectively worse. In the example he gave it backfired; he was trying to get them to try Mouse Guard, but they thought the "all dwarf ranger party" pitch sounded better.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The nation of Gautor in Ben's setting. The players called it Fantasy North-Korea.
    • Ben describes the setting of 7th Sea as "Not-Europe", in the "Not-Victorian" era.
  • Fantastic Racism: In "We were betrayed in our D&D campaign", the party is extremely patronizing and dismissive of the aarakocra bard Flynn. When they have a feast they locked Flynn outside in a hurricane. When their patron Garathor betrayed them Ben punched Flynn in the face for pointing out that he distrusted Garathor previously. Later on, in "Breaking Into The Castle", the Lord of a city wants to execute Flynn for writing a satirical song about him and Ben is more than willing to hand Flynn over. A dragon saves Flynn, much to Ben's disappointment.
    Aligaros: "Now we're just down to three party members."
    Flynn: "Excuse me, three party members?"
    Aligaros: "Aww! He's so cute with those people clothes he's wearing. He thinks he's a person!"
  • Felony Misdemeanor:
    • Ben's Star Wars Edge of the Empire's party reaction to learning he had never actually seen the original trilogy of movies, especially as they had been playing a Star Wars game for the past year.
    Other Party Member: "Ben, of all the secret things you could have revealed about yourself, that was the worst. There's absolutely nothing else you could have told us that would have gone over as poorly. If you said 'Hey, I'm keeping a pile of dead bodies under my house,' we would have gone like 'Okay, cool, right. Everyone has their fetishes'. But not seeing Star Wars... Jesus Christ, dude! The fuck is wrong with you?"
    • Wallace taking the credit for the players' hard work after he was completely useless to them is treated by the players as being worse than if he had killed their families.
  • Fictional Sport: The episode "D&D Story: Journey to 'Magic-North-Korea'" introduces Flatch Kriga, the national sport of Gautor. It has a 1639-page rulebook and several Gratuitous German terms.
    Ben: Just get your dungeldort and gundlebotton on and you're ready to play! Just remember if the door hits the red like it becomes vatischnatt and you can hit it back but only if held two tringlebopples on.
    Gautor player: No, no! You are only supposed to hit it on lines of two, four, and seventeen rebounding!
    Ranger: This game is stupid!
  • Fighting a Shadow: In one episode of Ben's Curse of Strahd campaign diary, a fight between the party and Strahd leading a group of vampire spawn ends with a narrow victory for the party... only for Strahd to reveal that what they actually fought was a Simulacrum, and the real him is considerably stronger.
  • Filler: The first module in "Worst Games I've Run" required Ben to create two hours worth of filler conversation with random NPCs completely unrelated to the module's actual mission. He barely stretch it to one hour. The module itself serves as this as it consists solely of the players making their way to a location without actually progressing the overall plot.
  • Fish Eyes: In many episodes, when a character is feeling stupid or suffering Sanity Slippage (usually Ben), they will be shown with eyes pointing off in different directions randomly.
  • Five-Token Band: Jess, Dingo and Logan in the cocaine video played as an aasimar (celestial-touched humans), a bird person (aarakocra or kenku) and a reptile (lizardfolk, kobold or dragonborn).
  • Flat-Earth Atheist:
    • One episode has a guard who insists that magic isn't real, because he has literally never been outside.
    • In "Too Many Pets", some one tries to scoff at the idea of Ghosts, before the party points out that, at this point, Ghosts are basically an established fact in the World.
  • Flat World: The Malikar campaign and its sequels apparently take place on a disk shaped planet as seen in a few video where the world is shown.
  • Fluffy Tamer: The party in "Too Many Pets" end up befriending a ghost dog, a shadowbeast that's enchanted to look like a small corgi, a bird butler, and aboleth, and a gold dragon (who they employ as an accountant).
  • Forced to Watch: During the Curse of Strahd campaign various members of the Shenani-Guys find themselves witnessing a horrible event but unable to interfere because the odds are so against them. Most tragic was Garo who had to watch as an entire cathedral was massacred due to his own actions.
  • Forced Transformation: The final villain of the Covenant campaign is defeated when the players accidentally use an artifact to turn him into a potted plant, which also turns the warforged hero into a human. They then get rid of him by banishing him to California.
  • Foreshadowing: In the "Curse of Strahd" playthrough a lot of parallels are drawn between Garo and the various holy men he meets, who either die or are revealed to have been broken by Strahd to do his bidding. In the epilogue Garo suffers the same fate as the very holy men he once pitied, slowly being broken to serve the will of the new dark lady.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In "Last Orders at the Yawning Portal" after a particularly bad kraken pun, Ben rules said monster reaches into our reality and kills the offending player.
    Player: [smug] But I'm still here.
    Ben: I meant you're dead to us metaphorically.
  • Frame-Up: The characters in "The Hero of Parnast pt 2" discover that someone is attempting to frame Wallace for a series of crimes against the town, but almost go along with it because of how much they hate Wallace.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • The in-universe reason for why Abserd was able to acquire a level in every class. He's not evil, but he has a supremely annoying voice and personality so every group he joins ends up kicking him out. Sure enough, at the end of the mission the rest of the party willingly leaves him as a hostage to an evil elf so she'll release the person they came to rescue.
    • Wallace from "The Hero of Parnast" is treated like crap by the entire party due to being rail-roaded into the party despite having no useful skills whatever, yet he ends up taking credit for their actions.
      • Exaggerated in Part 2, in which the party (except the one who'd just joined) wanted to frame Wallace for the crimes being committed in Parnast, even after the villain is revealed. Made even funnier by The Reveal that all of the members of the party were Lawful Good.
        PC: Swear to God, Wallace, if you don't stop talking, I will reach down your throat, rip out your intestines, and then strangle you with them just to get you to shut up!
    • Ben himself in 12 short D&D sketches. A new player would rather sit in an armchair filled with broken glass and rattlesnakes than sit next to Ben.
    • And done again in the Breath of the Wild Co-Op video.
      Ben: ...and he's the only friend who hasn't installed good enough locks to keep me out of the house. That must mean he likes me!
    • And again in his tips for getting into D&D, in which he posts "Facebook keeps having your account accidentally block me..." to a friend's post about the game.
    • In Ben's continuation campaign, the player of Sparklegem had an irregular work schedule which meant he often missed sessions. After a while the rest of the table decided that rather than come up with a new excuse for his absence each time, the party just didn't like Sparklegem and kept abandoning him.
  • The Fundamentalist: In "D&D Happy Holiday One-Off", all three members of the party are zealots for Pelor. Cauli and Urson harass a little girl to find out if she believes in Pelor, and when asked to give a speech to the town Cauli talks about how Pelor will smite all non-believers.
    Cauli: But if you don't believe in Pelor, let him come down and smite you from the inside out!
    Urson: For he is a vengeful God!
    Cauli: From the inside out, so your eyeballs will liquefy and your bowels shall explode!
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In "The W.O.R.S.T. Solutions!" while the paladin is berating her party and then herself, a burning orphan periodically runs past in the background with a tiny "Ahhh!"
    • In The first time I ran a D&D game, Ben's notes says Kill EVERYONE.
  • Fun with Acronyms: His second campaign creates a new team name, which Ben accepts under the assumption that it can't be worse than the "Turtle Molesters/Fuckers" from his previous campaign. The group ends up calling themselves W.O.R.S.T, which stands for "Warriors of Really Shitty Timing".
  • Genre Blind: The GM running The Dresden Files said this to Ben.
    GM: You don't have to ask my permission for anything. Whatever you make, I'll sign off on without checking.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • One party member in Ben's game exhibited this trait, much to his frustration.
    • It also makes running a mystery and surprising the party very difficult.
      Ben: My villain didn't even manage to get in one line before he figured it out. Not! One! Line! Everything was ruined!
    • And in the finale of the Covenant campaign, after the players successfully recovered the Covenant, instead of handing it over to the angel who sent them to rescue it, they figured out that the angel was actually the Big Bad and wanted to destroy the Covenant in order to make sure the war between heaven and hell will continue.
    • In episode 12 of the Curse of Strahd replay, Garo and his party don't buy for a second that Berez is the idyllic, happy town it appears to be. Sure enough the town is a decaying ruin beneath the illusion of a witch coven.
  • Genre Shift: "Secrets of the Skeleton Town". It's a Call of Cthulhu one-shot, a game where the focus is investigation and Survival Horror (in comparison to D&D's High Fantasy shenanigans). The story is very creepy and Ben really nails the narration.
  • Giant Squid: The Otyugh.
  • Golden Snitch: In one video, Ben talks about a spectacularly disastrous job interview he had at a biochemistry company. Much to his shock, the company still decided to hire him, causing him to wonder if everyone else who interviewed for the job was even worse than him somehow. He later found out that they hired him because he gave the answer they were looking for to a seemingly unimportant question during the interview, which was the only thing that mattered to them.
  • The GM Is a Cheating Bastard: Discussed in "Should The GM Cheat in D&D?". The conclusion he came to is that it shouldn't be used to invalidate player choices, and if used at all it should be used consistently.
  • Good Is Not Nice: This comes up sometimes.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • When a samuri ninja adventurer falls down the stairs in front of two guards, he plays dead. The guards fall for it, despite the attempt being pretty weak.
    • In another video Ben discusses how useless guards usually are and has an Imagine Spot where a man asks a guard for help with a friend who has been turned into a dog, but the guard doesn't believe in magic because he has never been outside, ever.
    • Malikar manages to escape from his prison on Mount Celestia because the guards are innocent baby seals who he gets away from just by asking to go to the bathroom, though his freedom is short lived as he immediately sprains his ankle and is captured again.
    • While in New York his party murders several people using a bow and arrow but are never captured by the police. Ben can only assume that the people in charge of the investigation were just too incompetent to even bother looking for a suspect.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: It's a subtle detail, but in "D&D Story: The Hero Of Parnast", Wallace's mother is a tiefling.
  • Happy Ending Override: The first Covenant campaign video, which continues where the Malikar campaign ended. The players wanted to continue the story, so the ending of the previous campaign was retconned. The other players didn't change much, but the monk ended up as a homeless drug addict, obsessed with his failure. He also lost the Mournblade.
  • Heel Realization:
  • Hell of a Heaven: Malikar suffers this fate when he accidentally gets sent to Mount Celestia, where the angels immediately arrest him and throw him in a heavenly prison guarded by baby seals.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: When Ben asks a forest dragon for his name, the dragon states that he is nameless. Ben then proceeds to name the dragon Falcor.
  • Hidden Badass: In "The Xanathar Guild", the Bartender turns out to be a level seventeen fighter with magical weapons. He saves half the party from a troll.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In-Universe. In a Star Wars game he ran, two of Ben's players played as Lepi, rabbitfolk. Some time later, Star Wars: Visions came out, featuring Lop, a Lepi main character.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In the Tomb of Annihilation campaign that Ben ran, the Ras Nsi is killed with his own Flaming Sword after a player cut his hand off in a duel with him and stole the sword.
    • In Ben's final fantasy game, he tried to use an exploit that would increase his attack, defense and health stats at once by attacking himself. Unfortunately for him, he used a sword that would inflict a powerful Status Effect that rendered his character next to useless. Since that particular Status Effect was only meant for enemies at that level, there was nothing that could cure him yet.
  • Honest Rolls Character: Ben once had a party who were in favor of rolling stats... Until they realized Ben's method of rolling stats was 3d6, not 4d6 reroll 1s. Then they immediately argued for pointbuy instead. He also had one player who loved rolling for stats, but hated that it was random.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Ben and his party (minus Flynn) were too trusting of Garathor. When Flynn asks how they can trust him, Ben states that Garathor has an honest face.
    • The GM's that Ben plays with tend to be this as well. One gives the players temporary control of Security Guards (said guards proceed to beat two vandals to a pulp), and another tells Ben he'll approve Ben's character without reading it (Ben proceeds to create a character that probably wouldn't have been approved otherwise).
    • During the Curse of Strahd playthrough the party has a bad habit of trusting people who turn out to be evil, thought to be fair it is Barovia.
  • Humanity Ensues:
    • Happens to the non-human characters in one story where the party got sent to New York City.
    • The Warforged character gets turned human by accident at the end of the Covenant campain.
    • A character who hasn't yet appeared in the animated videos but Ben has mentioned a Q&A was a Druid who was a dog who got turned human by drinking from a magic spring.
  • Humanity Is Superior: When player statistics were released for 5th addition D&D, it turned out that Humans were the most selected race for player characters. In-game, Humans also receive either +1 to every stat or an extra feat.
  • Hungry Jungle: The jungle in "D&D Story: PEE IN MY BUCKET! The Adventurer's League Game" counts as this trope. It's infested with undead humans and undead four armed gorillas, and the vines are highly lethal to climb.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In the Holiday One Off, the disappearances are caused by a monster that prefers to hunt humans, which the town offers as sacrifices.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In "M&M Story: Chadwick Strongpants", the group paladin told the gnome monk Michele that he can't be chaotic good because he robbed a homeless man for his clothes. Michele pointed out that said paladin owned a halfling slave who he used to disable traps.
      Michele: Glass houses, that's all I'm saying. Glass houses.
    • One GM Ben played with punished the party wizard with bad luck and magical misfires any time he cast a spell that the GM regarded as "breaking the game" (i.e. anything that wasn't a healing spell). When Ben asked him why he couldn't just talk to the player about his issues with this, the GM responded without any hint of irony "GMs aren't supposed to interfere like that, it's rude to mess with the player's autonomy." Ben also noticed that the same GM's magic-using NPCs weren't subject to the same penalties as players when a villain hit his character with a no-save, 100 points of damage spell for a One-Hit Kill.
    • Ben mentions that he doesn't use miniatures, because he finds them too expensive (which is a valid concern). Then, in the very same video, he tells a story about how he once bought 7 copies of the Player's Handbook (and a monster manual) on a whim because he wanted to impress younger players, and also admits that he impulsively buys new dice that he doesn't need.
    • Discussed in the "D&D Discussion: Rules Lawyering Video". Ben's definition of rules lawyers are hypocrites that only care about the rules as far as they can exploit them. Making sure everyone follows the rules is fine. Using fine print to get some advantage while conveniently forgetting all those disadvantages you have is not.
    • The DM from "Worst Games I've Played In 2: Awkward Beginings" claims he believes mechanics do not matter and true core of d&d experience lies in cooperative storytelling. He says it after he forced entire party to each take one mechanical role with no overlaps allowe and basically made all character creation choices for two new players with no consideration for what they actually want to play or would enjoy, all because he wanted to make an optimal game to run combat faster.

    Tropes I through Z 
  • Idiot Hero: Ben really enjoys playing Idiot Hero characters.
    • Aligaros Ashuin: A fighter with a fear of libraries who things that all problems should be solved with an axe and treats his Bird Folk teammate like a pet.
    • Detective Savage Rage: A stupid police detective who has no investigation skills and thinks that being a police officer means he can do whatever he wants.
    • Detective Clancy: Another detective who has no investigation skills but is completely convinced that he is the world's greatest detective.
  • In-Joke: Ben gives a few examples in "Read the spells BEFORE you cast them", and explains some of them.
    • "Is the table made of ''mahogany''?"
    • "Tar Hogar!?! Garathor??! Tar Hogar??!" explanation 
    • Casting Darknessexplanation 
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Ben's players have been shown in many videos to have a tendency collect a ton of pets and followers due to wanting to take any NPC or monster they take a liking to with them, sometimes going as far as outright kidnapping NPCs that they like.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness:
    • Baby harp seals are so cute and innocent that they are immune to evil and so are used as guards on Mount Celestia. Too bad they also cannot comprehend evil.
    • A player in Ben's Star Wars game seemed to be The Corruptible, since she accepted a sith spirit's offer of power immediately with no caution. Except when Palpatine tries to tempt her, it turns out that said sith spirit's offer was everything she needed to get the exact amount of power, wealth and friendship she wanted. Palpatine gets rather annoyed at this, but is happy that she has self-actualized at such a young age.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The Omega Pun is an extremely exaggerated example of this trope. It's apparently so powerful that anyone who hears it takes enough psychic damage to kill a god. Knowing the pun would, according to Ben, be like having a nuclear bomb in your head, and only the legendary Pun Warrior can take it. Said pun warrior is not one of Ben's players.
  • Industrialized Evil: Ben starts making a joke about the hags who sacrifice children to make pastries expanding their business but then stops himself when he realizes it is just too dark.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Melthat has this reaction after Dick Tracy completely figures out his sinister plot before he can even say one line.
    Dick Tracy: "Oh I ... I wasn't supposed to figure that out, was I? Dick Tracy, world's greatest detective!"
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: In the "Curse of Strahd" campaign an NPC apologizes to the party, saying he had no idea the items he sold them were cursed. Boshak realizes something is wrong because they never told him, or anyone, about the curses.
  • Innocent Innuendo: At the beginning of Call of Cthulhu: Bound in Blood, Ben describes Chicago in typical Film Noir narration and finishes by saying that she's "A lady that needs dick... Tracy, the world's greatest detective."
  • Jerkass: Many of Ben's characters and the characters that he ran games for were huge jerks. Aligaros was a racist who openly said that his Arakocra teammate wasn't a person. His Trixie character was a massive Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who would do anything to be popular. The players characters from the Hero of Parnast story verbally abused Wallace just for being an unwanted Tagalong Kid and allowed him to get hurt when he got taken hostage.
  • Joke Character:
    • Abserd! When Ben was a player in a one-shot campaign where he could create a level 14 character, he decided to make a character with every single class. Abserd only had one level in each class, except for rogue and paladin in which he had two levels each, and so was bad at all of them. Not helping this, Ben played Abserd as an annoying person to justify why he kept getting kicked out of groups.
    • Chadwick Strongpants! Ben built him up as a great hero feared by all ne'er-do-wells, but he has no powers or interesting backstory events at all. This character was created by Ben to punish his brother Will for not creating a character or giving Tabletop RPGs a chance.
  • Joke Weapon: In the Captain Morgan video, a player created a sword by casting a spell on a bag of cocaine.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: The paladin player does this after the idiotic samurai player throws a grenade at the police.
  • Junk Rare: Happens in-universe with Barathorn, the sentient dwarven glaive. He's a +1 Glaive of Stabbing, which is decent for a low level party, but the party at that point had gathered practically every magic item in the DM's guide, so they didn't really need it.
  • Just For Pun: One of Ben's players in the Crossover with Dingo Doodles played as a character named Justin Case, with a cousin named Justin Time.
  • Justified Criminal: Defied in "Black Market Blues". The Game Master clearly intended for the town and it's black market to be this, but Ben is unconvinced. He goes so far as to say that the townsfolk deserve to be enslaved for failing to find an honest source of income. The main problem is that he overshot so far that it came off as the town deliberately instituting an absurd law just for the pleasure of breaking it.
  • Killer Game Master: Ben can sometimes be a Killer DM
    • In "Miscellaneous Monsters and Bears of Sand" Ben killed two of his players and forced the others to retreat by having them fight a permanently invisible beholder. To be fair, the beholder was from a module.
    • In the first Malikar video, he admits that he sometimes adds in monsters just because he thought they looked cool, without concern for CR.
    • In the video about the first time he was a dungeon master, he has an annoying player character killed for complaining about the story and being too Genre Savvy, but it turns out to only be an Imagine Spot.
    • Something similar happens in Last Orders At The Yawning Portal Tavern. When a player makes an Incredibly Lame Pun that nobody found funny, Ben has the monster instantly kill the player's character, but then he changes his mind and declares that the character is ok, but the monster has instead killed the player ''in real life'', so the player is now metaphorically dead to them.
    • During the Covenant campaign, Ben realizes that he may have gone too far when a player points out that the party got betrayed no less than eight times in only two sessions, causing them to be suspicious of all of Ben's NPCs. This probably explains why in the next campaign, the players suddenly came to the conclusion that Ottie Otterton must secretly be the Big Bad without any evidence.
      Ben: I mean, I hate my players as much as much as the next DM, but I think six would have been fine, but eight, eight's a bit much even for my game.
  • Kraken and Leviathan:
    • Krakens have appeared twice in Ben's games, once in "Last Orders at the Yawning Portal" as a subspecies of normal kraken who lives in ale known as a Booze Kraken, and once as Melkyzzyak, a kraken who had the misfortune of being transformed into a cat and adopted by the party.
    • The similar (but significantly more eldritch) sea monster Aboleth shows up as a running gag.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Ben sometimes does horrible things to the PCs in his games to punish their players for making bad puns.
    • In "Last Orders at the Yawning Portal", a player preparing to fight a booze kraken in a lake of ale makes a "Let's get kraken!" pun. Cue flat expressions on Ben, the players, and the kraken.
      Ben: So the kraken grabs you and drags you down and no one comes to help you and you're hideously killed and your lifeless body is never seen again and everyone's okay with this. You know what, that's not fair, this is ale. Y'know what, the kraken comes in, kills the player, drags you off, and just leaves the character, kills the player instead.
    • The same thing occurs 4 times in Ben's video on running a Pathfinder 2e playtest:
      (The party sneaks past a gnoll encampment, and the gnolls fail their perception check)
      Alchemist: I guess you could say they're not very gnoll-edgeable!
      Ben: The gnolls ambush you!
      Alchemist: Oh, I guess someone's a gnoll-it-all!
      Ben: The alchemist is dead now.
      (Later, the party gets into a fight with several rocs)
      Alchemist: I guess you could say someone's stuck between a roc and a hard place!
      Ben: The enemies all attack you.
      (The party defeat one of the rocs and its corpse slides down the side of a hill)
      Alchemist: I guess that's how we... roc 'n' roll!
      Ben: Well look at that! the roc suddenly rises with one hitpoint and flies up the hill to attack you.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Out of universe, we can definitely see why the players of the Parnast campaign would hate Little Wallace, but in-universe, they basically treated a child horribly just because he wanted to help. They had everything that went bad coming.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: During the Curse of Strahd Post-Campaign discussion, the DM reveals that this was an option in the game if the party had not attacked immediately. Strahd would have offered to join forces with the party to destroy the Dark Powers in the Amber Temple, freeing all of Barovia, at the cost of letting him turn Irena.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: "You're the turtle..."
    Michele: Friends! Turtle Friends!
  • Laughably Evil: Gouda's patron, the Death Tyrant Mavaras, is most certainly evil but his Large Ham tendencies, rambling talks about spreading chaos, and the fact that Gouda honestly thinks he's good make him come off as more amusing than villainous. He turns out to be the most directly malicious of the patrons, twisting Gouda's desire to be a hero into an eternal curse.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Discussed in the Curse of Strahd post-game discussion. Ben only narrated the major events and battles from the game while not even mentioning minor events, such as fighting generic zombies while on the road.
  • Lawful Stupid: "Black Market Blues" leans this way with a plot involving a town's black market. Magic items are illegal in the area, so the local black market sells those magic items. However, it's eventually revealed that the town's leaders knew about the black market, and let them do as they please because the town's economy depended on its success. However, Ben questions why there was a need for a black market when the government supported it. He asks why the town didn't just change the laws to legalize magic items so they could be sold in a regular market. The inquisitor Ben questions gets locked in Circular Reasoning, saying they can't change the laws and legalize magic because that would get rid of the black market, and they can't sell magic items in a regular market because magic is illegal.
    • The Modrons also act like this, true to D&D tradition. When someone steals the Covenant despite the sign saying "No touching", they conclude that someone stole it without touching it, and solve the problem by putting up a sign saying "No stealing".
  • Legion of Doom: Ben once played in a Lord of the Ring campaign where the players are several villains brought back to life including Sauron, Saruman, Smaug, Gollum, Shelob, and the Balrog. Ben playing as Sauron ends up being the one to convince the other villains to cooperate with each other.
  • Leitmotif: Strahd von Zarovich has the theme from From Russia with Love play whenever he appears in person. Rahadin, his right-hand man, briefly has Prokofiev's "Dance of the Knights" as well.
  • Limited Animation: Ben uses very simplistic animation in his videos. Characters in his videos are nearly stick figures and move very little. Ironically, he has twice the amount of subscribers than Animated Spellbook (who has better animation and more regular uploads, but shorter videos), Dingo Doodles (who has rarer uploads, but better artwork), JoCat (who has better animation and consistent uploads), and more than 20 times the subs of JessJackdaw (who uploads rarely, but has better artwork). One thing he always takes the time to do, however, is animate mouth movements.
  • Living Toys: When the player characters are shrunk during the holiday one-off, the monster hunting them is locked outside of the house they are in and so attacks them by bringing the toys in the house to life to fight them. They get attacked by toy soldiers riding a wooden train, and after escaping run into a paper dragon.
  • The Loonie: Or to use his own term, a "troll player". He loves to come up with insane characters like taking one level in every class, or (on two seperate occasions) detectives with no investigation skills whatsoever.
  • Lovecraft Lite: How Ben ran a Call of Cthulhu games when he was the GM. At least until the Total Party Kill.
    Ben: The games resembled more like Scooby-Doo where the players would go out, solve the mystery, encounter some supernatural and then call it a day.
    RP Player #1: Gee gang, it looks like Cthulhu is trying to enter our dimension.
    RP Player #2: Zoinks!
  • Malicious Misnaming: The players in one campaign continually insist on referring to a wise old Tortle wizard as Oogway, no matter how much he tries to get them to stop. When they beg for his help in the finale (by that name) he's so annoyed he refuses.
  • Master of None:
    • Abserd, a level 14 character Ben created for a one-shot campaign, is this. He has every single class, and has so many magic systems that he has a character packet instead of a character sheet, but he is too low level in all of these classes to be able to use any of them.
      Other player: How does the character play?
      Ben: It doesn't! I mean, seriously, I'm an archer that can't shoot, a fighter who can't fight, a healer who can't heal, a wizard who can't cast spells; does that sound like a broken character to you?!
    • For more elaboration: Making a character like Abserd is so Cool, but Inefficient because to multiclass, you need at least 13 in the class' core ability score; the only one you can afford to dump in this case is Constitution (which no class uses), and Con determines your health and is never recommended to dump. Abserd does have a lot of skill proficiencies and cantrips going for him, and he can use any weapon or armour, but without a multi-attack or upgraded sneak attack for physical damage and no ability score increases or feats from levelling up, he is a poor physical fighter. He has a few third-level spells at a table where the real spellcasters have sixth-level spells, and his spells are easy to shrug off with a low spell save DC.
    • Ben describes the Hybrid Classes, 4e's version of multiclassing, as "dump ranks into making you terrible at both," since none of the classes were designed to work well together.
  • Meaningful Name: The aforementioned Abserd, because he's an absurd character concept. Also works as a Punny Name.
  • Meaningful Rename: After the party from the Malikar and Covenant Campaigns return to save the realm from a devil, they rename their group from The Turtle Fuckers to The Turtle Friends.
  • Metaphorically True: A guide in the village of Berez assures Garo there's nothing dark or creepy about the village. When the village is revealed to be a decaying ruin and the guide is part of a witch coven, she points out as far as she's concerned this is normal, not dark or creepy.
  • Monty Haul: In the campaign against Malikar, Ben rewarded the players too generously, and this allowed them to buy whatever magic items they wanted, which made it difficult for him to reward them later. Barathorn the talking glaive ended up as a Junk Rare item because they already had several magic weapons that were better.
  • Moral Myopia: In the Deadlands one shot, a magic wielding reverend declares that the player characters are servants of the Devil because used magic to command snakes to kill him, but he was the one who summoned the snakes in the first place to try to kill them.
  • Mordor: Whenever he talks about his home state of California, he describes it as this.
    Ben: Look over there! That's almost, like, three trees! Where would you find that many trees in one place? I think two of them might even still be alive!
  • Morton's Fork: The Shenani-Guys are given multiple possible replacements for Strahd, with the party debating which would be the best one for the people. As explained in a follow-up video, all of them are bad because the Dark Powers are evil. One is outright evil, one would unleash devastating magic trying to escape, and two would be so incompetent that Barovia would be constantly besieged.
  • Motor Mouth: While describing a single action in a 4E combat sessions, Ben begins speaking faster and faster with each additional mechanic until he's babbling.
  • Multiple Endings: The Curse of Strahd playthrough had multiple possible endings for the party based on who they chose as Strahd's replacement, as explained in a follow-up video. Choosing anyone as a replacement for Strahd would result in the people being miserable for one reason or another while siding with Strahd to free all of Barovia would require sacrificing Irena.
  • Munchkin: In the post-timeskip campaign, Will wanted to keep playing the same character, and explaining the Legend Fades to Myth backstory as him actually having gone permanently invisible, and apparently the party are the only ones who can see him. Not only did he spring this on Ben with no warning, but invisibility is normally a spell that requires concentration, only lasts for 1 hour, and ends early if you try to attack. Permanent invisibility is a ludicrously powerful ability. It being unintentionally powerful is why Ben seems to have allowed it—Will seems to have no idea how to use invisibility in combat, going by his actions when "sneaking" into a school (break walls with boat).
  • Murder-Suicide: In "Should The GM Cheat in D&D?", describes and animates one such scenario as a warning to one possible way cheating can backfire.
    Ben: "Maybe you have a dragon that flies up and goes 'Blah! Mega death face flames!' and it kills everyone except for one guy who walks away unscathed. He's not gonna be the one who grabs you by the scruff of the neck and flies with you out the hundredth floor window!"
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: From "How I ruined my DM's Star Wars Campaign Podcast": "This DM decided to put together a team of his best and brightest players. Also he brought me along for some reason."
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: The titular Obelisk Encounter ended up being this. After all the buildup about what a ludicrously impossible fight it would be, both sides had too much defense and healing for the other to do meaningful damage before the summon counter timed out. There wasn't even any experience or loot at the end.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Ben does seem to have this attitude from time to time.
      • In one game, the players completely derailed the game using a portal to the moon he had placed there. It's obviously impossible to plan for everything, but if he places the possibility for something to happen, he has to expect that that may happen. Golden Rule of Game Masters: If the players can do it, they will do it.
      • In a few other games, the campaign becomes less enjoyable for the players because Ben insists on following the module even when it's obviously poorly written. A key example is Wallace, who Ben foisted upon the part because the module had no provisions for a party declining to take him along.
      • In "Chadwick Strongpants", he complains about how his brother doesn't like tabletop RPGs. However in one session, the brother was stuck doing nothing while everyone was having fun. note  In the other session mentioned, Ben intentionally made a terrible character for his brother. With this in mind, the brother's dislike for RPGs seems more justified.
      • In several episodes where he's running from a pre-written adventure the parties get into hopeless fights because he didn't bother to read the setups or monster stat blocks ahead of time.
    • In "Breaking into the Castle" Katia instructs Ben's character Aligaros to stay out of trouble and not cause a scene. He misinterprets her as wanting him to do the exact opposite and doesn't listen when she tries to correct him. The video then cuts to all of them being thrown in jail, and Aligaros is convinced it is all Katia's fault.
    • The parties Ben GM's for aren't above this either. In "My players LOSE the final fight!", they leave one of their fighters paralyzed outside the villain's antechamber when they could have very easily given him the antivenom to restore his mobility. They lose this fight by one point, likely because they needlessly left one of their party members out of commission, and instead blame a different party member who couldn't make it to that game because he had to work late.
    • One of worst games Ben even played in was run by a DM who forced everyone to heavily optimize because he felt that the fights are taking too long because players made suboptimal characters choices, despite the fact it was him who, as a DM, controls monsters' hit points and actions.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: During one campaign Ben's players refused to believe the suspect being pointed to by all the evidence was the criminal they were looking for, owing to this trope.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the video We Were Just Making Everything Worse, the players have a Heel Realization when they think about all the things they accomplished in the campaign and realized that they had unintentionally caused several disasters. They caused the sinking of a ship they were trying to save, killed a zombie who was actually trying to help them and came back for revenge, and helped a villain obtain the means to cause the apocalypse by being too trusting.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In a game he was running he accidentally created a Mindflayer Swashbuckler by getting two stat blocks confused and not realizing it until halfway through the battle. As the game as written included a gang boss who is an ordinary goldfish it didn't immediately strike him as out of place.
    • Justified if you check the book. There is not actually any stat block for Nihiloor. He was supposed to use the Mind Flayer stat block from the Monster Manual, the book just contains some fluff and a picture of him... A picture that's right next to the stat block for the Nimblewright, a mechanical duelist.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: In "Deadlands: For A Few Idiots More", one of the players whines that the twenty Knight Templar Reverends (in Salt Lake City) are Mormons. Ben says that they aren't Mormons exactly ... but doesn't say which denomination they are from.
  • "No" Means "Yes": In the "Breaking into the Castle" video, Katia instructs Aligaros to stay out of trouble and not cause a scene. Aligaros thinks that she is telling him to do the opposite and she is unable to convince him that she really means what she is says. The video cuts to the whole party getting thrown in a cell and Aligaros still think he did what she wanted so it is all her fault.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: One is briefly interrogated in his Xanithar video.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In the Too Many Pets video, Ben explains how the party picked up a ghost dog and a dog that turns into a shadow monster at night but doesn't explain the bird butler, the gold dragon or the aboleth.
    • For reasons that Ben initially refused to reveal or animate, the group of heroes out to defeat Malikar somehow picked up the nickname, "The Turtle Fuckers".
      • He eventually revealed how they got the name in this video. And he also explains that the name actually was Turtle Molesters, not Turtle Fuckers. Basically they used to have pet turtles traveling with the party, and had a running joke about where they applied those touch spells.
    • As part of his "Worst Games I've Played" series Ben explains that in a 4e session his party spent eight hours fighting goblins. No further details are given.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: In one of his Pathfinder videoes Ben has to swear he is not making it up as he explains an adventure that involved adventurers traveling from another world to Soviet Russia to save Baba Yaga from Rasputin the Mad Monk. And for the record no, he is in fact not making it up.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Nearly everything the Shenani-guys do in Barovia turns out to be this, as they always blunder into what turn out to be complex traps by people who seemed to be trustworthy at the time. It's played completely straight for dramatic effect.
  • Now What?: Malikar apparently hadn't expected to actually defeat the heroes, so he wasn't sure what to do when he did. As they had succeeded in thwarting his current plan first, he was back to square one at best. He ultimately didn't have much time to consider it.
  • Obligatory Joke: Ben tasks the party with tracking down the location of a band of lycanthropes called The Wild Things. He then immediately realizes his mistake and is disappointed but not surprised when they realize they're "trying to figure out Where the Wild Things Are".
  • Obliviously Evil: In the post-game talk, the players joked that Gouda would actually be the most accidentally evil Darklord, since she would keep summoning unicorns with her wild magic leading to unicorns slowly becoming extinct in the rest of the multiverse with no one knowing where they went.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: When a party encounters an aboleth with a split personality, they warn the party about a scary creature that they hear is also swimming about in the water. The party instantly realizes that the aboleth is just describing stories they have heard about themselves, without realizing they're the one being described.
  • Obviously Evil: Comes up a lot
    • Double Subverted when Ben is an Evil Sorcerer at the end of "We Became The Villains In Our Own Campaign". The desolation around his tower is because Ben wanted to save money on gardening, the Lava Sharks are cute pets, and the Evil Tower of Ominousness just has a very good view. Also he's killed people in that tower.
    • In "The D&D live event: Escape from Hell", the entire gaming hall was decked out in hellfire and people walked around dressed as demons and devils. Needless to say, people weren't particularily impressed when the game turned out to be set in Hell.
    • Garathor, an Obvious Judas who's so blatantly evil that you would have to be an idiot to trust him. Everyone in Ben's party were idiots.
    • Gouda's patron, Mavaras, is a floating beholder-skull who rants about chaos and laughs maniacally. It helps cover up that he's actually far more insidious than he seems.
  • Oculothorax: Wouldn't be D&D without the Trope Codifier itself, the Beholder. A few specific ones include the invisible beholder, Xanathar and Mavaras, the Death tyrant.
  • Off the Rails:
    • In one campaign he ran his players found a mysterious temple. He had planned for his players to come back to the temple later in the campaign but due to a lucky dice roll they learned how to use the temple's magic circle before they were supposed to and insisted on using it, resulting in them getting teleported to the moon without any way to get back.
    • In an another story a Call of Cthulhu game he ran was ruined when a player instantly guessed that an NPC they just met in a hospital was possessed by the villain, despite the fact that it hadn't even been hinted yet that the villain was capable of possessing people, and the NPC hadn't even spoken a single word yet.
    • Another Call of Cthulhu game was derailed into a Total Party Kill. While everyone dying is not unexpected in Call of Cthulhu, this one happened because of an idiot player setting everything on fire to keep a monster away and trapping himself in the fire, and the fire spread and killed the other surviving player.
    • When he ran Fane of the Night Serpent (part of Tomb of Annihilation) he accidentally skipped over the part of the book explaining how the players are supposed to get into the Temple. The players were supposed to either disguise themselves as the enemy, or let themselves be captured by the enemy and make an alliance with one of the villains, but what happened instead is the players had to fight their way though every single enemy, just barely managing to win after a very long and hard battle.
    • In a dystopian ICONS campaign that he ran, the heroes are sent on a mission to find out what happened to some people who were sent to recover a typewriter and never came back. The heroes find that they were attacked by bandits and incorrectly assume they are dead, and end up killing them instead by blowing up the bandit's base. It goes further off the rails when they find the typewriter and accidentally smash it, and discover a mysterious data disc inside which they were not supposed to know about, and they keep it for themselves instead of delivering it to the guy who sent them on the mission. After this he started running the campaign without rails and instead gave them several different plot threads they could choose to follow or ignore.
    • In the Black Market Blues story he and his party are confronted by assassins when visiting a black market who are suspicious of the party's paladin. When talking their way out doesn't work the Paladin starts a fight with them and causes chaos in the black market and everybody gets arrest and the black market shut down. When they are in jail, Puffin realizes that it didn't make sense for the town to have a black market because everybody already knew it was there and was ok with it.
    • Another campaign that he ran ended up going of the rails at the very end when the players fail to kill the villain. The players succeed in stopping the villain's plan but the final battle between the villain and the last player standing ultimately comes down to one last dice roll, which the player misses, by one point. The standing player character is forced to retreat, and the rest of player characters get scattered across the universe and never see each other again although end up in nice places. Since they failed to kill the villain using the Villain-Beating Artifact he will eventually come back, and so it seems like a Bitter Sweet Ending, however it ends on a funny note because the villain ended up on Mount Celestia, the realm of Pure Lawful Good where he is immediately captured and imprisoned for a very long time.
    • Exaggerated in "DM.exe has crashed!" which must be seen to be believed. The players break into a school because they were too impatient to get a warrant to enter legally and get into a fight, and an idiotic samurai player tries to defuse the situation by firing a gun, and it just gets worse from there, as he gets into a completely unnecessary standoff with the police, which all could have been avoided if they had just waited for the warrant.
      Ben: I'm too busy handling the child-hostage negotiation to pay attention.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ben's reaction during the Curse of Strahd playthrough whenever the party realizes they have encountered something really bad, such as the nature of the dream pastries, is to give a quiet "Oh no..."
    • Ben's horror at the slow-moving trainwreck in "Worst Games I've Played In 2 || Awkward Beginnings" when the DM brings in two first-time players, dumps them in the deep end, and then micro-manages the party and characters. Sure enough the two new players are completely turned off and never returned.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: One of Ben's critiques of 4th edition. Each class had a primary ability score that they would use for every roll when they used their powers. A paladin would roll charisma to attack with his sword, and charisma to see how much damage he did. There was one secondary ability score, but other than that there was no reason to put points into other ability scores.
  • Only in It for the Money: In "D&D King's Ransom", the adventurer party immediately asks for more money from the King. When he refuses to do so the halfling steals the King's clothes ... and his throne ... and all of his guard's armor.
    Ork: "So ... money?"
  • Open Secret: EVERYONE in town shops at the black market. No, it does not make sense.
  • Orgy of Evidence: In one campaign when the players were investigating a crime, they insisted on continuing to investigate even though they already had enough evidence about who the culprit was, so the case would be iron-clad. Ben tried to get them to move on by having them find the culprit's diary proving that they did it, but this just made the players even more suspicious.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Ben has only mentioned gods a couple time in his videos. The Lord in How Every D&D World Is Created is a Jerkass God who unleashes monsters upon the world for no good reason. There's also the god of Law who blessed the heroes with the Boon of Immortality.
    • Gods in Ben's setting can also apparently be killed, but they're highly resistant to all damage except psychic, and even then it takes an immense amount delivered at once.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: This being a D&D campaign, the vampires in the Curse of Strahd story follow the same conventions as vampires in D&D: burns in sunlight, running water is like acid, etc. The only thing that gets focused upon is how they are turned: A victim can't simply be bitten once like is the case with lycanthropes. They have to actually die from the bitewound and then be buried if they are to rise again. This also makes it much harder to cure, as, unlike werebeasts, a vampire is actually dead. "Curing" them would just kill them.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: In Ben's Curse of Strahd-game, lycanthropy can be inherited or transferred. Born werewolves are fully in control of their transformations from the start. Infected werewolves turn feral once they change for the first time, attacking everyone around them. This is one of the many flawes in Emil's plan to turn the entire town of Vallaki: They would have a horde of feral werewolves on their hands.
  • Overly Prepared Gag: In "The Legend of the Legendary Aligaros Ashuin!", Ben wasted a character level just to get an ability he had to wait months to use just for a joke, which he never used again.
  • Over Shadowed By Awesome: In a The Lord of the Rings campaign, Ben picked character last, and wondered why no one wanted to play as the Dark Lord Sauron. It turned out the other players were Smaug, Shelob and the Balrog.
  • Paper Tiger: One of the toys that the players are attacked by during the holiday one-off is a paper dragon. It attacks them with its breath weapon, and the players fail their save to dodge it, but it does no damage because its breath weapon is nothing but harmless confetti. They players decide to simply go around the paper dragon instead of fighting.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • In the Captain Morgan video, Jess' character was a bird person (aarakocra or kenku). Since his avatar on his channel is a Spectator (a diet beholder), Ben drew him as a spectator with beak and wings held on by strings.
    • Detective Clancy seems to Zig Zag this with his disguises. His normal disguise is a basket that apparently works most of the time... However, Ben always has them use the basket disguise even if it wouldn't be logical too. Case and point; the 'suspicious looking basket' climbing on the ceiling. He can apparently make actual disguises, he just doesn't want to.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • Ben's character Detective Savage Rage is the worst detective in the world because he has no actual skill at doing detective work.
    • His smuggler in the Star Wars campaign never actually smuggles anything, nor does he commit any other crime you might expect of his profession. In fact, the only illegal thing he does is smoke death sticks, but he goes clean shortly afterwrd (not by choice, mind you).
      • Worse yet, Ben said he picked that smuggler "Han Solo" character "for the hat," but Han Solo doesn't wear a hat! Possibly justified in that Ben admitted he had never actually watched the movies.
  • Place Worse Than Death: In the Covenant campaign, the players discover a place that connects to many dimensions and are warned about a horrible place called California (where Ben lives). After the final villain is turned into a potted plant, they banish him there.
  • Playing Possum: One PC avoids a fight with two guards by pretending to be dead after falling down a flight of stairs.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • In "That time our characters went to New York City the characters killed several people with bows and arrows and somehow the police never caught them.
    • The guard at Cherry Fields Guard Post has literally never been outside the guard post, and doesn't know that magic exists.
  • Police Brutality: In "Pokemon Tabletop Gangster", the GM gave four NPC Security Guards to Ben and the other three players to control ... said security guards proceed to brutally beat two teenage vandals with metal flashlights. They wanted to use Cold-Blooded Torture on the children, but the GM vetoed them at that point.
    Guard #1: "You walked in on the wrong Pokemon University motherfucker."
    Guard #2: "Growlithe, go for the legs! They're small, weak, and break easily!"
  • Pragmatic Hero: For a given value of "hero". In "PEE IN MY BUCKET", Ben suggests that they let the undead monsters kill the crew of the ship they were supposed to save because it means less mouths to feed.
  • Preserve Your Gays: Vladimir and Godfrey from the Curse of Strahd replay are played straight from the module. They are technically dead, but hang around as revenants. Later subverted when the party returns the skull of Argynvost, allowing them to rest and be Together in Death. The Double Subverted, when Godfrey stays behind until Strahd is dead.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Ben lampshades this continually when it comes to Pokemon's gangsters that "hold Pokemon against their will," as the players behave almost identically. (Ironically, he mentions the name "Team Plasma" without seeming to know anything about them, when this is in fact their in-game argument. It's decisively disproved.)
  • Protagonist Without a Past: Ben has a reputation for making player characters without any backstory, which he talks about in the video about his character Aligaros and the problems and hilarity it caused.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: A humorous inversion. Malikar's fate at the end of the first Malikar Campaign video is to get sent to heaven, where he is immediately captured and imprisoned for a very long time, thus ending him as a threat for the foreseeable future. Played straighter in the end of the Covenant campaign, where the players banish the Big Bad to California after trapping him in the form of a potted plant.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In My players LOSE the final battle. The PCs are unable to finish off the Big Bad once at for all thanks to an extremely unlucky dice roll but are able to stop said Big Bad from destroying the world. While the monk of the group ends up living in paranoia for the Big Bads return, through luck of the dice, most of the players end up in plains of existence that fit each characters personality/outlook while the Big Bad ends up in a plane full of being dedicated to fighting evil.
  • Railroading:
    Ben: "All Aboard!"
    • The module writers for a D&D campaign foisted an NPC onto the party with no provisions for if they wanted to reject the help. When they return to town, Wallace much worse for wear, Wallace gets heralded as a hero while ignoring the party.
      • Part Two underscores this, as the players desperately want to go away from Parnast, but the module is having none of it, to the point that Ben dresses as an old-timey railroad conductor while welcoming them aboard the train.
    • In "We Were Just Making Everything Worse" when the players hear that the town they are in is run by a family that is killing humans, they pack up and leave instead of confronting them but end up having to come back later to take them down anyway to progress the plot.
    • "Why Won't May Character Just DIE Already?! has two examples:
    • In this video talks about why you should not punish players in game for out of game decisions. He once had a DM who hated magic spells being used to bypass puzzles and traps, and always punished the players who did this by having them set off more traps whenever they tried, hoping that they would give up trying to use magic to solve problems, instead of just telling the players out of game that he didn't like magic. This backfired and just cause the player to try harder to solve everything with magic.
    • "The GM Took Away My Addiction Because It Was Breaking His Game". Ben's character is knocked unconscious with the force and finds that his addiction to death sticks is mysteriously gone when he wakes, and all of his death sticks, and only his death sticks, were all stolen. No part of this makes any sense in-game (out of game, the GM forced this due to feeling that the death stick addiction of Ben's character was lowering the party's power curve).
    • "D&D Story: Journey to "Magic-North-Korea" Ben really wanted his party to try out the war machines from Descent into Avernus (Mad Max in Hell). However, they generally preferred to hoof it no matter the circumstances. Eventually he had to veto every other possible method of travel to get them to use a war machine.
    • Ben's video on 4th edition once again has him drawing a picture of a train to accompany his complaint that his war-cleric character was basically locked into one path from 1st level onwards.
  • Razor Apples: In the Halloween One Off, Moss warns trick-or-treaters that the Followers of Lolth are putting razor blades in candy. It's never confirmed if this is true or not, even though the party meets a trio of Lolth Clerics later in the story.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • The player of Sparklegem in Ben's campaign continuation had an irregular work schedule so he often missed sessions. The players decided to work this into the characterization by having the rest of the party actively dislike Sparklegem and take any opportunity they saw to bail on him.
    • Garo's backstory has him switching several times between a clerical order and a monastery. The in-game reason is not entirely clear; what is clear is that Ben was trying to get the mechanics he wanted from both the Cleric and Monk classes via said swaps.
    • Krusk doesn't have nearly the same presence as the rest of the Shenani-Guys in the recap videos. As explained during the Post-Campaign discussion, Krusk's player is fairly quiet and not as prone to memorable antics as the rest of the table. This then carries over to his straitlaced, quiet character.
  • The Real Man: Detective Savage Rage, Ben's character in a Dresden Files game.
    Journalist: Did... did you just make Kung Fury from—
    Ben: Yes, I basically just made Kung Fury from Kung Fury.
  • Really 700 Years Old: In "My favorite classes to play in D&D", Ben used to play his human Wizard - Doctor Solomon - as the Team Dad of the group who took care of the youngsters ... until he realized he was the youngest person in the group. note .
  • Refused by the Call: Ben's pun-happy player is ecstatic on hearing that they must find the legendary Pun Warrior to bear the Omega Pun. In the middle of his epic speech, Ben quickly clarifies it's not the player.
  • Resurrective Immortality:
    • In the holiday one off, the players fight against a cat monster that won't stay dead.
    • The Big Bad Malikar of this story has a variant of this. He is reborn after he dies, although with each death he becomes crazier. The players have to track down an artifact that can kill him permanently by destroying his soul.
  • Retcon: Ben retconned the Melikar campaign because his players wanted to reprise their roles in that group.Instead of growing old and fathering a son, the Gnome Monk Michele became a homeless drug addict. Additionally, instead of spending the rest of their lives in the other dimensions, the party is only separated for two years before being kidnapped by a devil and escaping back to the moral realm.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: Chadwick Strongpants is feared by all villains. We never really know the reason, since he's completely average, but the criminals end up felling themselves with friendly fire out of fear of him. The other players suggested that he might be so aggressively normal that reality became more average around him.
    • Downplayed with Ben's favorite character/class, Human Fighter. While fighters are definitely not average in-universe, they are essentially normal people without magic in a universe where pretty much everyone else has some supernatural powers (Fighters have the Eldritch Knight and Arcane Archer subclasses, and can take feats to gain magic, but their spell casting pales in comparison to even half-casters like Ranger or Paladin). They're also the most common character/race combination on D&DBeyond.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Vampire hunter Rudolph van Richten had one of these, as the party learns from his journal. A vistani caravan kidnapped his son and sold him to a vampire. Richten sicced some borrowed zombies at them for it.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies:
  • The Roleplayer: Ben is a combination of the roleplayer and The Loonie, because he loves to roleplay as characters who are funny. He will often play the most ridiculous character that the game master will allow. Unlike many loonies he does not do random things to disrupt the game. Everything he does is something that would make sense for his character to do. His characters have included detectives without any actually investigation skills, a secretly evil high school girl, a guy with levels in every character class because he keeps getting kicked out of groups due to his annoying voice, and a Dumb Muscle warrior who thinks that he can use magic by making weird noise.
  • Rule-Abiding Rebel: In "The GM Took Away My Addiction Because It Was Breaking His Game", despite playing a human smuggler Ben never did anything illegal. The others often made fun of him, joking that if the Empire arrested them they'd let him go for having a clean record.
  • Rule of Cool: Ben believes this is the reason the GM from "Black Market Blues" integrated a black market into his story, despite being a blatant case of Artistic License – Economics. He believes that the GM added a black market because it added a sense of allure and intrigue to the plot, and didn't focus on making sure it made sense in the context of the story. Ben eventually concluded that the town was doing this in-universe.
  • Rule of Funny: Many of the player actions in Ben's videos make more sense when one considers it was likely done as a gag by the player rather than a decision of their character. For example, forcing a monk who is terrified of technology to drive the car makes no sense in-character but does make sense as a joke.
  • Rules Lawyer: Discusses this in a few videos.
    • Ben makes a point to differentiate between Rules Lawyers and what he calls Rules Traditionalist. Rules Traditionalists generally just wants everyone to have fun, and thinks the rules are the best way to do that. Rules Lawyers, on the other hand, are not interested in following the rules. They're interested in exploiting the rules.
    • He made a second video called "D&D Discussion: Rules Lawyering Video" after removing his original video on rules lawyers. He admits the reason he removed the old video is that he didn't like how he came across in the original video. However, once he started getting messages about his old video, he made this video to clarify his thoughts on rules lawyers and better explain some things. Like in his original video, he doesn't think following the rules is inherently bad, and he makes a point to make a difference between those who want to follow the rules to rules lawyers. The way he sees it, rules lawyers exploit the rules for their own benefit when it helps them out, but will overlook the rules if they would give their character some sort of demerit or penalty. This hypocrisy is Ben's biggest issue with rules lawyers. He also makes a point that sometimes, people will overlook the rules by accident. There are so many rules in tabletop RPGs that no one can remember all of them, which will inevitably lead to slip-ups. This can make it hard* to tell when the rules are being overlooked for a player's convenience, or because the group genuinely forgot one of the rules.
  • Running Gag:
    • Ever since an encounter during a Tomb of Annihilation run with an aboleth with a split personality that happened to meet the party face-to-face with the friendly personality, Ben always ends up depicting aboleths as Adorable Abominations.
    • During his retelling of his campaign in the Curse of Strahd module, whenever Ben thinks his character is dead he immediately grabs his backup character sheet and starts a pulpy intro for "Stan Velsing" until the GM tells him to stop.
    • Whenever a player or DM tries to trick the other players or monsters (to varying degrees of success), he says "It was a DECEPTION!
  • Say My Name: When Ben played D&D for the first time, the party was fighting the necromancer Malrath, and Ben made cookies when it wasn't his turn. They got a bit burned.
    Ben: MALRAAAAATH!!!!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Occurs on occasion.
    • Ben's party at one point goes to a town where a Drow couple is murdering humans (which Ben's character is). Cut to Ben packing up his bags and the party leaving right away. They come back three sessions later and defeat the drow couple, but only because they needed to so the plot could advance.
    • At the start of "Dungeon Bebop: 12 Cartoon D&D Sketches", Ben's party has this reaction when they walk into a room and are greeted by a fire monster.
    • In "The Xanathar Guild", at one point the party opens a door while searching through the guild and finds the mind-flayer Nihiloor inside. They immediately close the door, declare that they will never go in that room, and leave without fighting him. This actually makes Ben cry because there was a lot of block text he wouldn't get to read to them.
    • In "Detective Clancy", Ben lost the first Rogue character he played as when he entered a room ahead of the rest of the party, and a white dragon suddenly appeared, so the rest of the party slammed the door shut and ran, leaving him to be killed by the dragon.
    • In "DM.exe has crashed!" one of the players asks Ben for a blank character sheet after the samurai gets into a stand-off with several cops. The player had been previously playing as a baron, but the samurai who got in trouble was part of the same house, and thus wore his family's insignia during the stand-off. This leads to the baron's house getting swept up in controversy and the samurai being dishonored, which is what led the player to decide to make a new character and abandon his baron character.
  • Seen It All: During the covenant campaign, the players are exploring a literal dungeon, as in a place where prisoners are kept when suddenly a prisoner tells them that he is actually the warlord that have been hunting for and that somebody switched bodies with him and threw him in his own dungeon. The players immediately believe him because of all the crazy stuff and betrayals they have already gone through.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Pretty much Once per Episode, usually based on either his failure to name stuff ahead of time, or other peoples' drawing compared to his. It's especially notable in regards to his role in most groups, where he makes it out to sound like the other players are always out to get his character (with him justifying it by showing that his characters are annoying in-universe) yet if you seen the videos of the sessions he's played in, most of the other players usually are quite entertained by his characters antics.
    • In "Worst Games I've Run" Ben notes that longtime viewers may be surprised to learn that his previous videos were about the good games he had run.
    • Even his avatar is a case, being drawn notably rather portly while his real-life self is rather skinny.
  • Semiaquatic Species Sailor: Ottie Otterton is, as indicated by the name, an otter. He quickly reveals to the W.O.R.S.T. that he's a sailor.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: Lampshaded.
    • In his overview of the "Open Legend RPG," Ben points out a couple abilities they obviously based on D&D. The most obvious seems to be the one that lets a character enter a rage where they can get advantages on their attacks but suffer disadvantages in return. You might even call it a "Reckless Attack"?
    • One of Ben's critiques of 4th edition is that, despite the large cast, they really only had four classes who were reskinned into new ones. The particularily outrageous example he found was that almost every leader class had an ability that healed 1d6 twice per encounter, and all of them were named some variation of "[Adjective or Verb] Word": Healing Word for clerics, Inspiring Word for warlords and Majestic Word for bards.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The first module in "Worst Games I've Run" ends this way. Over the course of two hours the players talk to random NPCs with no relation to their actual mission, going to two separate dead ends, before finally reaching the bandit base they were looking for. Except the bandits they came to find aren't there.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the official 5th edition D&D. sourcebooks and adventures:
      • His Xanathar Guild video is about Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.
      • Last Orders at the Yawning Portal takes place in Undermountain, a dungeon described in Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, and features an NPC from Dragon Heist.
      • His Tomb of Annihilation videos are about Tomb of Annihilation.
      • In the second Malikar video, he uses the Ogre Howdah, an enemy from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. The creature in the Spires of Lynn also carries some resemblance to the Allip, an undead from the same book.
      • The two Hero of Parnast videos are based on two Adventurer's League modules called Uninvited Guests and Bad Business in Parnast
    • The sentient dreamlands otter in the WORST solutions is named Otterton.
    • Ben's DM appears to have used MandyMod's Curse of Strahd guide, or at least the Death House part of it.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Recalling an odd spell choice by a Slenderman-expy in an early 5e game, Ben mockingly points out all the mistakes it was making with his player avatar. The expy responds by spearing a tentacle through Ben's chest.
  • Significant Anagram: "Tar'hogar! Garathor! Tar'hogar!"note 
  • Signing Off Catchphrase: During his Curse of Strahd playthrough he took to ending episodes with "And that is where that session ended". He has used the phrase occasionally before, but not as consistently.
  • Skewed Priorities: In "The Empire Isn't Nice", the party learns the Empire is going to blow up Coruscant in the near future. Rather than warning someone or trying to build a defense, the party proceeds to run around the planet committing petty crimes and racking up lots of fines because they know they won't have to pay them. Of course they were also so preoccupied jaywalking with intent they forgot about getting off the planet until the Death Star actually appeared.
  • Speak of the Devil: One of the powers Strahd gained by profaning the Fanes is the ability to scry on anyone whenever they speak his name. The shenani-guys discover this late in the campaign, and realise to their horror how easy it's been for Strahd to track them across Barovia, and why some cities have laws requiring him to be referred to as "The Devil".
  • Spoof Aesop:
    • The episode "Captain Morgan || Cocaine solves all problems" ends with one.
      Ben: So remember kids: Do drugs! They make your problems go away!
    • The "Everyone has to die now" video ends with "If you hit your head against a wall long enough, eventually it will come crumbling down."
  • Sole Survivor: In "D&D Story: PEE IN MY BUCKET! The Adventurer's League Game", Ben and his party (three other players) went into the forest to rescue twelve crewmen of a crashed airship. Ben is the only one who made it back to the city alive; ten of the crewmen fell to their deaths trying to get to the ground, and neither the last two nor the three other players in Ben's party survived the eighteen day march back to civilization.
  • Sound of No Damage: In a few videos ben uses the onomatopoeia "tink" for when weapons do no damage.
  • Spoiled Brat: In Power Balance Issues, he talks about a player one of his friends DM'ed for. The guy complained until the DM couldn't take it anymore, and just gave him all he wanted, and of course, that just made him complain more.
  • Spoiler Cover: Krusk guesses (correctly) that the letter the party received is from Strahd, then points out that the book is called Curse of Strahd and the man himself is right on the cover.
  • Springtime for Hitler: In a group adventurers league GM for last orders at the yawning portal, the head GM decided to make the session a contest by having the PCs get points for every clue the table uncovers, and the table with the most points at the end of the session wins. Ben didn't like the idea of 'competitive DnD' so he decided to intentionally go very slow with his table and even side detour for the sake of making sure his table came in last in protest. Low and behold, his table didn't just win, it won in a near Curb-Stomp Battle!
  • Stupid Good: No other way to describe the baby seals who guarded Malikar.
  • Subbing for Santa: Ben speculates that he wouldn't do a good job if he was in this position; he imagines himself giving a boy half a burrito as a present (half of which he ate on the way), calling the boy the wrong name, and then criticizing a girl for not being materialistic enough.
  • Stylistic Suck: Devil Pact Warlock Employee Training Video is all about this trope, complete with Bad "Bad Acting" and intentionally crappy animation.
  • Superior Species: Discussed in "My favorite classes to play in D&D", when Ben notes that typical high-fantasy elves have all the benefits of being simultaneously old and young, with none of the downsides."
  • Super Window Jump: In the Malikar storyline, the party ends up doing one after setting a dynamite trap for Orcs and trapping themselves on the second floor with said trap.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The main reason why the players at Ben's Table didn't want to play Traveler. Spaceships are so prohibitively expensive note  that people can only afford shares of a ship. Moreover, instead of starting the game as the character they want the players have to roll for life events. Thus the noble became a half-deaf exile note  and the scholar became a disgraced outcast note . On a more meta level, springing that kind of character creation on them with no warning certainly didn't help their enthusiasm.
    • While playtesting Pathfinder 2e Ben had multiple pre-made modules, each with its own facet of gameplay to test. One was a TPK module which recommended not telling the players what they were testing. Ben thought that springing an unfair TPK on the players would be rude so he explained and then asked if they could run it anyway. Needless to say the players all refused.
    • A poor NPC vandal at the Pokemón University gets to learn that humans are not beholden to the rules of pokemón battles.
    Vandal: Smeargle, use Leer!
    Security Guard: LET'S FUCK HIM UP!!!
  • Space Base: In one game that Ben was GM'ing the used a temple to transport themselves to a city on the Moon, well before Ben intended for them to do so. He didn't write in a way for them to get back.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: In "D&D Story Animated: Breaking Into The Castle", the Rogue Samurai Ninja in the party fell down a flight of stairs in front of some guards. He played dead to avoid getting hurt by the guards, but the rest of the party only hears the guards say that he must be dead. While the rest of the party is crying and frowning, Flynn said that he "was kinda a jerk".
  • Split Personality: The aboleth in the Tomb of Annihilation Ben was running. It spent the entire floor telepathically taunting the players the entire time. By the time they get there they see its other side, Whimsy, a child-like and sweet aboleth that gives them free treasure, and the players opt to leave it there. When Ben apologies for the Anti-Climax, the players comment at least it was that way instead of the other, because they would have horribly died if they saw his good personality through telepathy only to find the monster when they got there.
  • Stranger Behind the Mask: After the W.O.R.S.T. party suspected Ottie Otterton of being an evil mastermind (for no discernible reason), Ben reveals the mastermind behind the magic-draining evil fortress of Fantasy North Korea—with Ottie's silhouette at first—to be...Some Other Guy! That none of the party knew!
  • Sudden Downer Ending: The finale of the "Curse of Strahd" playthrough is upbeat with evil defeated, sunlight returning to Barovia, and the party parting on good terms. And then the DM got to the epilogue where the new ruler of Barovia turns out to be just as evil as Strahd, Garo becomes her broken yes-man, and an unknowing Gouda is cursed to never return home despite it being what she desires most.
  • Swashbuckler: Antonio de Castilian Maximiliano, the self-proclaimed finest Goblin Swordsman in all the land! He lives up to his boast too!
  • Sweet Seal: The upper most levels of Mount Celestia are populated entirely by baby harp seals because of their Incorruptible Pure Pureness. They make terrible guards but somehow they are able to keep Malikar imprisoned there anyway.
  • Tagalong Kid: Wallace, the Hero of Parnast. The player characters immediately hated Wallace due to his uselessness but the module had no option to refused to take him along and the players hated him even more after his hometown gave him all of the credit for what the players did and completely ignored them.
  • Take That!:
    • Ben was less than impressed with the proscribed method of getting into the Fane of the Night Serpentnote .
    • In "Stahr Wors", the campaign never properly finished, so Ben decides to make up an ending on the fly. He proceeds to describe an exaggerated version of The Rise of Skywalker with his character as Rey.
  • Take That Me: Ben notes in "Worst Games I've Played In 2 || Awkward Beginnings" that he is leery of doing any videos on his 4e games because they were so boring it'd be hard to make entertaining. He proposes an obvious joke scenario where the entire video would consist of him saying his group fought goblins for eight hours.
  • Taking You with Me: The Chaotic Stupid samurai character threatens to do this by detonating all of his grenades during his confrontation with the police, but he gets tackled before he can do it.
  • Talking Weapon: In the Malikar campaign, the players collected way too many talking weapons. These include a defective sword of warning that keeps saying "I Warned You" whenever any bad happens no matter how small, a glaive named Barathorne that talks too much, a sword of ice and fire named Greg, and the evil Mournblade.
  • Technophobia: In a "Tabletop RPG Story: The WORST Detective In the World! From Dresden Files RPG", one of the player characters is a monk who is afraid of modern technology. The others make him drive the car.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Trixie Starbright.
    GM: Ummm, Ben? I don't think you're playing an... average high school girl like you'd said.
    Ben: You.... didn't go to the same high school that I went to, did you?
  • Teleport Interdiction: The Barovian Night Hags can use Etherealness to slip into the Ethereal plane. To fight them, the Shenani-guys have Ezemerelda cast Magic Circle around the windmill, which keeps creatures inside it from leaving, including via teleportation and planar travel.
  • That One Puzzle: In "Terror of the Deep" Ben talks in-universe about how the Gears of Hate puzzle from Tomb of Annihilation was so difficult that even as the DM running the game it was confusing to him. The puzzle consisted of a series of rooms that could rotate on gears connected to each other. Ben resorted to making map tiles he could rotate to run the puzzle. Even with this aid, he still went into the game not knowing how to solve it, hoping that his players could figure it out.
  • That Wasn't a Request:
    • When a group of players enter a dream world and run into a sharply dressed otter man, they immediately decide they are going to take him home with them to the real world, whether he wants it or not. A player almost says the name of this trope when he protests.
    • During the Curse of Strahd replay, the Shenani-Guys receive an invite to have dinner with the titular vampire. They interpret this as an open invitation and decide to visit at a later date. Strahd, having expected them to come immediately, punishes them by killing everyone in the cathedral. They then receive a new "invitation" with the clear implication they will be attending immediately.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others:
    • Ben likes to give quests like "Helping poor little Timmy find his red wagon", "matching a dress that goes with the noble lady's hair", or "STOPPING ZALTHADAR THE GOD EATER FROM CONSUMING OUR WORLD AND ENDING ALL OF EXISTENCE AS WE KNOW IT!"
    • In the Cocaine video, he talks about a game he ran with Dingo from Dingo Doodles, Jess from JessJackdaw and Logan. "He's cool."
  • Theme Naming: In the "Curse of Strahd" campaign diary, all of Gouda Thyme's family members have a name that's a pun on Gouda. There's Momma Gouda Luck, Papa Gouda Grief, Baby Gouda Onyou, the twins Gouda Morgen and Gouda Night, and Auntie Sofarso Gouda.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Ben says this in the Last Orders at the Yawning Portal Tavern video when he finds out that the D&D Epic is going to be competitive, with each table scoring points for completing parts of the story, and thinking that this would cause tables to go though the game too quickly without roleplaying for the sake of getting the most points.
    • At the start of the final episode of the "Curse of Strahd" playthrough, Ben opens with a heavy sigh. Sure enough, things do not go well.
    • When he realized that his DM had invited some new players to their game without telling them anything about D&D.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Ben tried to run a Call of Cthulhu game inspired by Indiana Jones, featuring, of course, nazis as the villains. Then he realized that nazis have guns. And guns kill people.
  • Time Travel: At one point a dwarf in one of the parties assumes they traveled back in time. They didn't. They traveled to the Moon.
  • Too Dumb to Live: As mentioned below, the player in a Call of Cthulhu campaign proved to be this, as his method of trying to flush out a monster was to set an entire room on fire. Including the door. Without leaving the room. He had previously used dynamite to collapse a cave, and pulled the same idiocy - standing in the cave he intended to collapse while setting off the dynamite.
    • The Tiefling Sorcerer cast Darkness during a fight. While this would be a humble mistake, he apparently had a habit of using spells only had vague idea about. Darkness, at the best of times, causes everyone to be on equally bad footing, but since dragons have blindsight, it doesn't need sight to fight, something the players do. Darkness is really only useful to cover escapes, and since they were on a ship, there wasn't anywhere to escape to.
  • Total Party Kill:
  • Too Many Halves: Two examples from the "Too Many Pets" video: Ben describes a chimera as "half goat, half lion, half red dragon" and Growls Borkly as "half dark shadow monster, half corgi, half demon".
  • Town with a Dark Secret: In the holiday one off with Dingo Doodles and Zee Bashew, the players are clerics of Pelor who are invited to a festival to Pelor, but for the last three years people have been mysteriously disappearing on the night of the festival. They were shrunk down to the size of mice to be sacrificed to an immortal cat monster, and the players are the latest victims.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: When Krusk declines the suggestion of turning to the dark powers of Barovia for a gift, Garo and Boshak start pressuring him like they're teenagers offering drugs to a straitlaced friend. They even consider killing Krusk so he'll get a gift from the spirit which revives him
  • Trapped in Another World: In the first episode of the Curse of Strahd replay, Gouda ponders if Curse of Strahd technically qualified as an Isekai, since it involves the players being taken into another world (the Demiplane of Dread) through the Mists. Ben admits that she's not wrong.
  • Two-Headed Coin: One of the ten items an adventurer should always carry with them according to T the Writer in his channel invasion of Puffin Forest.
  • Unfortunate Names: Originally intentional, though they came to regret it. The group that took down Malikar was named the Turtle F*ckers. This becomes a problem when the angels wants to praise them from the heights of Mount Celestia, but no one wants to say the name out loud.
    • Ben makes a correction in a later video that the name was actually Turtle Molesters (they were a bit raunchy about where they applied touch spells and incidentally had a turtle mascot) and that he didn't mean for the video to sound like he was saying Fuckers.
  • Unknown Rival: Done completely by mistake in his Renaissance-ish D&D game. He'd so carefully woven the villain and his motives into the background of events that it wasn't until the big reveal at the end that he realized the players had never met him or heard his name. Even in the video describing it he's only referred to as "another guy".
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The defective Sword of Warning starts every day by saying that something bad might happen. Whenever something bad happens, it says "I warned you."
  • Verbal Backspace: Prospector Jenkins.
    Jenkins: Prospector Jenkins, grim servant of death.
    NPC: Huh?
    Jenkins: Pro-prospector Jenkins!
  • Villain-Beating Artifact: Because the Mournblade has soul-destroying properties, it is the only weapon capable of interfering with Malikar's Resurrective Immortality.
  • Villain Has a Point: Downplayed, since the Abbot isn't really a a villain, but the players are at first shocked that he would even consider working for Strahd. After very narrowly defeating Strahd, only to learn they were fighting a mere Simulacrum, they realize that the Abbot isn't complying because he's evil. Strahd has simply broken him, and the Abbot is merely hoping to placate the vampire as best he can.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Ben often draws a steam train when discussing DMs/modules/game mechanics utilising Rail Roading.
    • While describing how a kraken was sealed in a cave by a magical seal, a seal of the swimming kind appears on screen.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Most of the Shenani-Guys, but Garo and Boshack in particular.
    Boshack: I have come to the conclusion that you are both incompetent.
    Garo: Well, thanks Boshack. I thought that was old news to you.
  • Voice Changeling: Disguising his voice is one of the useful skills that Detective Clancy has. At one point, he uses this skill to interrogate a prisoner by making them think he is beating up a woman when he doesn't talk.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In one game the entire party fails its constitution roll and vomits when they enter a sewer.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: As Ben discovers when he sends a kraken against his party, krakens in 5th edition D&D don't have legendary resistance, magic resistance or immunity to shapechanging. Because of this, it's a lot easier than you'd expect to polymorph one into a housecat.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: In "Last Orders at the Yawning Portal Tavern", the party bard reveals that his father was one of these right before beginning a dance-off against The Fair Folk. He loses, and his father's ghost appears just to belittle him.
    Bard's Father's Ghost: Son, you're a disappointment to the family. And you always will be.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Due to unlucky dice rolls, Aligaros keeps waking up in jail with no memory of what he did when he drinks.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Ben's Gautor accent sounds like a vague mix of Russian and German.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…:
    • Aligaros thinks that an ax is the solution to every problem. He is amazed when he sees one of his teammates solve a problem with their mind, so he thinks they must have used their "mind-ax". So from that point on, they tell him that he they they are using their mind-axes whenever they need to stop him from pulling out his ax.
    • Captain Morgan's solution to every problem is cocaine. It usually works.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: In this video, when the dungeon masters are discussing the Obelisk Encounter, they say that it is really unlikely that anybody would try to push the obelisk over, releasing the powerful monster inside. Naturally, Ben's table ends up being the one to do it.
  • A Winner Is You: The Infamous TPK module ends this ways. The unlikely event that the players survive and defeat all the waves of enemies has no impact on the rest of the book because the players don't get to continue using the same characters if they survive and if they do die the mission is still a success.
  • A Wizard Did It: A rather outrageous example ofthis in "Worst Games I've Run." The players are suddenly and mysteriously covered in non-magical tattoos. If they ask an NPC about it, the NPC suggests that they might have come from a bush. As Ben clarifies, the bush is non-magical and there is given absolutely no reason for why a bush would give people tattoos.
  • Word Salad Title: The title of the channel doesn't seem to have anything to do with what his videos are about.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit:
    • Trixie Starbright throws herself down some stairs and breaks her own arm to cover for her friends returning to the boys' dorm, but describes her "attacker" with features shared by her rival for Class President.
      Trixie: It's hard to think anyone would do that! I just— I don't want to go spreading rumors or anything.
    • Ben does this again with his Detective Clancy character, who happens to be disguised as Trixie Starbright, when he is interrogating a prisoner. Since the prisoner is blindfolded, Ben uses his character's voice mimicry ability to fake beating up himself if the prisoner doesn't talk, and it works.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • In "D&D Story: The Hero of Parnast", when a rural village leader asks the party to hunt game for a feast, the party's tiefling automatically assumes the village is a Cannibal Clan.
    • Due to Ben's bad habit of having his NPCs constantly betray the players they become overly paranoid and conclude that Ottie Otterton is an evil mastermind.
    • Boshak sees several statues lining a hall and immediately jumps to the conclusion that they're Animated Statues which will ambush them. He destroys one only to find out it was just a statue, at which point Boshak feels a little depressed at destroying a piece of history.
    • The Shenani-Guys assume the baron of Vallaki's law that nobody shall speak the name of "the devil" is just part of him thumbing his nose at Strahd politically. It's not until part 10 that they realize since this is a classic horror module, Strahd has the ability to scry on anyone who speaks his name which they have been constantly saying.
  • You Meddling Kids: This line (followed by listing all the weird pets the party had collected) is used by the villain in The Hero of Parnast Part 2 and Too Many Pets
  • You Don't Look Like You: Ben is a tall, skinny, black-haired guy. But for some reason, he uses an avatar that's short, fat, and brown-haired.

Alternative Title(s): Puffin Forrest