Dungeons & Dragons has been the epitome of super nerdom since 1974, and I mean that in the best way possible. I'm all for something that is all about exploiting very constrictive rules for amusing loopholes, and pretending you are a Necromancer. I'll admit, my dalliances in D&D are sparse, but what I have experienced, I've immediately loved. And since in this day and age, nerdy stuff is creeping up out of the shadows and becoming more socially acceptable thanks to shows like Community or Stranger Things and celebrities like Vin Diesel, the internet can now openly start sharing jokes about some of the most ridiculous things they've encountered in the world of tabletop gaming. And you know what the internet's favorite way of sharing jokes and stories are? Memes.
So in my travels across the weird wide web, I noticed more and more threads where people were sharing some seriously funny memes about a subject that I thought only a niche section of the world enjoyed. But then I remember that the world has almost eight billion people on it, so even a niche of that is going to be a massive amount of people. So there was a whole untapped genre of meme for me to get behind because I forgot how huge the nerd community is. And once I started falling down that rabbit hole, I couldn't just keep these images to myself, no I had to pass on this craziness to you, my readers. So whether you are a long-time D&D fanatic, a dabbler like myself or just have a passing familiarity, I'm sure some of these will tickle your fancy.
43 What's In A Name?
For a game titled Dungeons & Dragons, you spend very little time in dungeons. Fields? Sure. Caves? All the time. Towns? You get lost in those for days, buying and trading useless baubles. But dungeons? Incredibly rarely. And dragons? I will be honest, I have never been a part of an adventure that had a dragon in it, and I’ve never witnessed one either. Dragonborn sometimes, which is a weirdly specific overlap between Skyrim and D&D but never a dragon. And now that I’ve looked back and realized I’ve never fought a titular dragon, I feel incredibly cheated. There should be a minimum of one dragon and one dungeon in every adventure.
Skyrim on the other hand is awash with both dungeons and dragons. Almost too many, if you ask me. It felt like you couldn’t take a simple trip to melt down some Dwemer metal without tripping over a dragon. And every third door you open seems to lead you into a dungeon, even if you are certain that the map said it would lead you to Whiterun. So I guess for people who love the namesake of Dungeons & Dragons but don’t have the patience to hang out with a group of people, Skyrim is a pretty acceptable substitute.
42 Hurry Up, You Nerds!
Many people love Dungeons & Dragons because of the huge level of immersion. It is a game that mostly runs on the unending power of imagination, so people visualize themselves in the world the DM has created. They interact with the townsfolk, find out any local gossip, maybe seduce some locals, pickpocket some guards simply because they can. Maybe the Bard puts on a concert in the local tavern simply that’s because what their character would do. They offer to help get a cat out of a tree, fix a roof, and enter a jousting contest, whatever. There’s so much to do in this world!
Some people are only here for the conflict.
Obviously the kind of player who creates a Dwarven Barbarian is intending on having an adventure full of violence. They are basically only suited for swinging an axe, so when they see their teammates enjoying all that geek stuff like role-play and immersion, it can get pretty frustrating. Which is actually the most immersive thing in the world, if you ask me, as every adventure party has that one person who is super bored with everyone else having fun and is just hanging around until the fighting starts.
41 That Hardly Seems Fair
Wizards tend to rely on their ability to cast spells versus the use of brute strength. They can throw fireballs, use healing magic, and summon stuff, whatever. They rely on their wisdom and intelligence to aid their party, while the the more physically adept run headfirst into battle, relying on the physical prowess to finally down the foe. Of course, all of that strategy goes out the window when the Wizard can give up on casting spells and simply turns into an enormous dragon. Suddenly the old, grandfatherly man in the corner is the most powerful person in the fight.
Shapechange is kind of a bunk power, if you ask me. Changing into the shape of an animal is one thing, because humans regularly hunt every animal there is, so obviously they have weaknesses. And you are trading in the abilities of one for the abilities of another. But for some hunchbacked, arthritis ridden old fogey to suddenly transform into any creature that flickers across their mind is clearly unfair to the rest of the party. Why wouldn’t everyone just become a Wizard? And yes, I understand that you can only transform into a creature equal to your characters level, but that simply means you let your party protect you up until the point where you could transform into a dragon.
40 Absolute Power Corrupts, Absolutely
I remember when I watched this scene in Adventure Time I needed to recover from laughing so hard. There's such a bait and switch in this moment, because Jake is such a pure and decent soul, but the moment he's given too much power over a bunch of wimps, he just transitions straight into a jerk. It's a pretty decent commentary on the fact that nobody knows how decent of a person they are going to be up until the point where they actually have the power to behave indecently. It's was true for Jake, who is an adorable rubber dog, and it is true of anyone who plays D&D. The moment you come across a scenario filled with weak losers who couldn't possible harm you in any way, you test the limits of morality.
You start pulling the stuff you wouldn't pull in a kingdom or with characters necessary to your quest. You'll either be hunted down by guards for being rascals, or you'll miss out on crucial information on how to find the secret waterfall or whatever. But a small village, where the people have no formal combat training and definitely don't know how to defend against Necromancy, well those people are ripe for the ruling.
39 No Take Backs!
I guess there’s an unspoken rule that anything that leaves your mouth in D&D can’t be taken back. I guess it makes sense for the sake of immersion, since if you decided to execute a sneak attack on a Gargoyle you can’t exactly take it back. If you could take back every stupid thing you announce, it would derail the whole rhythm of the game. So when the same rule that applies to the players applies to the DM, they need to be very careful about which words they let escape their mouth. So whenever they misspeak and give you more gold, or platinum, than they intended, the players would glob onto that opportunity.
The difference between gold and platinum in D&D is the difference between being paid your paycheque in Bitcoin versus real, human, adult monies. It is worth noting that the platinum piece is worth ten gold pieces, so whatever amount the DM meant to pay you is now times ten. Another weird thing about platinum pieces in the game is that they arouse suspicion whenever you try to complete transactions with them, which makes a kind of sense. It would be like if you tried to by a pack of gum with a gold doubloon.
38 The Power Of The Natural Twenty
We are living in a golden age of Internet, because half of all images online are of Jean-Luc Picard making a silly face. Some brilliant individual decided to combine that with pictures of Captain Sisko. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, for some reason Picard is playing D&D with him, and Sisko is the Dungeon Master. Oh yeah, as crazy as that is, Picard is clearly messing with his DM by trying to negotiate/convince a guard to strip down and cluck like a chicken. This is a classic move by someone who has had entirely too much nonsense from the DM, and needs to show them that they truly wield the power.
No Dungeon Master wants to see their carefully constructed storyline get dissected by a chance roll of a natural twenty. But no adventurer needs to see a DM who takes themselves so seriously that they suck the life out of every quest. So every now and then, you hope a natural twenty will help you make a mockery of everything that Dungeons & Dragons stands for. Because realistically, I doubt there’s anything anyone could ever say to a complete stranger in order to get them to strip and cluck.
37 Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover
For any of you who have watched Adventure Time you already know what a Lich’s deal is. They tend to be undead creatures who seek to prolong their life through unnatural means. Typically they are seen as enemies, since most people seek to upset the natural order of things for selfish reasons. Usually, when you encounter a Lich you are in for a fight with a powerful spell caster who has an unnatural longevity, because, you know, they don’t have any bodily fluids for you to rob them of through the usual stabbing means. Sometimes they can be psychic, which seems like a pointless addition to an already magic corpse.
But not everything is as it seems in this magical world.
In recent editions of Dungeons & Dragons, there has emerged an anomaly known as a Good Lich. These are spellcasters who sought to cheat their own demise for noble reasons, such as finishing a quest or protecting a loved one. So while the Evil Lich usually hangs out in a graveyard or tomb, doing gross, weird things and generally being a bad person with zero hobbies, the Good Lich would probably kick it in his favorite chair, rocking out near a cozy fire with some dope kitties.
36 That'll Teach You To Care About Anything
A reoccurring theme you will see in this article is that the Dungeon Master hates you. Even if they don't, and they give you clues as to how to best not get turned into screaming paste, they hate you. It is in their nature. When they see you enjoying something that is out of their control, they will do their level best to take it away from you. The made a whole world full of Mimics and useless potions, so if you start enjoying the game because you made a sweet Elf Cleric, they will resent you and try to take that away from you.
What sucks is that it can take hours to create a character in D&D, and it involves a lot of chance dice rolling, character back-story and maybe some hyper realistic sketches of your characters abs. In the process of creating this being, you have become emotionally attached, because humans are weak and pack bond with anything. And when this new character is suddenly and viciously ripped from their world by the uncaring hand of a merciless DM, it can feel like losing a loved one. It hurts doubly when the DM makes it a silly way for your character to expire, like they fall in a volcano or they are allergic to nuts.
35 Well, That Was Easy
A reoccurring theme you will notice in this article is the barely contained animosity between the Player Characters and the Dungeon Master. On paper, the DM is meant to create a challenging yet fun quest for the PCs, with balanced battles that will take a combination of strength, skill, intelligence, teamwork and imagination. In reality, many DMs will try to grind the team into the dust, but will do so in a way where they can feign ignorance, claiming that they must have overestimated the skill of the group they were playing with. After all, if the group becomes wise to the DM trying to destroy them, they will not invite that person back to be the DM, which would mean they miss out on opportunities to torture their friends.
The best way to get back and the vile and despicable DM is to render all of their hard work moot. If you can sense that the DM wants you to charge into battle against this giant frog thing, do the opposite and do an intimidation check. Rely on the pure luck of the dice. And if you manage to land a twenty, drink in the tears of the DM as they have to watch you walk right past the Frog King’s lair, a battle which they spent all night devising. Maybe take a frog egg for food later down the road, just to rub salt in their wound.
34 Happens To The Best Of Us
I think we've all been there. You're groggy in the middle of the night and for some reason your little tummy is grumbling. You get up, bleary-eyed, thinking you can navigate your way to the fridge to eat a pickle or something, stumbling through the dark and tripping on a cat, when you take a wrong turn. Whoops, you're in the pain dimension now, you silly goose. In your defense, someone shouldn't have left that portal there, but you knew about that portal beforehand, so really, you have nobody to blame but yourself. At least it seems like you've made a new friend.
Some of you might complain that this isn't necessarily a Dungeons & Dragons meme, firstly because it is more of a comic than a meme, and secondly, because it isn't a direct reference to D&D. To counter the first point, I'll point out that I don't care and the comic is funny. To the second point, I'd say that it features both a dungeon, or at least some sort of cavern, and a dragon. So I'm going to let this one slide on a technicality. Just pretend the lost dude failed a critical check for intelligence or something, so it doesn't ruin your immersion.
33 This Is Who I Am Now!
Although I’m next to certain that the term “Wild Shape” seems self-explanatory, for anyone having doubts, it’s a spell that lets you turn yourself into an animal, or what the game calls “beast form.” It’s a staple spell of being a Druid, and a fan favorite. Obviously, the drawback is that you can’t wield stuff, since most beasts lack thumbs. The plus side is that if you are a bear, you can maul people, which is such a huge plus I can see why you would have trouble giving it up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck on a bus with someone who listens to music without headphones and wished I was a bear, so I could maul them, or at least roar the into submission.
Because being an animal is so rad, and sometimes there aren’t limits as to how long you can stay in beast form, some players will opt to stay as an animal for as long as it suits them. This can be handy if you choose to be an eagle or something, since you can cover great distances, fly ahead to scout for danger, or climb up sheer mountain cliffs far easier than the rest of your party. You’d just hope the rest of your party is cool with carrying all your stuff.
32 Chance Has Other Plans For You
As much as you level up your character in D&D, so much of your interactions with characters revolves entirely around luck. Countless times throughout any play through you will need to roll varying amounts of dice with up to 20 sides. Your attributes will be tested by the Dungeon Master whenever they please, and you can fail rolls for Strength, Dexterity, Charisma, Wisdom, Intelligence and Constitution. You know this system is already weighted against you because someone higher up determined that Wisdom and Intelligence are different things. So you have a character with a fleshed out back story, which results in a life of hardships, giving your player a plethora of attained skills that will no doubt come in handy multiple times in this adventure.
If the dice let's you, that is. You'll tell the DM that you plan to do twenty-seven back flips over an Owlbear before landing in a victory pose and causing a freeze frame. They say you need to roll for Dexterity, and as someone who was raised as an acrobat in the fantasy world equivalent of a circus, your character should handle this no problem. But you roll and one, and the DM tells you that the Owlbear devours you midair and executes and even better victory pose than the one you were going to try to pull off.
Bonus points to this image for incorporating a Star Wars image. There's a surprising amount of overlap between these two fandoms, which I suppose makes sense.
31 I Can Take It
Depending on whom you ask, Meatshield can either be an insult or a badge of honor. A Meatshield is simply a term given to a character that has a lot of HP, meaning they can take massive amounts of damage without having to worry about being taken out of the fight. They usually give cover to the more delicate characters, especially the ones with healing abilities, since those are integral to keeping the whole team on their feet. I’m pretty sure the Goliath is the race with the highest HP, so combine them with the right class and a good suit of armor, and you suddenly have a walking tank that takes hours to be taken down.
They'll usually be the last one standing, unless they do their job right.
I can see why some people would be honored to be called this, since they are crucial to keeping the heart of the group, the Healer, alive. They are the big brothers, the protectors of the group. I can also see how it could be a derogatory term, since there doesn’t seem to be a lot of skill involved in standing in between an old person and a volley of arrows. I get that it’s a useful position, but really, what isn’t? Don’t get too high and might because you picked a race that is physically impervious to harm.
30 What's The Worst That Could Happen?
I think it’s a universal constant that people are wary of levers. If Indiana Jones or Ghostbusters taught me anything, it’s that levers are the root cause of most conflicts. I know that I feel a huge sense of unease whenever I have to pull a lever, not just because they are a vastly outdated form of activating or deactivating mechanisms. It’s because I have a lasting dread that everyone around me is trying to get me to fall through a trap door. That seems like a ridiculous fear, but if you met the people around me, you would understand.
Anyways, levers are really a game of chance in D&D which is already a game that relies far too heavily on chance. In many dungeons, castles or caves, you will need to activate a lever to progress further. If the DM is in a particularly nasty mood, they will lay out three levers, with the other two causing instant destruction. Other times, the lever will exist with no seemingly useful function, and that’s where the real mind games begin. Did the DM put it here knowing you have an insatiable desire for treasure? Will it drop a silly log on you? Or will it open a secret compartment that will give you unlimited wealth? It’s usually the log.
29 Who Has Time For Stealth?
Barbarians aren’t really known for the stealth abilities. They pretty much just go completely insane in combat and swing their axe in any old direction. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you have a Barbarian on your side, it’s a thing of beauty to watch them hack enemies to bits while you sit back and drink mead. They make quick work of most foes, and they bring a perfect blend of strength and speed into any battle, dodging what comes at them before cleaving a foe’s head in two. But Dungeons & Dragons isn’t all about battling, now, is it?
No, many areas require stealth, and if the DM expressly says that a mission is a stealth mission, it means that you are improperly equipped to fight any of the foes you encounter. This is good news for most characters, except for Barbarians. They are especially bad at stealth, and will usually be the one to alert people of your intrusions. Sometimes they won’t even do this by accident, and will instead overestimate their ability to take on the group of enemies. They will purposefully kick a skull in their direction, creating a huge, reverberating sound within the cave, and suddenly, you are fighting off 250 Lizardfolk that you were supposed to sneak around.
28 Who Is This Guy?
Dungeon Masters love putting a character like this in their adventure. You don’t know their race, or their class, and you don’t even know the allegiance. The fact that they keep to the shadows usually makes you assume that they are Chaotic Evil, but who doesn’t love to break tropes? This is someone who could very well aid your party for a little bit, and maybe they will turn on you down the road. That’s the beauty of the Shadowed Stranger archetype, they will behave in ways that only make sense to the DM, but they always add a taste of mystery to your adventure.
I’m pretty sure the standard thing to do is have this mystery person show up and give either an ominous warning or a cryptic riddle to the group. This is meant to anger the group and they will probably think they can attack him. Maybe you beat him, and he has some sweet loot, but only he knew how to open the tomb at the end. It’s standard fare that you are supposed to keep a level head around him and not let your negative emotions get the better of you. Or maybe he was evil the whole time and you were better off the take him out right away, who knows?
27 On Second Thought...
I think we have established by now that the DM is in no way your friend. They delight in your misery. Of course, I’m sure some of you out there are saying “I truly enjoy providing my friends with an enriching experience” and I’m going to call you a liar right to your digital face. The only fun you get out of the adventure is watching your friends squirm as they try to figure out a way to beat a seemingly impossible puzzle. You’re a lot like The Riddler in that regard, you sicko.
So whenever the DM offers you a piece of advice, you listen to it. They are still human, and they feel a small amount of pity for you when they see the enormous mistake you are about to make. About to pick up a talisman without saying the proper words to break the enchantment? The DM may give you a second to rethink your options. The DM is not in the business of providing people second chances, so to have them ask “Are you sure?” is like the universe stepping in and warning you that your shoelace is untied before you step on that escalator. You have done nothing to deserve this honor, so you had better take this opportunity and appreciate it.
26 By The Skin Of Your Teeth
I'm going to get this out of the way right now and point out that the person in this image is dressed almost exactly like Eleven from Stranger Things. I can't be the only one who sees that, right? I have no idea where the original source image is from, so if you know, feel free to inform me in the comments below.
Anyways, getting back on track, this is something I could relate to even before playing D&D. This is something any gamer can relate to who walks away from a battle feeling victorious despite the fact that they just spent the last 45 minutes being tossed around the room. I'll admit, though, the satisfaction in surviving in Dungeons is slightly larger than that of video gaming, since the Dungeon Master usually enjoys describing how badly you are losing.
That's where the true beauty of this game really shines.
The Dungeon Master, despite usually being your friend, or at least your acquaintance, kind of wants you to lose, or at least suffer. They designed this adventure, or are keeping it on track, and therefore it is only their wits that keep the players from marching straight into the end objective. So if their wits manage to wrap a tentacle around your throat and throw you through seventeen clay pots, they get a certain amount of satisfaction from that. And when you the player remember you have a golden apple in your inventory, and use that to stay one hp away from certain doom, you get to really boast about your victory.
25 Pick On Someone Your Own Size
Dwarves are pretty much the butt of every joke. Go watch all of the Lord of the Rings movies and tell me how useful literally any Dwarf is. Literally, every joke in the first three films is at Gimli’s expense, because he thinks he’s so tough despite being fun-sized and hairy. Barbarians in D&D are brutes who can fly into a frenzy of brute strength and savagery. When you combine the two you basically have a tiny package of muscular fury, and it would be ridiculous to actually see. I imagine it would be the fantasy equivalent of seeing one of those tiny dogs barking at a huge Great Dane.
Of course, this meme maker had to try to justify why it isn’t funny to see a tiny person try to fight the shins of a minotaur by pointing out that if they were to head-butt a normal sized person, they would probably bash into your groin. But honestly, if your whole justification for why you should be respected as a tough guy involves combining two cheap shots into one incredibly painful cheat shot, you are probably just probably giving everyone more reasons to think you are lame. Also, nothing screams “desperately uncool” more than the phrase “do not laugh at my rage.”
24 Time Is Funny
A good playthrough of D&D should be like a good movie or at least a streamlined video game. The boring parts take a second to glance over, and the pertinent information is shoved down your throat forever. So when you travel from some sunny, funny village towards to craggy mountains of Suffersphere, that little jaunt should take no time at all, with the DM giving a brief description of the landscape as it changes, as well as any resources you consumed on the way there. At most, you might pass a traveling salesman, or maybe the DM will covertly tell you to look at that inconspicuous tree over there.
But when the action starts, time slows down to a crawl. You are given ample opportunity to go through your inventory, discuss strategy with your teammates, and quickly go over your stats. All of the stuff you discuss out loud is supposed to be taking place inside the head of your character (I guess) so really you are all functioning at the speed of thought. Potions will be passed back and forth, healing spells will be thrown about willy-nilly, there will be a lot of flips, and of course, there will be so much dice rolling you will grow to resent them.
23 I Couldn't Help But Overhear...
These are memes I found on the Internet so you knew that there would be a picture of a cat. And guess what? It isn’t even the only one in this article. I’m not even sorry, either! Cats are cute and the universal language of the web. Look at that little guy’s face. He wants to know what you were talking about! That’s adorable! That’s a little nerd cat that is too shy to join in on the conversation about Dungeons & Dragons! Bless his little, fuzzy heart. Don’t tell me that if this guy asked to be your DM you wouldn’t let him.
A lot of the types of people who enjoy games like D&D tend not to be the most socially extroverted type of people. Which means that it can be extremely hard to get a party together to play a session, since meeting new people isn’t their forte, and they have since drifted away from the friends they had in high school which they used to play with. So when you hear two people in another room discussing one of your beloved hobbies, part of you desperately wants to go engage with them. Of course, another part of you is completely afraid of rejection, so you end up being half in, half out, like the little fuzzy wuzzy up there.
22 Take Me Seriously, Right Meow
Intimidation checks are awesome. No matter what you look like, whether it be a Wizard who is covered in brightly colored feathers or a shriveled half lizard humanoid, you always have the option to try to intimidate a foe. The logic behind this is to try to defeat them before the fight even starts. In the same vein as negotiation, where you try to reason with someone rather than risk a fight, intimidate can be used on enemies who can’t be negotiated with. After all, almost everything under the sun is able to feel fear in some way. So why not exploit that to save yourself the hassle of risking your rare HPs.
This becomes hilarious when you’ve gone out of your way to design as cute of a character as possible (it helps me escape from the fact that I am an unpleasant and boring looking human in real life.) So now you basically have the equivalent of a Muppet threatening intense bodily harm to a thirty story Flail Snail, and against all probability, this bluff works. You have now spooked a clearly superior enemy into uselessness, and if that isn’t a victory to be proud of, I don’t know what is. I suppose an actual fight, maybe.
21 Get Into Character
Anyone who has ever played Dungeons & Dragons in a group can tell you that there is always at least one person who gets WAY into character. If you’ve played and you’ve never seen this person, I’m sorry to say, you probably are this person. It’s understandable, the game is all about escapism, so if you are going to escape, why not jump in with both feet. It can be nice to get away from the real world for a little bit, because the real world has taxes and commercials and weather. I never blame anyone for setting aside a certain amount of time from their life in order to step into the shoes of a character, especially a character of their own creation.
You can sometimes see a complete transformation in a person.
Somebody can come in, meek and humble, very polite, maybe something of a pushover. And then they step into character, and they blow your mind. They become ferocious, unhinged, capable of anything. They may still be polite, but only to their teammates. When they meet a rude person in the game, they will be the first person to do a backwards hand chop to their throat to silence their offensive tongue. You’re suddenly glad you have the quiet kid on your team.
20 Be Prepared
Mimics are easily my second favorite monsters in all of Dungeons & Dragons. The first is obviously the Gelatinous Cube. It’s a cube of jelly that eats people. Not a blob, mind you, a cube, for reasons that will never make sense. Mimics, though, are the ultimate punishment for unchecked greed. Even in video games, Mimics are awesome. Remember that piano that randomly attacked you in Super Mario 64? That’s basically a mimic. Just a random piece of furniture that can devour you whole. If those things existed in real life, people would be a lot more fit because a lot more people would be standing. Or at least making their own furniture.
I guess the reason I love them is because when they disguise themselves as treasure chests, you can’t just walk away from them. What if there is an amulet in that chest that lets you confront the final boss? What if there are some sweet leather shoes? The potential for there to be something in there that grants you a huge boon is worth the chance of having your arm ripped off. I always wondered why more people didn’t just stab every treasure chest they find, just in case.
19 Here Is Where We Strike
In researching this article I discovered that ambushes are rare, and can be near impossible to execute. Since everyone in your party must hide successfully in order to not be seen by the unsuspecting rubes you are about to slaughter, everyone in your party needs to roll for stealth. This means that, for everyone in your party taking part in the ambush, they are one bad roll away from ruining it for everyone. This is a system I find somewhat unfair, but hey, I'm not the DM. Sometimes, you need to suspend your disbelief, especially in a game where you can seduce your way out of almost every scenario. If the game says that a dwarf wearing 250 lbs. of armor can be stealthy, who am I to question it?
What is realistic is that almost all ambushes will take place in an alley. I assume real life is like that since I base all of my assumptions on what has happened to Bruce Wayne's parents. So if at any point you hear the DM tell you that your party begins to hear voices approaching from the other end of a narrow alley, you know this is a prime set up for some sweet ambush action.
18 The Difference Between A Hero And A Fool
There’s a huge difference in what you can accomplish with a critical fail and a natural twenty. When you fail a roll, like rolling the one as seen in the image above, you will be as stupid as the DM deems you to be. Usually, they will come up with something that is so ridiculous you will need a few weeks to live down the shame. I’ve seen examples of a spell going so badly that it gave a disco ball sentience, and the disco ball ran away to a different dimension. The disco ball then sat in wait, and if any other spells were cast on disco balls, it would poof into existence and kidnaps them. That’s how silly a critical failure can be.
On the other hand, a natural twenty is pretty much a get out of jail free card. Anything you attempt will be successful, no matter how outlandish. Really, it’s on the DM for even allowing you to roll for the chance (they always have the option to say that you can’t do that, which they always seem to forget.) So if you bust in the door and claim to be the real king, the dice will make sure that everyone believes you. The good dice giveth, the good dice taketh away.
17 You Little Rogue
Human beings are a cowardly and indecisive lot. This is never more evident than when you are forced to create a character sheet for a new character in Dungeons & Dragons. There are a plethora of races to choose from, right off the bat. We have, in alphabetical order, Aarakocra, Aasimar, Bugbear, Centaur, Dragonborn, Dwarf, Elf, Feral Tiefling, Firbolg, Genasi, Gith, Gnome, Goblin, Goliath, Half-Elf, Halfling, Half-Orc, Hobgoblin, Human, Kenku, Kobold, Lizardfolk, Minotaur, Orc, Tabaxi, Tiefling, Tortle, Triton and Yuan-ti Pureblood. That isn’t even getting into the nitty-gritty of the subraces that some of those races can have.
You’re starting to get an idea of the level of choice you have.
After you’ve decided which race you are going to play as, which can be incredibly difficult due to some races looking way cooler and also having naturally occurring boons, you now have to pick your class. This is arguably the harder choice since the class will define how you help your group, since these will be your defining traits. You can choose from Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer and Warlock. So there will probably be a lot of hesitation when creating the character you are going to be stuck playing as for the remainder of the adventure, and that isn’t even considering when you later roll to see how high certain traits are. You’ll probably end up pleading with the DM to allow you to do a reroll if you ever roll a one.
16 But I Was So Careful
It's always important to remember that the DM isn't your friend. Maybe outside the adventure you guys are as thick as thieves, but in here, it is their job to make sure things go as poorly as possible. If an encounter calls for you to be stealthy and you roll a 1, you can bet your scabbard that the Dungeon Master is going to throw down a savage line like this to humiliate you. Even if the adventure didn't take place in China, your oafish bumbling has somehow alerted China through a rip in spacetime. That's how badly you can mess up whenever you fail a critical check.
I always find it so weird that there are so many Mulan memes out there. I remember when this movie first came out, and I saw it with the other kids, none of us were impressed. The songs weren't all that memorable and the jokes were sparse, or at least that's how I remember it. Now it seems that Mulan has a huge fanbase that loves creating memes out of obscure freeze frames from that movie. You know what, I'm going to credit this huge surge in interest in Mulan to a certain dipping sauce craze.
15 Aren't We All, Though?
I think anyone has worked a job they hate has felt this way at some point or another. We are just a passable person in the adventure of someone else’s story. It’s inevitable, since this is what keeps society going. Everyone you buy a burger from, or the person you pay when you buy gas, or the person you hold the door for on the way into Red Lobster, they are all NPCs in the story of your own life. Reversely, when you do your job without thanks, or just perform any menial task to the benefit of a complete stranger, you are the NPC in the sweet, sweet quest that is their life.
In a world that has this many people in it, it’s unreasonable to expect every person to be important to everyone else. Most of the people I pass in y life are just background noise, and while I note that they aren’t necessarily all that important to my final goal (becoming rich by writing a silly article) I also acknowledge that I am equally unimportant to their less awesome adventure. Although it can still be pretty soul crushing when you spend so much of your time in menial positions. But don’t get yourself down, all the best stories start with someone of little importance being thrust into a role they are unfamiliar with.
14 How Did It End Up Like This?
Most players go into a Dungeons & Dragons with the utmost of serious intentions. They create character cards with elaborate backstories, talking amongst their party as to potential strategies they will execute in the field, and all around prepping each other for a grand adventure. They help every sad NPC they come across, full of vim and vigor, setting out in search of righteousness. They would share their inventories, they would make smart decision as to what the environment is telling them, and they would use resources in an intelligent manner. They had all the energy of people who hadn’t been beaten down by the cruel whims of the DM.
By the end, they had been attacked by so many stupid enemies that everyone is almost at the end of their HP. They are short on food, half of all their armor has been eaten, and everyone is now trying to do things simply to annoy the DM. Everyone is too afraid to pull every lever, they are tediously leaving breadcrumbs so as to not get lost, and everyone is using their sneak skill. The monsters at the end of the adventure are mountain-sized, and all anyone feels is exhaustion and fear. All joy has been replaced by ridiculousness, cowardice and needless violence.
13 'Tis But A Scratch!
For you younger viewers, or older viewers who have had no joy in their lives, this is a scene from the classic comedy film Monty Python & The Holy Grail in which Arthur faces the Black Knight, Despite being amputated multiple times, the Black Knight insists they keep fighting, despite being at an obvious disadvantage. This movie came out at almost the exact same time as D&D so it's pretty miraculous that it would so perfectly capture how so many players would treat encounters in the game. Despite the DM telling you that the Gelatinous Cube has eaten away your legs, you will still be above zero HP and therefore still able to execute some actions.
This flies in the face of any actual reasonable fight, since people usually just lay day and cry whenever they have been grievously wounded. What they don't do is start rummaging around in their inventory looking for the perfect potion to throw at an adversary or a way to aid a fellow combatant. In games such as these, blood loss isn't a thing, nor is a pain threshold, so you can keep doing things despite the fact that you look like a mangled heap of putty and chain mail.
12 I Can Do Anything!
I'm next to certain that nothing good has ever happened after someone shouted: "JUST WATCH ME!" Usually, it will end with someone trying to jump a bike over a pool or something, but when you're in a magical land of animal familiars and rust monsters, the dare game gets ramped up into next gear. I assume the next series of events was the PC challenging the DM as to what rolls would allow him to pull off this stupid stunt. After a series of critical rolls, the PC executes the move, and what everyone has to visualize is exactly what Spider-Man is doing above.
What is even more hilarious to me is that if he wins in his seduction/wall climb, the exasperated Dungeon Master now has to describe how the Noble has been wooed. It involves some high nobility looking up, seeing a waving butt thirty feet in the air, and instantly becoming insanely smitten with the perpetrator. What the PC hopes to gain from this is anyone's guess. Maybe they are stealing a goblet at the top of a tower, and they intend to use the beguiled noble as a mattress when they make their hasty escape? Who can guess?
11 You're Not The Boss Of Me!
Remember when this meme was popular? Haha, good times. Anyways, there are two funny things about this one, and I'm going to suck the hilarity out of both by over-explaining them, because that's kind of what they pay me to do around here. The first is the unabashed confidence the player has that you can just convert a two-handed axe into a throwing weapon, all to destroy a Harpy. I'll have to assume the Harpy stole a magical chalice, otherwise why not just let it soar away into the sunset? Is their character really craving some Harpy meat? Can you eat Harpy? I mean, I know you can but it has a human face, so doesn't it start to feel weird?
Secondly, I love that this comic shows the totally unrealistic scenario of an angry player being able to change a DM's mind. Yelling at a DM to change the outcome of the game is akin to when Football players yell at the referee. Have you ever seen a ref change his decision because he was yelled at? When you have all the power, getting yelled at only motivates you to make the life of the person yelling at you all that much worse. Ask anyone on the other end of a customer helpline.
10 Where Will You Be When Inspiration Strikes?
The human brain is a bizarre thing. When you need to be awake, you’ll feel like dozing off, like in traffic or at your desk. And when you finally need to get that much-needed rest, your imagination will kick into overdrive, and your mind will bombard you with ideas that your groggy little thinking ball is certain are great. Of course, in the harsh light of the morning, these ideas will not hold up under scrutiny. No, you shouldn’t start your own YouTube channel, no, you shouldn’t start a soap company, and no, you don’t know how to pull off the perfect bank heist. And no, the Adventure you come up with at 3 am while trying to sleep will probably not be as epic as you think it will be.
Still, there’s the off chance that you are on to something, so rather than let that brilliant adventure slip back into the ether, you throw yourself out of the bed and begin writing down your quest. Maybe your friends will love this little jaunt you feel compelled to write for them. Realistically, though, you’ve just filled a hallway with Mimics and hidden an important sword at the bottom of a lake, which is pretty much the least original thing a DM has ever done.
9 Let Me Handle This
Nothing beats a good old-fashioned Xena: Warrior Princess reference. Especially one that involves her being shushed.
Nostalgia aside, it is funny when you see the Bard, usually, the laughing stock of the group, silence a Fighter because they know they are underequipped to negotiate. This is the Bard’s time to shine, and they’d rather eat their Golden Ukulele (or whatever incredibly stupid instrument they use, probably a harp or lute) then let the Fighter steal their thunder. They are literally only good at one thing, and that’s using smooth jazz to lull people into a stupor of complacency. Well, maybe not jazz, but you know, something. Grindcore, maybe?
The point is, let the Fighter stick to fighting. This is the magical world version of “stay in your own lane.” The Bard isn’t the first person to rush in and try to bonk a Centaur over the head with their Golden Ukulele; they leave the rushing in and getting slaughtered stuff to the fighter. So why would the Fighter think they could just barge in and try to do some diplomacy? The act of Diplomacy is like a complex dance, and the only person who knows the steps is The Bard. Who is also in charge of the music for the dance? Ok, so the metaphor fell apart.
8 Why Isn't The Bard Here?!
The Bard is an often overlooked class of character within D&D since they are usually just there to buff more traditionally useful characters. They can beguile or charm opponents, however, so if you are looking to avoid a fight, they can be incredibly useful. Negotiation is a legitimate tactic, either because you are wounded, understaffed, under-equipped or if the opponent is simply overpowered. A well-balanced team of adventurers should always have a Bard on hand to at least boost their chances of talking their way out of an otherwise impossible situation.
You will definitely miss them when they are gone.
If, for whatever reason, your Bard is gone, you can always still try to negotiate. The only problem is that without their natural aptitude for this kind of thing, and the fact that you maxed out all of your player's attributes on strength because you are terrible at this game, you are a terrible negotiator. Soon, the DM will be telling you that what you just said to the Lich has in fact not persuaded them to join your cause, and in fact weren't even intelligible words. The Lich assumed you were mocking his undead mouth and flew into a blind rage, dismembering every member of your party.
7 Who's Useless Now?
You know what? A Bard using healing magic on a wounded fellow player is the only way this image would ever make sense. I think that says a lot about wrestling, when a magical scenario is more plausible than whatever stupid plot is unfolding above.
Besmirching the name of wrestling aside, it is funny to see a common event in D&D unfold in real life. It kind of casts a harsh light on how ridiculous some of the logic of Dungeons & Dragons can be, which might be a slap in the face for some avid fans.
But who cares, who says you aren’t allowed to enjoy silly things? Under a microscope, all things are silly? Sports, books, birds, food, it all looks kind of dumb at times, so who cares? Bust out your enchanted trombone and cast a magical ballad to replenish your friend’s health. You can’t let a small thing like embarrassment hold you back from being the hero you know you are on the inside. Besides, they’ll be grateful and will probably end up saving your life with an equally ridiculous move, like summoning a swarm of bees or turning into a giant frost werewolf. I don’t know, there are so many different spells.
6 Weirder Things Have Happened
The complete absurdity of D&D in part of the reason why everyone loves it. Sure, getting completely lost in a world of magic and wonder is all well and good, but exploiting loopholes to the endless frustration of the DM is infinitely more satisfying. So when the adventure calls for you to fight some impossibly huge monstrosity that is clearly meant to take up a whole afternoon, you may as well try your luck and talk to the dang thing. I mean, the worst that could happen is that they reject any of your charm and try to viciously maim you, which is what they would have tried even if you hadn’t tried using your words like an adult.
But if it works, it becomes hilarious. Here’s a three-story abomination that could punch a hole through you and your whole party in one fell swoop, but with a few kind words, they are suddenly on your side. Maybe they simply step aside and let you continue on your little adventure, but sometimes, you can convince them to join your party. So all that stat rolling the DM did to make this creature OP is now completely at your disposal.
5 Time To Go Home
Every member of your party takes so much damage during every single confrontation that without the Healer, the game would be incredibly short. Seriously, the Healer extends your lifespan multiple times in every adventure, because otherwise, you would be a headless corpse after the first fight. Of course, sometimes even the Healer takes a little damage, and then you have the option of using a potion. As long as there is the chance that HP can be regained, then everyone is still in the fight. Of course, sometimes luck isn’t on your side, and suddenly, you find yourself without both potions and a Healer, and now you are well and truly doomed.
Once you lose the ability to heal yourself and others, the fight takes on a suddenly realistic light, where if a talon or sword disembowels you, it actually has consequences instead of you just laughing it off. All of your bravado is gone and now you aren’t going to risk trying to stab a Vampire through the eye. Suddenly the roll of the dice feels like just that, with you taking your own life into your own hands, instead of pulling off stupid stunts because you know the Healer will just stuff your guts back in your body and bring you back to life.
4 Who Wouldn't Want That Power?
Warlocks can have dominion over a wide array of powers, and you need to be far more familiar than me to really understand the whole Warlock mythos. I know that a Fiend has made a pact with a destructive entity that wants nothing more than to destroy all of existence, including the person it made the pact with. Outside of that, I am woefully under qualified to explain the Wide World of Warlocks to you. But after a bit of research, I can give you a brief explanation of what a Fey is, in case the innate hilariousness of that image wasn’t enough for you.
Fey are usually just humanoid Warlocks with supernatural abilities and a connection to nature. There are so many different kinds of Fey that it really isn’t worth my time, or even your less valuable time. Fun fact: apparently it is a rule that anyone who is Feytouched (is half or a quarter Fey) has to have a feature that makes them seem weird, like speaking in rhyme or having goofy, feathered eyebrows. Or, as is the case in the image above, the Warlock can forgo having facial hair at all and instead uses their ability to control cats to give them a sweet feline beard.
3 Where Did My Shield Go?!?!
As silly as a lot of the monsters in D&D are, for some reason people still have a lot of respect for the Rust Monster. Most silly monsters have been retired, like the duck Bunny or the Stench Kow, but people still think it isn’t silly to be attacked by a giant bug, which turns all metal objects into rust. They don’t even necessarily hurt you, they just rob you of all your sweet gear. They’re just a nuisance. Does anyone ever feel good about confronting these creatures? Does it even involve fighting? Usually, I just see a party turn around and flee, but not before they lose a sword or breastplate.
So despite my finding them repulsive and stupid, as well as entirely lacking in any sort of entertainment value, these little stinkers have persisted for decades. Maybe I’m just prejudiced against these things because they look like a giant version of those gross house centipedes that you always see crawling around a friends bathroom. The ones that look like they have ten million hairs for legs and move like they are pushed on the winds of Satan’s breath? You know the ones. Rust monsters are the fantasy equivalent of those.
2 Please Stop Doing That
They don’t call them the Dungeon Master for nothing. They are literally in complete control of this domain, so if they determine, for whatever reason, that you are now in for a random encounter or an ambush, they’re going to start determining your chances, or the strength of the enemies, with some random rolls. But they don’t need to tell you why they are rolling, no, that’s privileged information. Maybe they are lucky rolls, and the DM is trying to determine what kind of loot you are going to trip over. More than likely, though, they are determining how tough things are about to be for your party.
It can be pretty nerve-wracking.
Things get exponentially worse when, in the real world, you ask the DM why they are rolling and they just give you a look. They are usually smiling. Then they continue rolling without giving you any clear idea what the heck is going on. You start talking amongst yourselves, coming up with possible scenarios as to why the DM would need to be rolling the dice silently. And no matter how terrible the scenario is that you are your friends dredge up from your nightmares, the DM has thought of something worse. It’s usually Rust Monsters.
1 Did I Do That?
I can’t think of a more apt image to sum up the moral of today’s article. The Dungeon Master is trying to take away everything that you love and cherish, and when they do, they will claim it was an accident. When you get literally flattened by a Fire Giant, the DM will claim that it was a completely avoidable fate if you were a better player. And with that kernel of doubt, you will let him be the DM next time you get together, and they will pull the exact same thing. If they are particularly evil, they will put you on the exact same quest, claiming that now that you learned from your mistakes, it should be much easier.
It isn’t, and they know that. They’ll say they didn’t, that they thought you would enjoy the challenge, but they knew that the only way this adventure would end was with them happily skipping through a field of your smoldering bodies. And because a part of you doesn’t want to believe that anyone you care about could be so cruel, so evil, you will believe them that it was an accident. But deep down, in your heart of hearts, you know this was always the master plan.