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Hail and well met, welcome to Counter Monkey. I am your humble storyteller Spoony, and I am here to tell you of my own epic adventures of the past, so that you might laugh... and maybe learn.

Counter Monkey is a Web Video series hosted by Noah Antwiler, also known as The Spoony One, from The Spoony Experiment. In this series, Spoony recounts various stories from his Tabletop Game days and offers helpful tips and tricks, both as a player and as a Game Master, for others. It also features recordings of regular weekly Pathfinder sessions played over Skype, based on the Kingmaker adventure path and starring many of the same players from Spoony's Campaign.


The name of the series comes from Spoony's days of working at a tabletop gaming store. "Counter monkey" was the employees' name for people who would hang around the front counter, tell long rambling stories about their characters and campaigns, and leave without buying anything. The concept originated as a blog and a WordPress site before becoming a video series hosted on The Spoony Experiment.

The series can be viewed here on YouTube.



  • Aborted Arc:
    • The Pathfinder campaign was effectively cancelled as a result of Spoony leaving Channel Awesome.
      • Even within the session this ended up happening; the character Gustave apparently had an extensive backstory along with a plotline that would involve clearing his name and avenging his family's murder. For much of the early campaign, Gustave acted as the leader of the group, and was clearly meant to be important. He ends up dying in the second session, during the fourth combat encounter the group faces, bleeding to death after being mauled by zombies.
    • The plan for Spoony's group in his Thieves' World game was for Tempus Thales to be The Team Benefactor, setting them up with missions and loot and eventually taking over the city with them and making them his lieutenants. A well-aimed flask of acid quickly derailed those plans.
      • A sequel campaign fastforwarding to the Baysib's conquest of Sanctuary was considered, but never came through due to a combination of the players going separate ways and the original campaign already having a satisfying enough conclusion.
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    • The dragon scroll plot from Shadowrun: The Code got aborted when the party tripped the alarm and, rather than doing the sensible thing of grabbing the scroll and bolting, they turned it into a senselessly brutal hostage situation that ended with Spoony having to pull the Cyber Psycho Squad note  from the Cyberpunk series to wait in ambush in the sewers and kill most of them and grievously injure the rest.invoked
  • Accidental Truth: Tandem the Spoony would boast of being 'the Greatest Swordsman in the World' just as part of his Awesome Ego character and it wasn't intended to be serious. When a sword specialist got offended by this and repeatedly got him into duels in an attempt to disprove it, though, Tandem managed to always beat his opponents by sheer luck, effectively becoming the Greatest Swordsman in the World. In the live session where he brings back the character the streak continues, all of his rolls are insanely good.invoked
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In "The Dirtiest Book in the Game", Spoony admits that the mini-story the Book of Erotic Fantasy uses to illustrate the Lawful Neutral alignment actually made him laugh out loudnote .invoked
  • Adaptational Villainy: Tempus Thales in the Thieves World campaign, never a bastion of virtue in the original stories, reaches a new level of vile when he publicly rapes a woman to death.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Accidentally averted in the Thieves' World story when Spoony misidentifies the gender (and domain) of the deity Tempus Thales is the avatar of, referring to the deity as "basically the goddess of rape and murder", who commanded Tempus to kill people and rape women to earn her favor.
  • All Men Are Perverts: A possible reason Spoony suggests for the fact that even experienced players fall for obvious traps in "Beware the Woman, For They Come From Hell".invoked
  • Alternate Continuity: He recommends doing this for any adventure set in an established continuity, such as comic books or television shows, because the DM will be able to freely change whatever aspects of the setting they wish. This solves several problems, mainly players familiar with the work calling out the DM on fudging facts about the setting, and the DM can counter players trying to be Genre Savvy by using their knowledge of the work to influence their decisions when their characters don't know what the player knows. He notes in a game about Babylon 5 that it didn't happen often, but if a player tried to use their knowledge of the show to influence decisions, he would turn it Wrong Genre Savvy by going against their expectations.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Any woman interested in sex, according to "Beware the Woman, For They Come From Hell." Spoony advises against using this in a game if you're the GM, partly due to Unfortunate Implications and partly due to how predictable it's getting. Spoony says that if you're going to use a sexually-forward woman in your campaign at all, you need to either play on this predictability from your players or make the plan revolve around subverting their expectations.invoked
  • An Aesop: At its core, "Shadowrun: The Code" is basically a lecture on The Golden Rule (which Noah calls "The Code"). He explains this using baseball as a metaphor: If a batter hits a home run and then smugly watches it go over the fence before running the bases, he's just blatantly disrespected the pitcher, and should understand that the pitcher is going to nail one of his teammates with a fastball as payback for him being a prick. Likewise, the main story is about a Shadowrun game that went off the rails because the players acted like violent sociopaths for no good reason, turning what should have been a routine robbery into a needless bloodbath. As payback, Noah sicced a nigh-unwinnable boss encounter on the players when they tried to escape, killing several of them and (one hopes) teaching the players a valuable lesson in the process.
  • And That's Terrible: After relating the tale of the Toilet Pizza, wherein Spoony had a player take a bite of a pizza he found behind a toilet that was so stale it had become hard as stone, Spoony said "But honestly, that was like the worst thing I've ever done to somebody... because that was horrible. That was really bad."
  • And the Adventure Continues: "Tandem's Last Ride" ends with Tandem and his party sailing off to explore unknown worlds.
  • Angrish: During the Thieves' World campaign, nemesis Tempus Thales is about to give a public address announcing a price on the party's heads, but he's still so furious over being hit in the face with a vial of acid that he winds up pacing back and forth for several minutes muttering incoherently before he can bring himself to speak.
    • This was also essentially Crazy Mike's reaction in "The Jedi Hunter" when Spoony first demonstrates the titular character's techniques via lighting his Sith Lord on fire.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The Dragon from the D 20 Live ConBravo campaign. The DM intended for it to require an army to defeat, it was hyped up throughout the campaign, and a four player party kills it. Moreover, one of the players is incapacitated for two turns after drinking poison, and the Dragon not only fails to hit any of the players, but it ends up falling flat on its face. invoked
  • April Fools' Day: 4/1/2013 featured a video where he continues a story from a long-previous video, which turns out to just be a retelling of Army of Darkness with Spoony in the place of Ash, masquerading itself as an interview with Gary Gygax. He purposefully accentuates all the things someone could dislike about his show, he swears often and nonchalantly, he tells Oreo to be as disruptive as possible, suddenly reads from the NC-17 cut of the Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo movie from The '80s starring David Warner as the Zorcerer, an RPG that requires owning a different, rare, expensive, and likely otherwise unrelated book, cost Spoony over 400 dollars, and has images of naked children, which he of course cannot show. He then tries to show the camera the pages tiny text, so as the audience can read it, while shaking the book. At the end he claims that Crazy Mike, the DM, died. He was struck by lightning indoors, leaving only some kind of green gelatinous blob, then leaves, saying he's going to masturbate furiously to a stuffed dog toy.
    • The moral of the story is; have a character with a high intelligence and an alchemy skill, and you can figure out the recipe for gunpowder.
  • Ascended Meme: Two years after The Squirt Gun Wars, Shadowrun 5th edition core book includes squirt guns for DMSO, as well as chemical protection modifications for armor to protect against it.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: He will often talk about something, then start going through his sourcebooks to find what he's referring to so he can show the camera, only to be distracted by something else he's seen while looking through the book and start talking about that instead.
    • He's started bookmarking topics that he plans to talk specifically to prevent this, but if something occurs to him mid-episode he will still take some time searching for it.
    • Taken even further in his Epic Rant. As the title implies, it's a meandering (but entertaining) four part mess of topics, starting off as a discussion of super hero role-playing games, then going on to discuss things like Call of Cthulhu or Babylon 5, ending on Spoony talking about a video game based on The Lord of the Rings.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Spoony really likes quoting the phrase "become king by his own hand" from the ending crawl of Conan the Barbarian.
  • Awesome, but Impractical
    • In Age of Manure, Spoony warns against specializing in exotic weapons, as most DMs will not think to have things like Halberds, Nunchucks, Double Hammers, or similar as loot at the end of a dungeon.
    • In "Dem Bones", Spoony notes that some dice may look cool, but some of the dice he looks at are hard to read or shaped in a way that they don't roll properly. Spoony thus argues that it doesn't matter how cool the dice look if you can't use them in a game. Spoony also doesn't like electronic dice, though he admits he might let players use it in the matrix of a Shadowrun campaign due to being thematically fitting.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: In "The Age of Manure", Bennett the Sage says that the D&D character he played when he was 13 was named Scythe Goemon.
  • Awesomeness Is Volatile: In "Dem Bones" he relates the story of a player who rolled an oversized D20 die that rolled to a stop and then split apart. The DM didn't see the number but pronounced it a crit, because "if you roll so hardcore the die explodes, it's a crit!"
  • Badass Decay: In-Universe, Spoony criticises DMs who don't play monsters intelligently from the POV of the monsters in "Circle Strafe". When DMs don't play them intelligently from the POV of the dragon, instead just doing it to provide an encounter for a party in a way that lets them all attack the dragon and often weakens the dragon in other ways. Spoony believes a dragon should always be a Final Boss and shouldn't be degraded in this way.
  • Badass Normal: In "The Jedi Hunter", he recounts when he joined a Star Wars game, but didn't want to be a Jedi like everyone else. So he thought about what a non-Force-sensitive character could do to fight someone like Darth Vader who can deflect blasters and similar weapons with lightsabers and the Force (Spoony notes that this was before the prequel movies came out, so many pieces of media like Knights of The Old Republic that nowadays show how to beat a Force-Sensitive didn't exist yet). He reasoned that the best strategy would be to use weapons that Jedi can't block or deflect, as well as rely on the predictability of the other players and the DM, Crazy Mike, in the Force skills they likely haven't taken. In the end he created a Jedi hunter armed with dual armor-mounted flamethrowers, an armor-mounted electric net launcher (the net being capable of knocking people unconscious), a deck-clearing blaster (which he describes as a blaster shotgun), smoke and stun grenades, and he's rigged the hallways of his ship with explosives. He deals a Curb-Stomp Battle to two Sith Lords, blows up a third, and completely incapacitates Sith and Jedi alike at once, pissing off DM Crazy Mike with his antics. He also had additional weapons that he'd utilize in later fights, including spore-based tear-gas grenades that had a small percentage to kill instead of stun.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Deconstructed in Laundry Day at the Tower of High Sorcery, wherein Spoony expresses confusion over why anyone would devote their live to maintaining neutrality. His argument is basically that if you consider keeping the balance to be a desirable thing, doesn't that make acting to keep it a good act in your eyes, and therefore you should view yourself as good?
  • Balance of Power: In "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad", the Lancea Sanctum and the Invictus formed this in the LARP, with the other factions either too small to pull anything (Circle of the Crone) or lone stragglers forced to join their ranks (Ordo Dracul and Carthian Movement). By the time Spoony joined, they had stopped doing weapon checks altogether, confident that nobody would pull a stunt or upturn the system...
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • The players of "Vegan Steve & The Djinni of Jengai Fomogo" sought the eponymous Djinni to wish away a curse that would turn them into beasts.
    • Manure golems in "Age of Manure" turned everything they touched into manure (or fellow Manure Golems, post-edit).
  • Ban on Politics: Spoony says that if political conversations start in the games he runs, he flat out orders the players discussing it to stop, since those things rarely end well.
  • Batman Gambit: In "Die a Hero & Die Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain," how Strahd manipulated Sir Stark (Spoony's paladin) into working for him, playing the To Be Lawful or Good card by reminding him that innocents will die if he didn't act.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Encouraged in "The Bardic Knock Spell" as a way to get past obstacles without resorting to violence or sneaking. Comes with a warning that the DM will probably only let you get away with it once.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Spoony attests that stealing from the party is so effective a button it can work as a railroading device; it doesn't matter how inconsequential or cheap the items stolen were, the party will probably be furious and want to track the thieves down so badly they'll follow whatever lead the DM gives them.
    • Spoony promises that he will leap across the table and strangle you with your own lungs if you bring hard-to-read dice to his table.
    • He gets really angry with people who complain about dice rolls when determining stats, saying the numbers for stats are not what make a good character. "3d6 in Order" is all about how much it bugs him, along with a demonstration of a book that can make a good character build without relying on the stats.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad". Victory for the Carthians, bitch.
  • Big "OMG!": In Shadowrun: The Code, Spoony replicates his reaction to the Villain Protagonist Stupid Crooks deciding to Prove I Am Not Bluffing by killing their hostages.
  • Bleached Underpants: In "The Dirtiest Book in the Game" (discussing the Book of Erotic Fantasy), Spoony points out that while the list of adventure hooks all have something to do with sex, they're fairly mature and seriousnote  and not at all explicitly pornographic, and thus could be easily be used in a "vanilla" campaign.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • In Age of Manure, Spoony warns against specializing in exotic weapons, it's better to go with swords, daggers, bows or similar "boring" weapons because DMs will use magical or enhanced versions of those as loot at the end of the dungeons.
    • In "Don't Be That Guy" and other videos, he says it is the simplest thing in the world to carry a club, it's a big wooden stick, even a tree branch lying around can be a club. But you'd be amazed how often it comes in handy, especially if skeletons show up.
  • Born Lucky:
    • Vegan Steve. Out of a shuffled Deck of Many Things that has 11 good cards and 11 bad cards, he draws 11, and the first 10 are all good cards.
    • Spoony himself when playing his bard character Tandem the Spoony, as seen in "Tandem's Last Ride" and "The Greatest Swordsman in the World" (at the start of the D 20 Live ConBravo segment - or, for that matter, the ConBravo campaign itself). He consistently wins battles that on paper he would be expected to lose, just because his rolls are always so good and the enemy's are so bad.
      Big Mike:note  What is it with you and your fucking character?
    • Spoony proves himself to be this again in Nightstake, when he rolls straight tens on six 10-sided dice to stake Invisible Jason's Assamite Ninja vampire with Celerity through the chest with a thrown sharpened police nightstick; the odds of this succeeding being literally one in a million. Spoony still got it.
      Assamite: (staring down at the nightstick poking out of his chest) Fuck, that was lucky.
  • Born Unlucky:
    • The "Botchamania" video features an entire Spycraft party whose attempts to board a train resulted in two team members dying thanks to their rolling several Critical Failures in succession. And this was even with Spoony trying to help them out by fudging things in their favor, giving them extra chances to succeed, etc.
    • Spoony's friend Crazy Mike, who failed to connect a to-hit roll in two months, and that's while Dual Wielding, which doubled his number of to-hit rolls.
    • The Black Dragon Final Boss from the ConBravo D 20 Live 2012 game. First he misses with his breath weapon, misses his bite, misses one claw attack, critically fails with the other claw and then collapses face first onto the ground, while the party kills by hacking away at its spinal cord.
      Big Mike:note  I am the unluckiest dragon in the world. I had cannons shot at me and now everyone's hitting my spine!
    • Similarly, Linkara botches almost every roll in the D20 Live session.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The only conceivable reason Spoony can derive for a minotaur player disregarding the tenet of "Thou Shalt Not Fuck With the Lady of Pain." Spoony Out-Gambitted the player by putting him into an And I Must Scream scenario with a one hundred-thousand-mile long hallway.
  • Break the Cutie: Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad really reads like this, both for his character and him as a player. He played a Carthian with poor combat but good utility skills so as to be a friendly, helpful character, in hopes of socializing more with the other LARPers. When his character is jumped and kidnapped, he's actually optimistic and excited about it, thinking this was a special adventure for the newbie, having previously been worried about being ignored as a side character. His hopes are then crushed as his character is tortured with a blow torch and made a slave of the much less friendly vampires that make up the bulk of the LARP, and he proceeds to bomb them all to hell in revenge. Spoony admits he reacted poorly to the railroading, though still considers them to have been out of line.
  • Brick Joke: In the ConBravo 2012 D 20 Live game, Spoony's character makes sure to steal a bunch of glasses from his employer, crush it and put it in a bag, before his party goes on their mission. Later, when they encounters an ogre-like beast, Spoony's character shoves the team's tank out of the way to attack the monster, with the sack of crushed glass to the face.
  • Bullying a Dragon/Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Spoony advises against players doing this to the DM. If the player pointedly tries to make the DM angry, or to derail the story, or plays in a way that they know annoys them, the DM will start to fight back, and they will win. By contrast, playing cleverly and intelligently but going along with the story and having fun will make the DM happy that their campaign is being enjoyed, and they will repay the kindness if the players need it by helping them out or sending good loot their way.
    • In the ConBravo D 20 Live game, the party eavesdrops on a massive, but wounded, black dragon. And as it begins to fly away, Tandem the Spoony insults the dragon, prompting it to come back down.
      Spoony: Excuse me... Seven hells you're one ugly lizard... Hey, yo, Puff! Why don't ya come down here and see what a real man's made of? If... you've got the guts.
    • Essentially what the Minotaur player was trying in "Don't Fuck With The Lady of Pain". He wanted to use his racial ability to find his way in mazes to, indeed, fuck with the Lady of Pain. Spoony Out-Gambitted him by sending the Minotaur into a "maze" that was a straight hallway, a hundred-million miles long.
  • But Thou Must!/Stupidity Is the Only Option: Discussed in "Beware Women For They Come From Hell", when he says that even if a player knows that any food they're offered in the game is poisoned, getting on the boat will result in being attacked by aquatic monsters, and that the woman giving them the quest will turn out to be evil, they still have to go along with it because otherwise the adventure would end there.
    Spoony: There's a point where you have to ask yourself, "do you want to play D&D or not?"
  • Butt-Monkey: Jinx the gnome druid in the Pathfinder campaign, as played by Pushing Up Roses, on account of the character having an intelligence score of 9.
  • Catchphrase:
    • When something bad happens; "You're fucked! You're just fucked!"
    • When a player or DM makes poor gaming decisions; "By the way, if you're <that thing>, you're doing it wrong."
    • Describing a character with an unconventional play style as "Not that kind of (X)."
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Tempus Thales in the Thieves' World campaign. He was intended to serve as reinforcements for the heroes, only for the heroes to win the battle before they arrive. Consequently, the heroes mistake his audible approach to be reinforcements for the cultists they just defeated, and... well...
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Inverted. In the Thieves World campaign, the players mistook the sound of the cavalry to that of their enemies and reacted as such, unwittingly inflicting Facial Horror on their employer and running the campaign Off the Rails.
  • Character Alignment: Naturally, he repeatedly discusses alignments.
    • "The Prisoner Dilemma" is an hour-long discussion of this, starting off with the titular dilemma: after massacring their way through a cave of orcs, your heroes find a bunch of orc women with orc babies, guarded by the last few orc men. The guards throw down their weapons, surrender, and tell your heroes "You win! We no want fight! Take what you want, and go!" What do you do with them? Let the arguments begin.
      • invoked Other topics in the video include ways to interpret alignment (Spoony notes he had a Lawful Good villain in a campaign who acted like a Knight Templar), why characters of conflicting alignments might disagree and possible solutions, how strictly a DM may make players adhere to their alignments, and more. He mentions that alignments are both the best and worst part of D&D.
    • invoked In another video, Spoony discusses his dislike for the Chaotic Neutral alignment. A Chaotic Neutral character has no regard for good or evil, no respect for law and authority, and will do what they want, when they want, for whatever reason they want. For this reason, Spoony feels like Chaotic Neutral is a cop-out alignment for players who want free reign to do as they like without having to get into an alignment argument.
      Spoony: This is probably gonna come up: "Why'd you burn down the orphanage?" And they'll go, "eh." (shrugs his shoulders) I can't argue with that!
    • invoked "Where Have All the Lawful Goods Gone?" is, naturally, about the Lawful Good alignment. Spoony relates how he really doesn't like people who think playing a Lawful Good character automatically means being Lawful Stupid, saying that you can "just play a Paragon", and you've got the right idea. He also notes the ways that things could be pretty easy for a Lawful Good character, even if they aren't very dramatic. Spoony brings up an example of needing something from the local lord or city guard; since you're probably Famed in Story as a Lawful Good hero, you can just ask to borrow whatever you need and you'll probably get it.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: He mentions this trope in the Thieves World video, when describing his thought process during the aftermath of the acid-in-the-face incident. The example he uses is that if your jugular vein is cut, it will most likely be fatal regardless of how many hit points you have or how much damage the cutting weapon normally does. This reasoning, combined with the fact that it's very much in character for the god Tempus is the avatar of to refuse to heal him if he gets utterly humiliated in battle, caused Noah to ultimately decide that that flask of acid to the face, which would normally do trivial damage to somebody as high level and overpowered as Tempus Thales, would instead horribly disfigure him, cause him immense pain, and change the course of the entire campaign.
  • Cliffhanger: Part one of the "Apocalypse Stone" episode literally ends mid-sentence, and that sentence is "This is kinda where the story really gets interesting..."
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Gary, who knew the game's rules but never could show up on time for any number of reasons, including one occasion where he left the house, then realized he forgot to put on pants.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture/Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: In "Shadowrun: The Code", one of the players takes a guard who lost his leg to another PC's Dragon's Breath rounds and punches him in the wound while demanding information. Needless to say, Spoony was horrified.
  • Combat Pragmatist: "Circle Strafe" covers how various enemies, particularly dragons, would and possibly should use their natural advantages or intelligent tactics. Why let Conan whack you in the shins when you can circle overhead and blast the party with your breath weapon, particularly those pesky ranged combatants? Other thoughts include lizardmen attempting to sink a boat instead of board it, and hobgoblins (who are military-grade combatants) using such formations as a phalanx or a shield wall.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: He expects this of players who are playing evil-aligned characters. Even if a character would normally run off and leave people for dead, Spoony wants them to have "that moment" when they have a moral epiphany, turn around and go help the party. In a similar vein, he wants evil-aligned characters giving their party an assurance that "I'm going to be evil except to you guys."
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Discusses this as the big draw of the Cyberpunk spin-off Cthulhupunk. In the usual Cthulhu stories, weapons are of course useless against a Great Old One, but that's in the early 20th century, while Cyberpunk is in the 21st century. What happens when all the enhanced cybernetics, energy weaponry, genetics research, and other technological advances of the time are used by characters to battle a Great Old One? Only one way to find out, but whatever the outcome it's going to be badass.
  • Corpsing: Despite not being scripted, Spoony still does this. He even anticipated it during the review of "The Book of Erotic Fantasy", and he certainly couldn't stop chuckling when describing the "Rod of the Erotic Body".
    • In the "Age of Manure" video, you can hear Spoony's brother Miles (presumably operating the camera) start laughing when Spoony acts out Hinsty David's creation of the Manure Golem (specifically, right after he says "Look what I did!").
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Sir Stark, Spoony's paladin in "Die a Hero & Die Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain", suffered from this when Strahd gradually manipulated him through Batman Gambits and playing the To Be Lawful or Good card over and over, gradually turning Sir Stark into his equivalent of Darth Vader (though Spoony didn't describe any evil acts Stark did).
  • Compelling Voice:
    • The Caterpillar in "Tandem's Last Ride" was using this to secretly alter the party's alignment, though Tandem caught on and broke with Countersong.
    • The Ventrue in "Nightstake" used his Presence and Awe abilities to this effect, salvaging a severe Masquerade-breaking fiasco by diverting the majority of investigating cops away from the scene.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Martin/Brendan, the wizard of the Thieves' World campaign. Spoony describes him like Batman; he would prep massively devastating spells in advance, he knew how to disguise his nature (including wearing a shield that served as backstab protection), and he made devastating alchemical grenades for when he needed to act quickly.
      • Especially during the big final battle, where he spent time going around the rooftops of the city, laying out the elements needed to cast powerful spells like Fireball, so that when the time all he had to do was trigger the spell, then Parkour'd to the next building and do it again.
    • "Don't Be That Guy" evolves into Spoony advising players to be this. If you need to cause a panic to evacuate a building, have something that will create smoke or a bad smell, have utility spells like flying and walking on water, when fleeing from enemies or stopping charging enemies, bring caltrops or use a Grease spell to disrupt their movement. Bring sacks if there's something you might need to carry but it's too heavy or you don't want to touch it, and empty bottles to carry liquids. Bring multiple types of weapons in case you run into a monster that's resistant to one type, like the various types of undead. On the final note, Spoony reflects he's known players who carried with them a blunt weapon, a slashing weapon, a silver weapon for lycanthropes, a magic weapon (or spell to make a weapon magic), and a cold iron weapon for fey creatures.
    • Spoony's "Jedi Hunter" character. Not only did he get pretty much every weapon he could effectively use against Jedi and Sith, including dual flamethrowers and an electrified net launcher, but he also installed remote controlled explosives in the corridors of his ship just in case he ever needed to "get rid of" Force-sensitive intruders.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Spoony calls it "being That Guy" as described in "Don't Be That Guy." Don't be the pyromaniac wizard loaded with fire spells who will thus be useless against fire monsters, don't be the fighter with the rapier who tries to kill zombies by stabbing them, etc.
    • Also, in "The Problem With Superheroes":
    "What will you do this turn, Cyclops?"
    (dry & detached) "I shoot it with my Eye Beams."
    • Spoony and Sage discuss this trope when talking about the double club, including that if you find a magic weapon, it's probably going to be a magic sword, a magic shortsword, magic bow, a magic longsword, occasionally a magic greatsword. But you'll never come across a magic double sword, a magic glaive, a magic poleaxe, or any of the exotic weapons, so don't expect to find one if you specialize in such weapons.
    • This is partially why Spoony's "Jedi Hunter" was so effective - the party, and consequently their opponents, had pooled practically all their skill points into lightsaber combat and completely neglected stuff like precognitive sense and energy absorption that would hinder (if not completely negate) his Badass Normal tactics.
    • Matthew the "Thief" placed most of his ranks into tumbling and pickpocketing. This made him effective at stabbing people but as for every other practical purpose a thief had, he's not that kind of thief.
  • Cycle of Revenge: In "Thieves' World", the party resort to what Spoony refers to as "The Chicago Way" - when Tempus Thales and the Stepsons start using brutal tactics to suppress rebellions in the cities, the party escalate to even more brutal tactics against the Stepsons.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: invoked Discussed in "Vampire - Spoony's Jihad". Spoony dislikes the new Vampire setting because all the tribes are some measure of evil bastards who want to conquer the world, massacre the innocent, or both. He is a believer in playing good guys in a game, and when there's no good guys to root for and everyone is evil, he finds it difficult to get invested.
  • Deal with the Devil: Vam the Digger unintentionally did this after his leg was cut off, prompting to drink werewolf blood and sew his leg back on, hoping the regeneration would fix him. Thanks to Gameplay and Story Segregation and how the Dark Powers of Ravenloft would permit it because It Amused Me, it worked and he survived the battle, though eventually the werewolf blood took its toll and the party was forced to put him down.
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: During the D20 Live Campaign, Spoony told a story of how his group was captured and put in a gladiatorial arena. The other party members, sick of Tandem constantly boasting to be the "Greatest Swordsman in the World", made sure he was put in a fight against the champion, a huge gladiator armed with a massive club. Tandem managed to cripple the man's right arm, leaving him unable to use his weapon, and then danced around him whittling his health down to nothing.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Tandem the Spoony once was ascended to be God of Travellers, though he was Brought Down to Normal after Zeus found him banging his daughter and chucked him off Mount Olympus.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Attempted in "Thou Shalt Not Fuck With the Lady of Pain" where one player creates a character build with the specific intention of pulling thisnote , only to get Out-Gambitted by Spoony in a bit of quick-thinking as GM. Spoony even name drops Cthulhu when describing the Lady.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Bards in early editions of D&D, as detailed in "It's a Long Way to the Top if You Want to Rock & Roll". It took a ridiculous amount of effort, including high statistics (including four 15s) and a specific class progression (fighter for five levels, thief for the next five, and then druidic tutelage to study magic), having an (at least partially) neutral alignment... and that's even if the DM allowed this, since the combination of fighting, thieving, and magic was considered a Game-Breaker back in the day. The entry requirements exceeded that of Paladins, which is what inspired Spoony to take that path with Tandem.invoked
  • Dirty Coward: Discussed, Spoony thinks this is the best type of villain to use if you want a recurring antagonist over a series of campaigns. If the villain actually tries to confront the party, the party will either refuse to back down and lose, or they'll get lucky and kill him before you want him to die. Making him a coward that flees from danger solves that problem, as long as you have a foolproof way for him to escape like a Teleport Ring or hidden passage.
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: Frankly you're lucky if he stays even remotely on topic, besides jumping into background, setting mechanics, and other stories in the setting he can also jump into completely different topics with no connection at all; for instance the Dragonlance discussion started on AD&D's Ninja class. The most extreme is the set of The Trouble With Superheroes, If You Stat it They Will Kill It, Because He's There, and Hey Fatty, Let's Go To Mordor! which are all just one multi-hour ramble that got cut up for time. He starts off talking about superheroes, moves on to talking about Darth Vader and Cthulhu, and then ends on Lord of the Rings.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: As a corollary to the above, he describes The Lady of Pain as this, since under no circumstances should you fuck with her, and if you do she will either straight up kill you, "maze" you or generally fuck back. As Spoony put it, "The Lady Of Pain is you lose."
  • Double Weapon: The double club and other impractical weapons from the "Age of Manure" video. Spoony and Sage come up with a bunch more at the end of the video.
  • Draw Aggro: If a character is Lawful Stupid, and calls enemies out directly, Spoony says to just let this happen, so the other players have an opportunity to sneak around while the first player is drawing attention.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • "Tandem's Last Ride" - one hell of a ride with a lot of trials and losses, but concluded with enough treasure to pay for the resurrections and an interdimensional ship that Tandem, wanderer that he is, could use to travel endlessly.
    • Likewise, the Thieves' World players who earned their victory over Tempus Thales. Though in this case it was more "earn your Bittersweet Ending", as several members of the party died, and they had to abandon virtually anything resembling morality to achieve even a partial victory.
  • Enemy Mine: The Shadowrunners of "The Squirt Gun Wars" become such a nuisance that the Mega Corps unionize to fight against them.
    • Spoony also states that this is one of the few justifications of having a Token Evil Teammate, where said teammate is willing to cooperate with the group primarily out of hatred for the villain due to some personal slight of some sort.
  • Escalating War:
    • The "Squirt Gun Wars" ended up as this by way of Lensman Arms Race, going from mere squirt guns to sprinkler drones, aerosolized grenades, and water cannons.
    • The Thieves' World campaign mutates into this after going Off the Rails, the heroes using every brutal trick in the book to fight back against Tempus' elite forces.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: During "Tandem's Last Ride", when he realizes Compelling Voice is at work and uses Countersong to drown it out and save everyone.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In "So You Want To Be Evil" he says this is the reason why he thinks the only way you could play an evil character in an RPG group is if the character was Lawful Evil, since while you're still evil you still have some lines that you won't cross.invoked
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Discussed in "Dungeon Mastering a Great Game". Spoony is a big fan of roleplaying and doesn't like when players address each other by their race or class, I.E. "Elf, go identify that magic item" and "Thief, go pick that lock". He discusses causes for it and how you can avoid it in your RPG session:
    • Some players have difficulty getting into character, or they find roleplaying uncomfortable, or they haven't loosened up around a group of strangers yet.
    • Players not taking an interest in other player's characters or, conversely, a player making a Flat Character not worth being interested in.
    • He recommends giving your character a memorable name, while warning against using an overly-long and hard to remember name. Why remember a name loaded with syllables that takes eight seconds to say when you can point and say "Hey, Thief"? He notes that elves are a frequent offender here.
    • He recommends giving your character an In-Game Nickname. It builds opportunities to build character and roleplay.
    • He actually does it himself in "Shadowrun: The Code" when he tries to remember which player took a Dragon's Breath-loaded shotgun to a simple B&E job and ended up blowing off a security guard's leg and laughing about it. Spoony briefly chastises himself, then changes his mind and says that a Jerkass that big doesn't deserve to be recognized by name.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Dungeonland, a Dungeons & Dragons module based on Alice in Wonderland, along with other modules penned by Gary Gygax. The GM for the game recounted in "Tandem's Last Ride" buffed up the enemies to provide a challenge for the higher-levelled player characters, but the Mad Hatter and March Hare were still fairly high-level in the original module.
  • Evil Is Cool: invoked Deconstructed in "So You Want To Be Evil"; when the big question of "why do you want to be evil" arises, the answer inevitably boils down to "I want to behave in a manner that would be disruptive to the party/campaign". Spoony explains that either you want to be a Stupid Evil Sociopathic Hero who does evil things because they can, or you'll play a relatively benign evil character like a Noble Demon in an Enemy Mine situation, but you'll become The Friend Nobody Likes that will always be suspected of betraying the party because of your alignment. Personal biases aside, this is a major reason he discourages playing with evil alignment.
  • Evil Wears Black: Discussed in "Laundry Day at the Tower of High Sorcery", where graduates of the titular tower wear white, red or black robes to identify themselves as good, neutral or evil. Spoony brings up that unless you have mental instabilities or are already known as a bastard, he doesn't understand why someone would advertise themselves as evil and thinks it would be more pragmatic to try and play it cool to trick people easier. In this particular story, he doesn't see why even someone who was aware they were evil would wear black robes to advertise their alignment and intentions to others.
  • Executive Meddling: Spoony thinks this was in effect in the book for "The Apocalypse Stone". To summarize: A devil who's pissed off at the party sets it up so they enter a friendly-looking tavern and eat some pork buns (or rather, LONG pork buns); however, the text encourages the DM to fudge things so the players don't actually eat them. The fudging doesn't make sense (and would actually make the players more suspicious) and completely contradicts the rest of the story (which has the devil leave a note for the players where he reveals the buns' "secret ingredient"), so Spoony figures an editor threw in the text as an "escape hatch" without the original writers' knowledge.invoked
  • Eye Scream:
    • In the campaign based on Thieves' World, the players enrage and humiliate Tempus Thales so much that he skull-fucks an NPC to death in retaliation. Even Spoony himself was horrified when he did this.
    • At ConBravo, Tandem the Spoony threw crushed glass into the eyes of a giant opponent.
  • Facial Horror: Tempus Thales in the Thieves' World campaign. Not only does he take acid to the face, but the goddess he serves revokes his regenerative powers until he redeems his utter humiliation, and because the PCs continually foil his plans to do so, she makes it worse!
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • The reason the alarm was set off in Shadowrun: The Code was because the adept opening the exhibit, while he did notice and disable a trap before proceeding, assumed that was the only trap and didn't check for any other potential triggers.
      • Specifically, the Adept disabled the pressure plate that the scroll he was supposed to steal stood on. What he didn't disable was the security alarm wired to the door to the exhibit the scrolls were stored inside.
    • As stated in "If You Stat It, They Will Kill It", one problem some players have is that they will read the stats of the Cthulhu they wish to punch out, but fail to read what said opponent can do to them. He then recounted an early D&D story where the players were dedicated to defeating a fairly weak deity, the god of the Slaads; they were strong enough to take down the god itself, but they didn't realize that he was a Flunky Boss that could turn the tables by summoning a small army of Slaad allies.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In "Because He's There", Spoony emphasizes the futility of trying to kill Cthulhu. Even if you endure the inevitable sanity loss and survive Cthulhu's unavoidable mass feeding... he's just going to revive ten minutes later. Even nuking him won't do any good, since it just means he'd revive ten minutes later both angry and radioactive.
  • Famed in Story: Spoony discusses this in "Where Have All the Lawful Goods Gone?" The whole video is essentially ways of reconstructing the Lawful Good Character Alignment, and all of the advantages it gets; people will believe what you say, you get to earn fancy titles and names, and if you need something from a lord or city guard, you can just ask for it and they'll probably give it to you. Plus, a Lawful Good character tends to be The Hero in the story.invoked
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: A minotaur Player Character in "Thou Shalt Not Fuck With the Lady of Pain" did, indeed, fuck with the Lady of Pain, purely on account of a Bragging Rights Reward. He wanted to get mazed so that he could use a misremembered racial ability (Spoony is a bit hazy on the details in the video, but in some editions, minotaurs can intuitively navigate through any maze) to find his way out. That didn't help him when the maze turned out to be a single, hundred million-mile long hallway. Furthermore, the Lady of Pain's pocket dimensions are impossible to die in.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Bards in early editions of D&D, as detailed in "It's a Long Way to the Top if You Want to Rock & Roll". You might laugh at the notion of a feather-capped troubadour being a threat, but you're Underestimating Badassery if you do, for the bardic path is Difficult, but Awesome. There's a reason why Tandem the Spoony was the greatest swordsman in the world.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident/Tampering with Food and Drink: The Toilet Pizza fiasco. Spoony found a pizza behind a bathroom stall's toilet, one which had been there so long that it had hardened like a rock. Spoony tricked someone into taking a bite of a slice, which he admits was a terrible thing to do.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In "Hey Fatty! Let's Go To Mordor!", he talks about how this is a problem with setting a game in a setting based on a book or movie where everyone already knows the story and who will turn out to be a bad guy. He suggests several workarounds such as having the adventurers' story happen at the periphery of the 'main' one, or a sort of Alternate History setting where some characters are different and people who turn out to be heroes or villains in the original may not be in this one.
  • Foreshadowing:
  • For Science!: Presumably why Hinsty David created that darn Manure Golem.
  • For the Evulz: How the Dark Powers of Ravenloft roll, as emphasized in "Die a Hero & Die Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain", permitting Gameplay and Story Segregation because It Amused Me.
  • For Want of a Nail: The eponymous "Leaping Wizards" encounter was supposed to have the full party of 6 with a Wizard, three Magic Knight Game-Breaker Clerics, a Fighter and a Thief, ambushed by three Level 1 Wizards armed with quarterstaves and with Magic Missile as their one spell. Spoony changed the spells because he knew the encounter was a joke, and the party laughed when he had the Wizards attack them. But by simply changing their spells to Sleep, Charm Person and Ray of Enfeeblement, and getting some lucky rolls, two-thirds of the party is put to sleep, one of the two left is Charmed to attack his ally (and subsequently knocked unconscious to stop him), and the last one loses enough Strength that he becomes encumbered and is unable to run as two of the Wizards surround him and start beating him over the head while the third attacks the sleeping party members and the Charmed party member is unconscious. End result, two of the sleeping party members end up dying.invoked
  • Fridge Logic/Fridge Brilliance: invoked Discussed by Spoony, encouraging players to think about the positive and negative consequences of doing so.
    • As just one example from "Don't Be That Guy", if you're a pyromaniac who's carrying ten flasks of alchemist's fire, and you botch your throw and drop it at your feet, think what's going to happen to the other nine vials you're carrying, because if your DM is an asshole, he will make you roll to see if they explode in your face.
    • In another video, he mentions that if the party is traveling near a body of water, do you really think the warrior in plate mail that gets pulled into the drink is going to be able to swim, or even stay afloat?note 
    • He also says that if the party catches a plot hole or a an inconsistency like this, just go with it and say "yes, that is strange, isn't it?" It will make them think there's a reason for that inconsistency, and even if there isn't and you've been caught, now that you know you can make up a reason to bring up later and tie it into the future of the adventure.
    • In "The Jedi Hunter," DM Crazy Mike is flabbergasted when Spoony's character busts out a flamethrower on a Sith Lord. Crazy Mike protests "but there aren't flamethrowers in Star Wars!" Spoony cracks that as he said that, Crazy Mike himself seemed to realize how dumb such a claim is, and corrected "well, there probably are, but we don't have game stats for them."note 
    • "Circle Strafe" is an In-Universe rant on how monsters, particularly dragons, suffer Badass Decay because DMs do not have them fight the way they would want to fight. Why would a dragon ever land and let the Warrior with the two-handed BFS swing at him? It wouldn't; the dragon is going to fly around nuking them with its Breath Weapon and other spells, because these monkeys dared to challenge it and it is not interested in fighting fair.
    • Comes up twice in rapid succession in the D 20 LiveConBravo 2012 vid. When Roo blasts the Final Boss (who has previously been shot up with cannons and powder rifles) with a fireball, someone in the audience brings up "is there gunpowder in the wounds?" After a mass Oh, Crap! from everyone pondering this possibility, it's decided that while there probably is, it wouldn't do much than just sting and crackle since it probably mostly burned up in the initial battle that caused those wounds.
    • In "Let's Split Up", he asks rogues what their plan is when, inevitably, they botch their stealth roll while trying to sneak into a place. The answer should not be "stand up and fight", because you're alone and will probably die. Have some sort of trick or strategy to get away.
  • Funny Background Event: Oreo occasionally pops up wanting attention from her master.
  • Game-Breaker: invoked Repeatedly discussed.
    • In "The Squirt Gun Wars", he discussed that the drug DMSO was one, as when mixed with other drugs and sprayed through a squirt gun, it caused those other drugs to instantly be absorbed through the skin, causing instant paralysis or death. The story then goes into how the titular Squirt Gun Wars began as Spoony, as the DM, fought back by trying to restrict their access to the drugs. When this failed he had the Megacorps unionize, arming their security forces with the same weapons. Then the two sides began coming up with increasingly creative and ridiculous ways to protect themselves from the enemy's squirt guns and finding ways to circumvent that same protection when the other side adopted it. Such methods included radio-controlled cars with water guns, sprinkler systems rigged to spray DMSO, grenades tied to balloons full of DMSO to aerosolize it, and at the point Spoony believes they realized how silly the game had become, an industrial-strength water cannon of DMSO.
    • In "Leaping Wizards", he explains that Clerics are this. They can cast any spell that falls within their god's sphere of influence (working out to dozens of spells), they don't need material components to cast most spells, they have decent HP and are good fighters, can use any armor, and can heal. The specialty Clerics the party chose worshiped Selune, which meant they got bonuses to hit and damage while fighting under a full moon, and had the ability to summon a sword made of moonlight which itself has bonuses to hit and damage.
    • In "The Jedi Hunter", where Spoony details how, upon entering a Star Wars game partway through with a part consisting of purely Jedi, he decided to make a non-Jedi character specifically designed to be able to go toe-to-toe with Sith Lords. As he recounts the story, it becomes very clear that the Jedi Hunter outclassed everyone purely through the fact that all of the characters were built for Lightsaber combat & nothing more, whilst the Jedi Hunter was given weapons that Lightsabers were useless against or capitalized on the lack of balance to the Force attributes. Spoony notes that it got to the point that the DM was specifically speccing the NPCs to counter the Jedi Hunter, e.g. he uses gas based weapons, so suddenly the Sith Lords were all wearing helmets or breather masks to render that tactic useless.
    • In "Know Your Role", he explains that there is no reason to not play a Dexterous Heel character, because they make winning so simple. When a wrestler is covered, the covered player rolls against Will, Strength, and Endurance, to kick out, picking a different stat with each roll until they fail all three and thus lose the three count. However, when you cover someone, you can hook the leg for an automatic +1 to the count, and a Heel wrestler can make a Dexterity throw to cheat for an automatic +1 to the count. Thus, if you're a Dexterous Heel, you can hook the leg and then cheat, giving your opponent a single saving throw to kick out, and if they fail, you win. Further, there is little penalty to failing the roll to cheat, so there is little reason to not try it every single time you cover the opponent.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Spoony discusses this in the Thieves' World campaign, where, at the end, a group of level 7 characters manage to defeat Tempus Thales; he acknowledges that within the canon of the novels that would never happen, but the players spent (real-world) weeks planning and setting up the battle and exhibited amazing teamwork and foresight, so he felt that they had earned that victory and let them have it regardless of how it broke with the novels.invoked
      • In the same video, he brings up times when gameplay and story do not get along. As an example, say a level 20 fighter wakes up in bed with an assassin holding a knife to their throat. In game terms, the player doesn't care, that knife does 1d4 damage and their fighter has 300 hit points. In story terms, the assassin has a dagger to his throat and there is no way a knife to the throat is not going to be fatal. Similarly in the Thieves World game, Tempus Thales took a flask of acid to the face; Tempus is a Physical God and in gameplay terms an acid flash is barely Scratch Damage to him, but in story terms, he just got doused in the face with acid, and there's no good way to take that.invoked
    • According to "Die a Hero & Die Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villain", the Dark Powers of Ravenloft can allow on a For the Evulz It Amused Me basis. Case in point, Vam the Digger reattaching his severed leg by sewing his leg back on after drinking werewolf blood. Mechanically, that would be a bunch of nonsense, but being in Ravenloft (a world based on the tropes of gothic literature), it becomes much more plausible.invoked
  • Genre Blindness: In the "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad" video, the GM pretty much had it coming when he let Spoony's character make Bathroom Semtex after just permitting his character into being brainwashed into being evil.
  • Get Out!: Spoony's reaction to a player who essentially wanted to play a child rapist in Vampire: The Masqueradenote . When the player insisted that he wasn't just Trolling and actually wanted to play the character, Spoony responded "Then you're really a freak and I really want you out of here!" This same player was the leader of the Villain Protagonists of Shadowrun: The Code, who slaughtered museum guards and blew up a city block because their faces were seen during a heist, in a setting where the characters could probably evade identification by changing their faces with plastic surgery.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Cyber Psycho Squad in Shadowrun: The Code, imported from Cyberpunk to deal a justified Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies to the hostage-massacring Villain Protagonist Stupid Crooks. All because they weren't smart enough to bring masks.
    • Spoony also says that the eponymous module in "The Apocalypse Stone" is this, considering how the campaign is apparently unbeatable and also not only destroys the entire setting its played in, but all other dimensions in it as well. In the video he describes an occasion he used it to kill some incredibly over-powered Player Characters.
      Spoony: The only reason you would ever need this is if your players are fucking gods.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In "Thou Shalt Not Fuck With the Lady of Pain," the minotaur player intentionally and successfully got mazed by the Lady of Pain... only to end up in A Fate Worse Than Death Ironic Hell.
  • Good Old Ways: Spoony's favorite edition of D&D ever was the second one. Many of his videos, particularly "3d6 in Order," make more sense when viewed as Culture Clash between different editions. He even admits that Honest Rolls Characters don't really work in later editions of the game, before continuing to explain just how much any other method of character creation irks him.
  • Graceful Loser: Invisible Jason could only applaud when he was hit by the eponymous "Nightstake" against astronomical odds.
  • Guile Hero:
    • The players of the Thieves' World campaign, playing so smart that they earned their victory in Spoony's eyes.
    • Linkara definitely was thinking on his feet during the 2012 D 20 Live ConBravo game — when they find their employer's daughter flirting with a suspect in the main quest, he convinces the guy they want to reward him for helping to find her, convincing him to come back to the employer's house with them. At the house, after the guy is knocked unconscious when interrogations go poorly, and the employer is furious they had done the same to his daughter, Linkara quickly corrects him by explaining it was the suspect who did that, they saved her from him. Also, he was the only player wary about the drinks the party was offered, though it didn't stop him from being drugged.
  • Hand Wave: In "Vegan Steve & The Djinni of Jengai Fomogo", Spoony intended the party to use the Djinni's wish to remove a curse that had been placed on them, only for Steve to throw it all Off the Rails by shouting "I wish for a Deck of Many Things!" After Steve was effectively killed and the party found his body, Spoony declared that the Fates card Steve drewnote  gave him a potion that would cure the curse, despite the fact that he had already used the Fates card to get away from the now-murderous party.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": In "Roll for Initiative, Jesus!", Spoony remarks that every D&D player giggles like a six-year-old when they learn about the Rod of Lordly Might.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Discussed in "Beware Women, For They Come From Hell", where Spoony gives it as one suggested explanation for why game masters tend to make every female NPC who appears in a campaign turn out to be evil.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The players of "The Squirt Gun Wars" got a taste of their own medicine when the Mega Corps unionized against them, using their own DMSO-spewing squirt guns... and hazmat suits.
  • Honest Rolls Character: Noah is a big proponent of these, saying that in the end, a character with truly random "3d6 in order" stats is much more fun to roleplay than one optimized through either the "4d6 drop low, assign at will" or point-buy system. He eventually made an entire video on the concept, appropriately titled "3d6 in Order." However, he ultimately admits that it doesn't really work for any version of D&D after Second Edition.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Tempus Thales. His Facial Horror at the hands of the party's hands eventually goes into Sanity Slippage territory thanks to being a Wound That Will Not Heal, his healing powers revoked by his master until avenging this humiliation. Even declaring martial law with the backing of super-elite soldiers fails to get the job done. While he kills two of them in the final battle (but not the one responsible for the Facial Horror), he is paralyzed by his sister and obliterated by the others. Lastly, by the time he'd revive from such annihilation, they'd be long dead and unable to suffer his revenge.
    • The Black Dragon in ConBravo 2012 D 20 Live game, also a Trauma Conga Line. First he gets shot up by cannons, upon his return he misses with his breath weapon (narrowly averting a botch), he gets zapped in the wings with two Lightning Bolt spells and is sent crashing to the ground, he tries two claw attacks but forgets to put the first one back down, resulting in him faceplanting and losing his armor class, he gets stabbed in the spine with a sword, takes an arrow shot to the same location, and finally dies when the sword still stuck in his spine is struck by lightning.
    • Along with (Physical) Trauma Conga Line, "Botchamania". When a player fails to land his athletics check to leap safely onto a moving train from a helicopter, he botches the roll and thus the landing. Spoony lets him roll to see if he catches himself three times, and he fails each time, traumatizing and breaking his arm before he finally tumbles off the train and barely survives in critical condition. Unable to continue without him since no one else had his level of skill, they retrieved him and tried to heal him, only to botch twice, breaking his neck the first time and killing him the second time. After their attempt to defibrillate him botches, the faceman is forced to try the leap, botches every roll, and the mission is over because two party members are dead and no one else has the skills needed to complete the mission.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Rankan prince from the Thieves' World campaign. He's technically Tempus Thales' superior, but Tempus is a Dragon-in-Chief who cannot be restrained even if the the prince disproves, like the Eye Scream incident. He doesn't end up doing anything direct to antagonize the party and is ultimately relegated to a bargaining chip during the final battle.
  • Inherently Funny Words: The names of the people involved in the Manure Golem backstory in "Age of Manure", Hinsty David and Mr. Mockingham, according to Spoony.
  • In Name Only: From "Spoony Gets Mazed", an electronic Dungeons and Dragons game. There's no roleplaying, there's no monsters or character classes, the players are expected to compete rather than cooperate to win, and there's no dice rolling of any kind. Spoony notes that it's only a Dungeons and Dragons game in the strictest sense of the word, in that it features a dragon in a dungeon.
  • Ironic Hell: See Do Not Taunt Cthulhu and the guy's punishment for attempting to scam the Lady of Pain.
  • It Amused Me: In "Where Have All the Lawful Goods Gone?", Spoony says that most people playing a video game with a Karma Meter (like Mass Effect) will do one of two things: a normal Lawful Good playthrough where they use their own morals as the basis of their character's actions, or a Chaotic Stupid run where they act like an asshole. He also says that people who complain about having a Lawful Good character in the party means "we can't have any fun" tend to have the mindset that Lawful Good automatically means Lawful Stupid.invoked
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Spoony jokingly lists "cake" among the various things the Apocalypse Stone campaign said the titular stone (not referred to titularly to the players) would grant the adventurers who obtain it.
  • Jackass Genie: In "Thou Shalt Not Fuck With the Lady of Pain", Spoony admits to being hardwired this way whenever players piss him off, deliberately construing the wish into something negative.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats / Master of None: Spoony describes his character, Tandem the Spoony as this; he liked the notion of Bards being competent at a wide variety of things without being great at anything. He notes that created problems when he was the strongest magician in the party at Dungeonland.
    That's a problem. When the bard is the reigning authority on all things arcane, and that bard is Tandem the Spoony... that's a bad thing.
  • Jerkass:
    • While the entire party described in "Shadowrun: The Code" qualifies, special mention has to go to one player in particular who seemed to go out of his way to be as arbitrarily violent as possible. When the group was making their escape, this player was the one to murder every last hostage in cold blood because "They've seen our faces". During a later Vampire: The Masquerade campaign, the same player created an Abberant Monsternote  character who fed on children while working for a Big Brothers/Big Sisters-type outreach program. At that point Spoony just told the guy to Get Out! because it was obvious he just wanted to Troll the campaign, but when he insisted that he seriously wanted to play that character, Spoony responded "Then you're even more messed up and I really want you to get the fuck outta here!"
    • The Legend of the Five Rings group Noah played with in "They Duel. It's What They Do" certainly seems to qualify. They convinced Noah to join their L5R game, and he explained to them that he didn't know the cultural norms of Japan in general or Rokugan in specific. When his character commits some faux pas (wielding a katana despite not being a Samurai, and not knowing proper procedure for Sacred Hospitality), rather than explaining things, the Crane duelist used this as an opportunity to challenge Noah's shugenja to a duel. Really driving it home is the fact that even after he'd won the duel, the Crane player gleefully kept rolling damage. It's unclear if they specifically set him up for the fall or simply saw an opportunity to screw with him, but regardless Noah's subsequent Rage Quit from L 5 R is quite understandable.
      • Interestingly, most L5R players would point out most Cranes aren't duelists. They're courtiers, which makes the whole thing look even more like they were either deliberately griefing Spoony or just as clueless on setting details as he was.
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: In "So You Want To Be Evil", Spoony presents this as his preferred alternative to Villain Protagonists. You don't have to be a goody-goody by any stretch of the imagination, but when the chips are down, you might walk, but in the end, you go "...goddammit!" and help out your friends despite your misgivings.
  • Jobber: "Ring Crew Guy" from Know Your Role Part 1, whom Spoony made with the explicit condition that he would never win a match. (Despite this, he still ends up as Tag Team Champion.)
  • Killer Game Master: Spoony laments that most of his sessions end with his players dying gruesomely. This is chalked up more to bad luck than evil intent, though Spoony has admitted that he's a "harsh" DM generally. However, this is due to him wanting the players to overcome a genuine challenge so they feel a sense of accomplishment for it. In a few stories Spoony averted this by actively trying to help the players when they were getting screwed either by atrociously bad luck ("Botchamania") or by one player going Off the Rails ("Vegan Steve & The Djinni of Jengai Fomogo").invoked
    • One thing he will not abide is players riffing on the campaign, whether he designed it himself or not. Nice knowing you, dicksmacks.invoked
    • In the "Leaping Wizards" video, he says that insultingly-easy encounters, such as fighting three first-level wizards with magic missile as their only spell, are just unfulfilling to the players. This leads to him modifying the above encounter by varying the wizards' spells, which ends up killing a couple of the player characters and led to Spoony getting kicked out of the RPGA.invoked
    • A genuine Killer DM, one Gary Gygax, designed Dungeonland, which is the focus of "Tandem's Last Ride".
    • And Spoony's appropriately-named acquaintance Gary (the "I forgot my pants" guy) was also one, with anyone who played in his campaign becoming resigned to rolling up a new character at least once per session.invoked
    • One party that did note  survive Spoony's campaign only did so by becoming a pack of sadistic, kill-crazy savages, even by Thieves' World standards. invoked
    • In Never Get On The Boat, Spoony claims all DMs turn into this if the players ever get anywhere near a body of water that gives them the opportunity to use all the "interesting" deadly aquatic monsters and races from the sourcebook they never usually get to use.invoked
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Vegan Steve ends up dying by pulling the Void card from the Deck of Many Things, an item he obtained by completely screwing the party over. Note that there are only twenty-two cards in the deck, half of them good and half bad, and he drew the Void as his last card out of 11, after his first ten cards were beneficial, and the tenth card allowed him to escape his furious teammembers. It couldn't be more laser-guided than that.
  • Lawful Stupid: "Where Have All the Lawful Goods Gone?" is a half-hour of Spoony berating people who think all Lawful Good characters are uptight assholes who murder people for jaywalking or tearing tags off of mattresses. Spoony contrasts this attitude by pointing out that most people play more standard Lawful Good characters in video games that have Karma Meters like Mass Effect and never even stop to think about it. Spoony also notes the various ways that Lawful Good characters have it easy, such as being able to just ask for things from the local lord or city guards. His point is that it's easy to play a Lawful Good character as long as you aren't the type who goes out of their way to be a dick to people (citing Mass Effect again, Spoony specifically mentions the decision to punch a paparazzo in the face).invoked
  • Leave No Witnesses: The players of Shadowrun: The Code turned into Villain Protagonists by executing everyone inside the museum, purely on account that they had seen their faces. It would have been so much easier to wear masks.
  • Lensman Arms Race: "The Squirt Gun Wars", where the introduction of DMSO (which allows any drug to be instantly absorbed through the skin) in Shadowrun leads to the introduction of lethal DMSO drug cocktails and an arms race of super soakers, hi-tech water balloons, sprinkler systems, and fire hoses.
    • Something similar (though at a smaller scale) happened in the story of "The Jedi Hunter" when, after getting destroyed by Spoony's Badass Normal character, the sith encountered by the party from then on began to adopt the same antipersonnel tactics and countermeasures that he used.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Discussed. Spoony says that in older editions of D&D, when the Wizard got one spell at first level and only 1D4 hit points, they suffered through it because they knew their patience and hard work would be worth it when the day came that they could start throwing fireballs and calling down ice storms.
  • Lord British Postulate:
    • Discussed several times, Spoony says this trope is the reason he's happy when RPGs don't stat the Physical God-type enemies that the party should not be able to kill, because if such an entity appears in the campaign and their strength is quantified, the party will inevitably try to kill them just to see if they can.
    • He appreciates that in the D20 Cthulhu, they make Cthulhu overpowered with unavoidable attacks, massive HP regeneration, and several abilities that allow him to deal a One-Hit KO to players with no saves, not to mention that if he is killed he regenerates in 10 minutes at full strength. But if you put him in the game the party will still try to take him no matter how suicidal it is.
    • When he put a cameo of Darth Vader into a Star Wars campaign just to add flavor, it quickly derailed as the party turned back to try and take out Vader, getting themselves killed for it because Spoony was not about to let them do it and they kept ignoring his obvious hints that he had escaped and they were wasting time.
    • Again in "Do Not Taunt the Lady of Pain" when a player tries to beat even this statless character by finding a way to overcome her ability to put you in mazes. Spoony specifically compares it to Captain Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru.
    • In "Roll for Initiative, Jesus!", he notes that the Bible-themed RPG doesn't stat out Jesus, presumably for this reason. On the other hand, when someone in the audience asks "Are there stats for Satan?", Spoony proves his own point by immediately heading to the index while declaring "Let's go get that son of a bitch!"; unfortunately, he wasn't statted either so the charge ends there.
  • The Magnificent:
    • In "Dungeon Mastering A Great Game", Spoony talks about how this trope can help make characters memorable and flesh them out, especially if the cognomen in question is particularly distinctive, using Game of Thrones as an example.
    • This is where his own alias comes from—his character "Tandem the Spoony" was so named because he wanted a cognomen that was a real adjective, but an incredibly obscure one.note 
  • Manifesto-Making Malcontent: Invoked by Spoony in regards to "Crazy Mike", whom he characterizes as a kind of guy you'd expect to be working on a manifesto, to illustrate how crazy he looked.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
  • Mic Drop: Spoony doesn't like the resurrection mechanics or death saves in D&D 5e. When he brings up that it's ostensibly to make the game faster, he brings up the rulebook for First Edition D&D, and reads from it: "When a character reaches zero hit points, the character is slain." He then drops the book and says "How's that for fast, motherfucker?"
  • Million-to-One Chance: In "Nightstake", Spoony explains that, in Vampire: The Masquerade, staking a vampire in the heart while in combat is extremely difficult to pull off. He further explains that throwing a stake into a vampire's heart from afar while in combat is nigh impossible, especially when that vampire is essentially a ninja with superior dodging abilities. And yet Spoony's character manages to do just that through sheer luck, without any fudging of the rules whatsoever.
  • Mood Whiplash: Immediately after describing the Eye Scream event from the Thieves' World campaign, he whistles to his dog.
  • The Moral Substitute: "Roll for Initiative, Jesus!" has Spoony examining a Christian-themed d20 System game. He notes that it largely sticks to Old Testament figures like Moses and avoids statting up Jesus, presumably because, as he jokes, the average adventuring party would try their luck at killing him just to see if they could.
  • Munchkin: A personal Berserk Button of Spoony's. He doesn't have much love for people who focus only on stat points for D&D characters and nothing else. "3d6 in Order" is all focused on character backstory and a book that uses die rolls to create one, which Spoony finds far more useful than Min-Maxing.
  • Mundane Utility: At the end of "The Dirtiest Book in the Game", Spoony mentions an AD&D campaign where he created a Level 1 spell that permanently enhanced womens' breasts, and had his Mage character make a living as a traveling plastic surgeon (as such); after the DM thought about it for a while, he responded "You are gonna be so rich..."
  • Murphy's Law: Discussed. Spoony notes that sooner or later, it will come up that a player botches a critical roll and something disastrous happens that may jeopardize the whole campaign. He advises DMs to have a back-up plan, even if you need to fudge things to try and repair the damage.
  • Nerdgasm: In "Never Get on the Boat" he claims that the idea of a zombie Loch Ness Monster in one of the sourcebooks gives him 'a weird boner'.
  • Never Split the Party: Discussed in the video of the same name, in which he advises following this trope. Rather than specifically landing on the logistical problems of running a game with a split-up party, Spoony instead focuses on the fact that splitting up the party is downright dangerous, for a multitude of reasons. He further notes that players often end up splitting the party anyway, even if they've seen plenty Horror Films and should therefore know better.
    • In specific, he briefly discusses the Dethklok campaign and the early incident where RolloT and LordKatnote  fell into a teleport trap...and none of the other players followed, which got their characters killed off by an encounter that was intended for all six party members.
    • Tragically reinforced in the "BABOON!!!" video, where Fidget, the Technical Pacifist gnome druid of the party, sneaked off in the night to go exploring while everyone was sleeping, only to get slain by Goretusk when she was too far away for them to hear her cries for help.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Discussed in "Leaping Wizards." Part of the fun of Dungeons & Dragons is going on a quest and overcoming a difficult challenge through teamwork and strategy; if the DM is going to go easy on you and let you win, where's the challenge, and therefore fun, in that?
    • This is Noah's attitude towards DMing in general; he admits that he can be tough at times, but strives to be fair and wants players to earn their victories rather than having everything handed to them on a silver platter.
  • Non-Action Guy: Linkara's archer/thief in the D20 Live game was an odd variation- his skills were heavily maxed, which not only made him a great lock-picker, but also meant he had great aim and always hit, but managed to botch all his damage roles and do only tiny amounts of damage with each shot
  • Not Completely Useless: "Countersong" is a bardic ability that allows the bard to mute over auditory magic. It is virtually never used and often forgotten about, since such attacks are extremely rare, but it saved Tandem's party from a Compelling Voice.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In "Beware Women, For They Come From Hell" he discusses how to induce Paranoia Fuel in players by using phrases like "You don't...see any traps" and "How are you opening this door?" when it turns out there really are no traps and nothing scary behind the door. But there might be next time! Additionally, have a farmer with a broken-down wagon, or a housewife who invites them to dinner, and have nothing happen; maybe the farmer really just broke his wagon, and the housewife is just friendly. He specifically says the DM can have fun with the players in the second example by telling them "her cooking tastes really funny", and they'll assume it's poison, but maybe she's just a lousy cook or used a spoiled egg. Once you start doing these things to them regularly, they will become paranoid and start seeing danger in everything.invoked
    There's a bomb under the table, and tension is when it doesn't go off.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Noah spends a good 15 seconds in "The Importance of Wearing Pants" reassuring us that he's not making up the story about the player who somehow left the house without his pants.
    • In "Shadowrun: The Code", before describing the guy who essentially wanted to play a child rapist in Vampire: the Masqueradenote , Noah reassures the audience that this really happened and isn't just an attempt at Black Comedy on his part.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: In "Cthulhupunk" he discusses the fact that players can take even very powerful enemies like Lovecraftian Eldritch Abominations for granted if they're used to them and know they'll be in the game. Instead he suggests not telling the players this, make them think they're playing a normal cyberpunk (or other) game and then throw them in without warning, and never name the beings, just give accurate descriptions of them—which is far more horrifying because of the fear of the unknown factor.invoked
    • Amusingly, one commenter said he does the same thing in games he DMs with Pokémon and successfully makes them sound like fearsome enemies.invoked
    • One of the interesting side effects of this is how the players interpret the descriptions without proper names. What would come across as a terrifying eldritch horror in one setting might be construed as "yet another corporate project gone awry" in a cyberpunk setting, although the oh Jesus what the hell is THAT factor is still in play.
  • Obviously Evil: His point about the black robed magic users in "Laundry Day in the Tower of High Sorcery." If robes are specifically deigned white, red, and black for good, neutral, and evil respectively, who in their right mind would wear black robes? Nobody is going to trust you about anything, including your fellow black robes, and if your alignment doesn't intimidate people into following your will, odds are they'll turn against you.
  • Off the Rails:
    • In "Vegan Steve & the Djinni of Jengai Fomogo".
    • Spoony himself does it in "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad". In a Vampire: The Requiem LARP, Spoony's character is railroaded and brainwashed by the other players. His in-character response? Making a bathtub full of Semtex and blowing up the Prince and every other vampire in a one-block radius.
    • Spoony's original plan for the Thieves' World campaign was for the PCs to slowly work their way into Tempus Thales' "favor" and assist him in overthrowing the city. Then one of the players impulsively interrupted the DM and unknowingly threw an acid flask at Tempus' face, rolling a Critical Hit. Spoony elected to let it happen and bent the rules so the acid permanently damaged Tempusnote , so the campaign turned into a horrific Escalating War of atrocities between Thales and the party.
    • At ConBravo, Big Mike's original plan was to have the party, upon seeing that the Big Bad was a Colossal Black Dragon, to go get an army of reinforcements. Instead, Spoony throws some insults at him and the Party ends up killing the Dragon without getting hit, much to Mike's surprise.
      • The game at ConBravo was technically off the rails from the very beginning, when the players flat-out refused to follow the Lawful Neutral alignments Big Mike gave them.invoked
    • In Shadowrun: The Code, what was to be a simple burglary rapidly escalated into a hostage standoff wherein all hostages were murdered, the doors were rigged were explosives, and the Villain Protagonists fleeing into the sewers and a getting horribly injured, if not killed by the Cyber Psycho Squad from Cyberpunk. Why? "They saw our faces."
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • The "Leaping Wizards" incident got him known around his community as the Leaping Wizards guy for a while.
    • The "BABOON!!!" video covers two from his current group (circa that video): the group's wizard for the eponymous baboon incident and Avery (an elf rogue) for being "Bride of the Wererat."
  • One-Hit Kill: Manure golems in "The Age of Manure" can instantly turn you to poop.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Averted in the "Vegan Steve" video, where he plays with three different Mikes, and has to give them nicknames to differentiate between them ("Crazy Mike", "Big Mike" and "Store Mike")
    • Played for laughs in the Thieves World story, where he mentions Matthew the thief, then suddenly gets frustrated at slipping and using the player's real name again, only to correct himself when he realizes Matthew is the fake name for the thief player; it was another player who had the real name Matthew.
  • Overprotective Dad: Zeus literally throws Tandem the Spoony off Mount Olympus for macking on his daughter.
  • Paranoia Fuel: He talks about how DMs can induce this in their characters in a number of ways: invoked
    • In "Dungeon Mastering a Great Game", react to players pointing out by continuity errors by enigmatically smiling and saying "Yes, that is odd, isn't it?", making them think there must be some dark secret behind the whole thing;
      • If a thief searches for traps and doesn't find any, never say "There aren't any traps." Say "You don't detect any traps." Because even if there aren't traps, they don't know that, and phrasing it this way allows the potential for there to still be some.
    • In "Swimming in Diarrhea is Bad", infecting players with diseases after they go to disease-prone areas like sewers unless they take the proper precautions.
    • In "Beware Women, For They Come From Hell", he says that one of the best ways to inspire paranoia in a party is to call attention to seemingly innocuous details, and yet have nothing happen, at least right away. One of the examples he gives is asking specifics for mundane actions; e.g. "How do you open the door?"
    • He advises players to be afraid of bodies of water because the reason they're in the adventure is so the DM can break out the aquatic monsters, and they will not waste the chance.
      "You see a lake, run fucking screaming from it, 'cause I don't know what the fuck is in there but it's badass, and there's gonna be a lot of them."
    • "Cthulhupunk" presents the option of Not Using the "Z" Word and simply describing what the subject looks like, causing the player to interpret the description however they wish.
  • Pet the Dog: In "3d6 in Order", despite advocating for the Good Old Ways of character creation quite a bit, Spoony also says that he wouldn't make someone play a character that they clearly don't want to play. Also, when using a character creation tome, Spoony notes that he frequently told people that they don't have to take really bad character facets, such as losing an eye in a prison fight. However, Spoony also says that in spite of this, people still frequently took them anyway, if only for the Rule of Cool.invoked
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Matthew from Thieves' World, who's "not that kind of thief."
  • Playing Against Type:invoked He advises players to do this; don't always be the wizard that looks, dresses, and acts like Gandalf, don't be the elf with a bow and/or two swords, etc. It makes play much more interesting and varied when players play classes in different ways and makes their characters more memorable. As an example, he recounts he once played an orc thief, and when another player laughed at the idea of an orc being a thief, Spoony responded by (in-character) clonking him on the head and robbing him while he was unconscious. Yeah, he might be a thief, but that doesn't mean he has to be stealthy and sneaky, thieves can also be petty thugs and muggers.
  • Poison-and-Cure Gambit: In the Shadowrun: The Code video, Spoony goes over the Shadowtech book and points to a substance called Carcerands, which is used to make a time-delayed release of a substance into a person's body. He said its a great way for a DM to force players to undertake a mission they ordinarily wouldn't accept. He also speculates it would be a great way for pimps and drug dealers to force people to work for them by giving them a temporary antidote which prolongs the time it takes for the poison to be released but doesn't get it completely out of their system.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Discussed in "The Trouble With Superheroes." Spoony notes that by their very nature, superheroes are not balanced, which creates problems when players want to play as their favorite heroes in tabletop and their power levels are all over the place. He further notes that, not only are individual powers difficult to balance against each other, but balancing goes out the window when a player has to roll to see how many powers they get, and if you roll low well too bad, your hero is gonna suck. Spoony specifically recounts a character he played that had two minor powers, water-breathing and some sort of super-sense (he believes it was hearing). He called him "The Poolboy," because yay, he can breathe underwater and he has really good hearing. Isn't he badass?
  • The Power of Rock: In "Tandem's Last Ride", Tandem The Spoony sings an Iron Maiden song to break the Compelling Voice effect of the Caterpillar.
    Countersong! Fucking Countersong!!
  • Prove I Am Not Bluffing: The leader of the Stupid Crooks in Shadowrun: The Code, after being called out on their "bluff" about executing prisoners and hurling them out the door, proceeds to do so. Twice in a row. Cue Big "OMG!" and the Godzilla Threshold being reached.invoked
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Spoony will periodically describe someone or something in a game as "BAD. ASS!" Lampshaded in Nightstake when he refers to the Gangrel Justicar of Phoenix as "BAD space ASS, capital letters."
  • Quirky Bard: Tandem The Spoony, one of Spoony's most notable player characters and the one that he took his online alias from. It should be noted that, in "Tandem's Last Ride", Spoony admits to naming Tandem after Edward from Final Fantasy IV.
  • Railroading:
    • When Spoony played a Vampire: The Requiem LARP, the GM forced his character to get kidnapped and brainwashed by the other players. This did not end well; see Off the Rails above.
    • In the ConBravo D20 campaign, the groups employer's daughter slips the players drugged wine. Linkara only pretends to drink but the GM has his character be knocked out by the fumes of the wine anyway. As Linkara pointed out, a tranquiliser that powerful should have killed the other players rather than knock them out.
  • A Rare Sentence: Lampshaded in "BABOON!!!" after mentioning the baboon bodyguard several times.
    I am saying a lot of sentences that you probably did not expect for the first time.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Spoony gives one of these to the GM of a Vampire: The Requiem LARP in "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad".
  • The Red Baron: Discussed — Spoony likes characters who have a title or some sort of nickname, even if it's one they hate, because it provides backstory and character depth, and makes them more memorable. As an example he points to A Song of Ice and Fire where most important characters have such things; the Kingslayer, the Imp, Lord Snow, the Spider, etc.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Recommends doing this occasionally in "The Bardic Knock Spell", named for how Spoony once, in order to get into a guarded building, just knocked on the door and whacked the guy who opened it. Spoony goes on to recommend this trope to other players — knock on the doors of dungeons and see if people answer and if you can Bluff them to just open the door, and walk into guarded areas and Bluff your way past the guards, because neither the GM nor the in-universe characters will expect you to be so audacious ("an enemy wouldn't knock"), but if you're good at Bluff, it'll work. However, he also warns that this is a pretty cheap tactic and should only be done now and then, if you do it all the time the DM will begin to get upset and turn it back on you, as well he should.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heapinvoked: Can talk himself into invoking this at times, when he initially hates something but then brings up reasons to like them.
    • In "Dem Bones", he dislikes electronic dice since of course you don't actually roll them and it takes several seconds for them to spit out a result. He says he would never let players use these dice, but after a moment notes if he was playing Shadowrun and a player wanted to use electronic dice when they enter the matrix, he might let them for the Rule of Cool.
    • In "Know Your Role", he says while flipping through an old-school tabletop RPG guide for a WWF game, he expected to hate it at a glance. Once he began reading the book though he began appreciating the originality and effort put into it, including a map of the arena and a table to show how long it would take wrestlers to travel between two points (such as coming to interfere with a match or save a partner from attack), how managers can influence a match even after it has ended, and mechanics to keep track of a wrestler's reputation with the crowd and how it influences their performance. Wrestlers can also film promos, and if their popularity is great enough, sign commercials and television dealsnote , allowing players having to manage their careers and not abstracting the business down to fights in the ring. He decided that while he would never play it, it is a pretty cool system as far as approximating a wrestling match in tabletop and allowing players to roleplay as a wrestler.
    • In "Roll for Initiative, Jesus!", he mentions how most people would probably just dismiss an RPG set in Biblical times without a second thought, expecting it to be either incredibly boring or incredibly preachy (or both). However, he points out that the Old Testament was actually pretty action-packed and could make for an interesting setting, and reading through the book reveals some rather cool-sounding character classes and monsters (like the Sin Dragon); when the audience expresses their surprise and amusement, he replies "I told you this book was badass!"
  • Riding into the Sunset: Referred to Tandem's last adventure as this.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • The eponymous "jyhad" of Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad.
    • What the Thieves' World campaign mutates into following the Facial Horror incident.
    • According to The Dungeon Master's Secret Weapon, stealing from the players provokes this, regardless of what the stolen item is.
      "They stole our boots! They're wearing our boots!"
    • What "Tandem's Last Ride" devolves into after the Mad Hatter's party.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: In Shadowrun: The Code, Spoony recounts that he had to kill off the entire party because the game had gone too far Off the Rails in a way that wasn't salvageable. He asserts that the DM sometimes must assert authority and reign the players in, if just to remind them who runs the game.
  • The Role Player: Spoony is unabashedly this kind of gamer, wanting to immerse himself in the story.
  • Running Gag:
    • "...I'm not that kind of thief!"
    • An unintentional one is Spoony trying to protect the identity of the people he's talking about by giving them aliases, only to forget to use them halfway through the story and only realise he's done it until after he's used their real names several times. For whatever reason, he didn't fix this in post by bleeping out the real names.
    • "I'm glad you asked that!" in "The Jedi Hunter".
    • He takes every opportunity to reference the "What's a paladin?" from Ultima IX that he ranted about in his review of the game.
    • The 2012 D 20 Live session gave us Spoony's "I've got this", "Birdman" Dodd conking people on the head and stuffing their bodies into a burlap sack, and Roo's pyromania.
  • Schmuck Bait: When talking about the Toilet Pizza, a couple times he said "And this is the point in the horror movie" where the audience shouts at him to stop and leave it alone.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Done unintentionally with the "Leaping Wizards" incident, which got Spoony booted from the RPGA for not adhering to their hand-holding methods, which he strongly disagrees with.
  • Secret Test of Character: Spoony finds that RPGs are like this, at least in the sense that "You learn a lot about people." In particular, how their thought processes work when caught in certain circumstances, especially how low they'll stoop and how quickly they'll do it. He says that Vampire: The Masquerade is particularly effective in this regard.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Invoked in "The Jedi Hunter" when he points out that his Badass Normal anti-Jedi tactics were clever and original at the time, but since that time lots of other people have come up with the same ideas and they're now commonplace in Star Wars canon.
  • Self-Parody: The April Fools Day episode, "Gary Gygax Interview". Title has nothing to do with the content, his atrocious memory combines an earlier episode (the Dungeonland one, which he realized after posting he got most of the details wrong) with Army of Darkness, stops halfway through for a pointless digression into another system, his ego is so out of control that he stops to say how he's the smartest gamer ever a few times, and he gives his dog specific instructions to be as disruptive as possible.
  • Serious Business:
    • "Dem Bones" is an hour-long video concerning types of dice players use, Spoony understandably noting various types of dice he hates due to being oddly shaped, difficult to read or otherwise unfair or obstructive to gameplay. More humorous is a few minutes he spends on how players roll their dice, calling out players who roll particular ways as pussies and encouraging them to roll with some enthusiasm and emotion. A follow-up video talks about dice cups and dice towers and his declaration that if you know a roleplayer, they make great gifts, and they will be the envy of their friends for at least a night when they bring them to their game.
    • "The Dungeon Master's Secret Weapon" is about how if you steal from the party, no matter how little it is worth or how insignificant it is, the party will go to illogical extremes for revenge.
    Party: Find these motherfuckers! Track 'em! Track these bastards! They're wearing our boots...
    Spoony: Well, probably not. Your feet are way bigger.
  • Shoot the Mage First: Spoony repeatedly discusses this trope since Wizards are the primary area-of-effect elemental damage dealers. Competent opponents know they are the biggest source of pain and should be dealt with first. He further advises players who are Wizards to not dress like the stereotypical Wizard to disguise their identity and avoid being singled out.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: Spoony ends up being extremely impressed with the WWF Basic Adventure Game due to this - the game is chock-full of little details that show it wasn't just a cash-in book
  • Slow "NO!": He said the players basically did this when they were told Tempus was about to get hit by one of the party members.
  • Special Guest: Bennett the Sage made a guest appearance in "Age of Manure" to talk about some of his own roleplaying stories.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: "An Entirely Miscible Episode": How Lance Stormshield, Spoony's first player character, went out, due to a one-in-a-hundred die roll for potion miscibility.
  • Square Race, Round Class: Spoony recounts in one vid that he played a half-orc thief. When another player in-character laughed at the idea and asked how someone as big and burly as a half-orc could steal anything, Spoony responds by clonking him over the head and robbing him while he's out cold. Thieves don't always need to be cat burglars, sometimes they can be petty thugs, and half-orcs are pretty good at being that. That player then admitted that was still pretty good thieving.
  • Squee!: Invoked in "Counter Monkey Punk":
    "When I read the words 'Cyberpunk 2077', I squeed. Nothing makes me squee!"
  • Squick: In-universe in "The Age of Manure". Spoony and Bennett are pretty disgusted at how much depth and story was put into establishing dogs who have magic poop that can be used to create golems that turn anything they touch into poop, and apparently they became an epidemic that made news around the world when they ran out of control.
  • Stupid Crooks: In Shadowrun: The Code, the players make some major errors early on (such as not doing recon before their break-in, not double-checking for alarms during it, with the Hacker even needing Spoony's advice to figure out where to go next), which led to things rapidly escalating. At least they did it at night.
  • Super Drowning Skills: "Never Get On the Boat" is part cautionary tale of reasons to avoid aquatic travel, part tips on how to survive in those circumstances, especially if you're likely to get pulled under.
  • Take That!:
    • "Circle Strafe" is a giant middle finger aimed at dragons fighting stupidly, doing things like landing on the ground and directly engaging the six guys with giant buster swords rather than staying at a distance and hammering them with breath weapons and spells. He specifically calls out "Skyrim not only for doing this, but for de-mystifying dragon battles, which he feels should be dramatic, epic, and Final Boss-tier fights every time.
    • During his review of D&D 5th Edition, Spoony spends a few minutes insulting the way later editions try to avert Final Death, complete with a mocking, sniveling voice directed at the players who can't handle the idea of their character even coming close to dying.
  • Taking You with Me: The end result of the Vampire: The Requiem LARP. If Spoony couldn't play his character the way he wanted, then no one would. Of course the GM just threw him out and ignored everything he did (which Spoony knew he would do), but it's the principle.
  • Theme Tune: The into of his more recent videos is accompanied by the final verse of Van Canto's cover of Blind Guardian's The Bard's Song (In The Forest):
    In my thoughts and in my dreams
    They're always in my mind
    These songs of Hobbits, Dwarves, and Men
    And Elves
    Come close your eyes
    You can see them, too
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: When recounting the Thieves World campaign, Spoony mentions that he decided to bend the rules and let the players "win" against Tempus Thales because they worked so hard over the course of the campaign.
  • Together in Death: At the conclusion of the Thieves World campaign, the other confirmed fatality besides Matthew was one player who had a romance with an NPC barmaid... the same one Tempus skullfucked to death. The player apparently invoked this, taunting Tempus to start with him.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Advocated against in "So You Want To Be Evil", since aside from players thinking Evil Is Cool, there is no in-character reason for a heroic party to trust an evil character, especially if there happens to be a Paladin or Cleric in the party. Spoony insists that if you must do such a thing, then your Evil character should loudly make a statement to all the other party members to the effect of "I may be Evil, but I won't be Evil to any of you guys", and then never break this rulevowun: The Code. They break into a museum to steal an artifact without having bothered to get a layout of entrances or exits, or the security system beforehand, and use the museum provided tourist map as if it were going to have secret entrances or exits listed, and when local security sees them, rather than simply smashing the case the artifact was in, and making a run for it, immediately start shooting, turning it into a hideously botched hostage situation when the cops arrive, and when they think they have a break, start executing everyone there, on the basis that "they've seen our faces." What makes it even worse is that this was apparently the plan from the beginning, since they didn't even bother to wear masks. All of this leads to Spoony having the cops call in the Cyber Psycho Squad, which leads to most of the party dying.
  • Too Many Halves: Inverted with Crazy Mike, who is described in "The Jedi Hunter" as being "Half-Keanu, half... half... Just a half-Keanu. He was a Point-Five Break."
  • Touché:
    • In the "Nightstake" video, Jason just clapped when his character got hit with a million-to-one attack, since such spectacular rolls, even for gamemasters, were so rare.
    • In "Dungeonmastering a Great Game", Spoony mentions playing a half orc thief, and the wizard player laughed at how such a huge person would pick pockets. Spoony's character knocked him out with his club and took his coin purse. The wizard's player agreed that was a pretty effective way to pick pockets.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: As the Thieves' World campaign shows, never interrupt the DM! Lampshaded by the video's original title (visible in its URL), "Poor Impulse Control".
  • Unfortunate Names: Hinsty David and his friend, Mr. Mockingham.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Surprisingly, a lot of Spoony's tales of old seem to be quite half-remembered. While the general story might remain the same, many details change already between the blog versions of tales like Leaping Wizards and the Toilet Pizza, he openly admits to having mixed up a lot of details in Tandem's Last Ride... Add to that some poor knowledge of certain books and modules (Castle Greyhawk was NOT written by Gary Gygax, it was a parody module written by Mike Breault and John Pickens, the D&D Rules Cyclopedia isn't an Original D&D sourcebook, it's a D&D Basic book), one really should be taking a lot of the things he covers with a grain of salt.
  • Villain Protagonist: The player characters of Shadowrun: The Code far exceeded Sociopathic Hero in their actions to be anything but. In "So You Want To Play a Villain", he advises strongly against this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In ConBravo D 20 Live, the DM, Big Mike, starts to lose it as the players beat the dragon. He was initially surprised and cocky when Spoony challenged the Dragon, before being irked that he was missing, before flipping out when he botched the roll, then staring in disbelief as the players hacked away. When Roo landed the final brawl, all Big Mike had to say was "FUCK!".
  • The Virus: In "Age of Manure", Spoony and Bennett edited the manure golems to be this, as the original's One-Hit Kill only turned people to regular manure, and now they turn their victims into more golems.
  • We Have Become Complacent: The elysium in "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad" considered itself so secure that the guards didn't even search for weapons. Big mistake...
  • We Need a Distraction: His recommendation for how to use a Lawful Stupid character's tendencies to help the party if he insists on doing something like issuing a formal challenge to a group of enemies in front of their fortress. Mainly, you sneak around and break in the back door while their attention is focused on him.
  • Wham Line:
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Discussed Trope in "The Trouble With Superheroes", when some of the superpowers you can get are really lame. He recalls a hero he played called "The Poolboy", who had the ability to breathe underwater and may have had a super-sense like hearing. That was it.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: An issue that can cause massive debates amongst players is "The Prisoners Dilemma", in which the players encounter (for example) surrendering Orcs and pregnant Orc women while dealing with an Orc encampment and are forced to decide whether to take them prisoner or to simply kill them. Spoony suggests that, for the sake of keeping the group together, the DM should probably avoid putting the players in this situation.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Spoony as DM recounts reacting like this whenever the player characters do something horrendous during the campaign, such as the later half of the Thieves World campaign where they became almost as vicious as Tempus Thales (who Spoony mentions is essentially the servant of the God of Rape) or in Shadowrun: The Code when one player began executing their security guard and janitor hostages because they'd "seen our faces" during what Spoony points out was essentially just a breaking and entering job.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: This trope is the titular issue he discusses in "The Trouble With Superheroes"; when a character only has one or two superpowers, the player playing as them becomes severely limited in their combat options and it gets boring. He specifically calls out Cyclops here, noting that Cyclops' only power is his Eye Beam, and if he can't use that for whatever reason, he's gonna be sitting the fight out.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: In the Thieves' World campaign, Tempus Thales would normally shrug off and regenerate the Facial Horror he received at the hands of the players, but because his patron goddess considers this lucky shot by a nobody a humiliating insult, she revokes his regenerative capabilities until he gets revenge. Cue Roaring Rampage.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the "Beware Women for They Come From Hell'' video he suggests having a female NPC hook up with a PC with no ulterior motive just to screw with Genre Savvy players.
    • In "They Duel. That's What They Do." he gets involved in a Legend of the Five Rings RPG. Trying to play it like a regular fantasy setting gets him almost immediately murdered by his own party for violating major social taboos he didn't know about. It's heavily implied they set him up, since he knew nothing about the setting and they wheedled him into playing anyway.
  • Zeerust: Discussed in "Counter Monkey Punk", when he compares what Cyberpunk 2020 foresaw for 2020 with the reality of 2012. Some predictions are surprisingly accurate, like the size and price of digital cameras, but others suffer heavily from Technology Marches On.invoked


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