Running Gags


First Post
And the room contains... Tapestries or They look like bars of gold, but they're really Tapestries or ALL THE TAPESTRIES WILL BE MINE!

In a current campaign, the party is sent off to make ready a recently abandoned keep for it's new lord. Stories abound that the place is haunted or over run with brigands and/or goblinoids. So it's the party's job to clear it out and clean it up.

As part of their payment for services rendered, the party is told that they may keep whatever spoils they take in their endeavor to make the place livable... At this the Bard raises an eyebrow and the rogue looks down right gleeful which prompts the Lord's representative to tack on "... Within reason". And mentions that the party should not feel free to help themselves to things like tapestries...

So finding tapestries became something of a running joke.

The DM would be describing a ransacked room and bring up now ruined and musty tapestries that had been torn from the wall laying in heaps, and the rogue would go "Tapestries?!?! Oh boy! I'm all over those!."... And the rest of us would say, "Now now Esteban. You remember what the man said about taking tapestries..." And then the player would say either that he would become sullen and sulk in the back of the party muttering about how we "never get to keep any of the good crap", or tell the DM that he wants to try and smuggle one or more out in his pants while we weren't looking.

Oh no! Not Food Horse #2!!! Noooooooo! Food Horse n u m b e r t w o o o o o!"
We had this campaign, that was getting up there in levels. And we needed to travel very far from home, through some mountains. And we weren't normally very concerned with traveling arrangements at this point. Because with the combination of classes we had, at the level we were at, it was pretty much assumed that we would be able to feed ourselves and keep warm'ish.

I mean, we weren't at Pirate Cat uber levels with ultra swanky extra plainer places to stay, but we generally had our act together.

But this was different; We had to come up with itemized list of everything we needed and were taking with us. "You need horses," the DM said, "to carry equipment and food, and more horses to carry food for the horses..." And we were like, "no we don't because the Druid and the Priest can conjure food, even for the horses if we even bother with horses; which we may not because this party had ridiculously bad luck in regards to horses". But somehow it got negotiated around and we decided that we did need those things because the trip was particularly long and difficult.

So one of the players made an inventory:
Riding Horse #1 - rider, saddle bags, items in saddle bags.
Food Horse #1 - inventory of equipment carried
Riding Horse #2 - rider, saddle bags, items in saddle bags.
... and so on.
and so on

So halfway through the trip we get attacked by a Giant Griffin which goes immediately for the food horses. (If you ask me, the Griffin is the reason we had to make these detailed plans, but it was a fun encounter. :D )

So we drive it off and one of the mages asks what the damage was. The response was, "Well, we've lost your horse and Food Horses #4 and 2."

To which the mage replied, "... NOT FOOD HORSE #2! She was my favorite!!!"

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"Is my +5 Holy Avenger there?" or "I'd really like a +5 Holy Avenger"
For 5 years now, my friend Matt has been after a +5 Holy Avenger with every character he has ever played. It doesn't matter that none of the characters he has played couldn't even use a Holy Avenger, he just wants one. Initially, he was probably semi-serious about it, but now he asks this every time they defeat a tough opponent or start on a new adventure. It sometimes comes up out of game as well. One of these days, I'm going to toss a +5 Holy Avenger in just when he least expects it. :)

"I want to play the Kobold Bard"
In my game, kobolds are not evil, and are sort of the "grunt labor" race for the humans, and often used for household servents, entertainment, etc. The option to play a kobold was there from the start, although nobody is playing one. When the group was getting ready to attend a festival, I mentioned that a troup of kobold bards was going to be performing, and this immediatly started Matt (same guy as above) talking about his next character being a kobold bard. Now, every time someone talks about their next character, they say they are going to play a kobold bard. It comes up so often that my wife even knows the phrase, saying stuff like "I'll go to lunch with you guys, but you can't talk about kobold bards" or You aren't going to sit around all night talking about kobold bards, are you?" which translates to "Are we going to do anything besides talk about D&D?"

"It must be... the MER-PEOPLE!"
This comes from my friend Leland, who is the newest player in our group, and just began playing last year. When I was setting up the game and explaining the world (they are adventuring along the coastal area of the continent), he said he wanted to fight mer-people. There are no mer-people in this part of the world, but it comes up fairly often from him, especially when something happens near the ocean.


First Post
"The Pianos say so!"
Used to refer to something being mandated by a module, the stupider the better. Came from the time someone said that if you interrupted boxed text, a piano would fall on you.

"I clog dance, and throw my clogs at him!"
Wasting a round doing nothing.

"Crazy Joe"
No matter what system or setting, Crazy Joe is ALWAYS there. Waiting for you. Crazier than ever. Usually he's a storekeeper.


First Post
"You know this would all have been a lot easier if we'd been selling Avon products."
and a constant play on words... "We need to find a miner." "What do children have to do with this?"


First Post
After playing for a while my group has come up with a few.
#1 The players had spent a long time on one area, which consited of a city and the surrounding forest. One night while in the forest, they set up camp and one of my players asked "Is there a tree around?" I replied "not in this forest", and he realized what he asked. He finished the request by adding "no, no. A big tree with a hole in it?" and I stopped it there. For a long time when it starts getting late or somoene asks a question he should know the answer to, we reply with "is there a tree around?"

When we thought that had to be the silliest question ever asked, another player asked
#2 "How long does a permanancy spell last?" In his defense he meant how long before the spell damaged the item it was placed on, but we all had a good laugh at it, and now "Is there a tree around?" is always followed by "How long does a permanency last?"

#3 "I take the damage" This from one of my player who had trouble putting aside his pride. It actually come from a magic game, where he refused to block an attack and died from it saying "I take the damage" even though he could have prevented it. This same player coined
#4 "I bite my tongue off and swallow it". His PC and the rest of the party had split up. He did not know where they were going or what they were doing, and was captured by an evil thief who wanted information. The thief used a paingiving dagger to torture the player's PC, who insisted that his character not answer the thief's questions. The questions were of course, where are you friends. Since he didn't know, there was no danger of him endagering them. When I started having him roll fortitude saves to resist the torture, he bit off his tongue and swallowed it so he would not reveal information he did not know in the first place. Now when somone is being obstinant for no reason we reply with "I bite my tongue off and swallow it."

Bran Blackbyrd

"Mohrg Barrel" We had a bard get killed when he raced another PC to a barrel in order to loot it first. Turned out a mohrg had been placed inside and it grappled him. That alone would have killed him in a few rounds but a (young) trigger-happy PC cast a lightning bolt at the two of them and they both got fried.
The whole concept of a mohrg in a barrel was so funny (especially since it proved to be fatal) that we made constant references to it whenever there was a mysterious container that needed searched or when someone contemplated what might be waiting in the next room. I've threatened on more than one occasion to "drop a mohrg barrel" on someone if they didn't behave. An image comes to mind of something like a can of spam... a can filled with spam with a non-threatening picture of spam on the front; except this is a mohrg barrel... a barrel filled with mohrg with a non-threatening (?!) picture of a mohrg on the front. I'll never know why those kobolds were living in the same chamber as a barreled mohrg.

"How much for the macramé? / Oh, you can't afford the macramé." The same PC that would eventually be killed by the mohrg barrel lost an arm and went to a "specialist" to get a replacement. He had his choice between various types and materials (admantium, iron, etc) and one was macramé. They all seemed pretty expensive so we asked how much the macramé arm was figuring it was nearly worthless. The reply was simply, "Oh you can't afford the macramé arm." Who'd have guessed...but we took his word for it. The PC chose copper or brass in the end, I think. Whenever someone tries to buy something, invariably someone will ask how much the macramé version is and someone else will tell them they can't afford it.

"So anyway, the local magistrates show up and take you to jail..." I was (and still am) having a hard time getting my players together because of Real Life and at the end of our last session of my homebrew the local magistrates showed up and took the PCs into custody. A year or so later one of the players was back from college and starting DMing for the first time. I joined the campaign after a few sessions and during a slow spot I said, "So anyway, the local magistrates show up and take you to jail..." The players from my campaign remembered the line and laughed. From there on out whenever a session was grinding to a halt or the DM was allowing people to take too long getting ready I'd say the line; a subtle, playful insinuation that I'd take over and start my campaign again if things took too long. It usually got a (sometimes nervous) laugh out of him.

EDIT: "You're part of the problem!" As in "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem." We've taken to yelling either "You're part of the problem!" or "Be part of the solution!" at anything from warlords and BBEGs to dumbfounded orcs and unsuspecting commoners if they aren't cooperating in the manner we want them to.

Also there's the exchange in my sig...
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In a friend's casual game, I've got a Warlock that's from the distant lands of Barbar... so he introduces himself as a Barbarian. He keeps getting into arguments with shopkeepers and fellow adventurers who want him to bulk up and move to the front. Actually, he's fleeing from a group of Barbarian Barbarians that are working for his enemy, the dark wizard Bala-din. He's in love with a woman named Rainja, who is also a Barbarian (although she's a rogue).

Before that, it was Pauvolf, who winced every time someone mispronounced his name. His name turned out to be "Pav--sorry."


First Post
In a D&D game, a foe was attacking us with a large hammer that the DM referred to as a "big-a**" hammer. People decided to interpret that as a big "a**-hammer" instead. After that, and for the rest of the campaign, people made references to "ass-hammers", like "can my character take exotic weapon proficiency - a**-hammer?", and several more, less clean examples. :D


First Post
We have too many to post here. Two of my favorites are:

Evil Bastard

In every single “goofy” adventure we have run for over a decade, the primary antagonist is named “Evil Bastard.” He’s always behind everything, and nobody has ever seen him yet.

“Can I attack it 13 times?”

In a player’s first Star Wars game, the characters were hiding in the massive garage of an imperial operations station. Suddenly, the garage gates opened, and an AT-ST started to advance into the area where the PCs were hiding (behind some crates.) To the bafflement of everyone, the new player (armed only with a wrench) asks if he could attack it! After a long moment of silence, I replied “yes, but it will cost you an intelligence point.”

Still not getting it, and completely seriously, the player looks over his character sheet. After seeing that he has an INT of 13 he responds “So… I can attack it 13 times, right?” The phrase has been with us ever since.

Here are some infamous exchanges that became running gags:


GM: Wow. You manage to get the window open after all.

Rogue: Does this mean I get “Windows XP?”

Call of Cthulhu

GM: “As the body on the examining table begins to writhe and scream…”

Player: “I use quick draw and point blank shot.”

GM: “On the body?”

Player: “No. On my head.”
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First Post
I used to game with a guy who was famous for two things: every character he had had a tragic past where his mentor or family was slain by assassins, and he horribly mangled the English language. So, once, when describing his character's background, he said, "After finding his sensei's corpse in the dojo, he has sworn a personal bandana against the assassins."

It took us awhile to figure out he meant "vendetta". So, 20 years on, "personal bandana" is part of our gaming lexicon. Any time a vengeance oath is mentioned or is part of the plot, we refer to it as a "personal bandana".

Also, the standard answer for finding nothing important when looting the body of a fallen foe is, "You find a dead robin, a canned ham, and a ball of string", and every town has a tavern called "The Sandy Jackboot".


First Post
"I wish I had Defender."
A player in an AD&D game happened upon a lucksword. When his PC made the above remark, the GM rolled to see how likely it was, after having the player explain to him that Defender was an artifact-level sword. The result of the roll was that suddenly the lucksword switched places with Defender. Unfortunately, Defender had been hanging over the mantelpiece of a descendant of its original wielder, who came to track it down after it was suddenly replaced by another sword. The PC didn't get to keep Defender for long. So now the player periodically remarks sadly, "I wish I had Defender" in the midst of any and all games.

"I'm not getting naked!"
In our ongoing Greyhawk campaign, we heard about a temple where something funny was going on. Only women were allowed in the temple, so the party's female rogue decided to get in as a supplicant. This required her to bathe in a certain pool in moonlight. The player assumed that 'bathe' meant in the nude, so her PC got undressed, and was promptly whisked within the temple walls by a spell - where she then found herself naked and under attack by gargoyles. Now the player will announce "I'm not getting naked!" or something similar whenever we are faced with any situation where saying that might be funny. :)


"You see a pretty butterfly."

It means you blew your perception check. This originated in a game of Exalted where nobody had put many points into the Perception stat and Awareness skill. I started to run out of creative things to have them notice when they botched, so I started saying they saw a pretty butterfly. It spread to other games, and the butterfly has since become a low-ranking demon sent to distract heroes at critical moments.

Orryn Emrys

The more I read, the more I remember from my own years of gaming....

He read the adventure: I've got one player who likes to get his hands on the published adventures I've run after they've been completed, largely due to my habit of making sweeping changes in any given module to fit the needs of the campaign (and to throw off players like one I used to know who liked to read the adventure before it was over...). He then likes to share his discoveries with his colleagues, detailing what could have happened had they made different decisions... assuming I was using the material as written. He truly is a very insightful person, who thrives on puzzle-solving encounters and truly enjoys well-constructed adventures. Consequentially, whenever he figures out some great riddle or mystery in one of my games, the players have begun proclaiming that "he read the adventure"... especially when they are well aware that the adventure material is my own....

So... what's your next plan?: Early in the current ARCANA UNEARTHED campaign, the party leader, a young magister, presumably had a clever moment when the heroes were backed into a narrow tunnel outside of which an angry hydra paced. Interrupting the heroes' arguments concerning their options, the mage announced, "Wait! I've got an idea!", then proceeded to cast a low-level conjure energy creature spell, summoning an electric monkey just inside the tunnel's entryway... only to be snapped up instantly by the hydra! Following a moment of stunned silence, the party's litorian warrior turned to the mage and growled, completely deadpan, "So... what's your next plan?" Now, I hear this anytime some clever idea or another suddenly backfires....

A couple of running gags from my earlier days as a DM were the result of carelessness on my part. In one situation, I informed the group that they had entered a round room, and while I was distracted, one of the players announced that his character was going to sit in the corner... I just nodded, of course... I've never lived that one down. In the same campaign, my younger brother's thief got into the habit of "disappearing into the forest"... It wasn't long before he was disappearing into the forest despite the terrain. The first time I let this slip and someone demanded to know how he was disappearing into the forest on the lower level of the dungeon, I looked at him and said: "He's just that good...." Needless to say, this later became habitual for any truly stealthy character.

And, of course... I frequently answer stupid questions with... "It's a gazebo."


First Post
"So, what's your next character like?"

Said whenever anyone asks a question of the GM, especially questions like "did we level?"

Michael Tree

First Post
The Dance of Killing Prisoners In 2e, the frantic running around to cut the throats of enemies before the Sleep spell's duration ran out. More generally, performing coups de gras on unconscious enemies.

The Ranger Takes the Paladin for a Walk One character distracting another character who would be morally opposed to what they're about to do.

In our long-running Star Wars game, all the ships of the PCs and their allies have been named after Big Trouble in Little China quotations. The main ship is the Six Demon Bag, but there's also the Porkchop Express, the Black Blood of the Earth, the Girl with Green Eyes, etc.
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DungeonmasterCal said:
I used to game with a guy who was famous for two things: every character he had had a tragic past where his mentor or family was slain by assassins, and he horribly mangled the English language. So, once, when describing his character's background, he said, "After finding his sensei's corpse in the dojo, he has sworn a personal bandana against the assassins."

It took us awhile to figure out he meant "vendetta". So, 20 years on, "personal bandana" is part of our gaming lexicon. Any time a vengeance oath is mentioned or is part of the plot, we refer to it as a "personal bandana".
Now I've got this picture of someone swearing an oath of vengeance and then putting on a red headband as a kind of symbolic gesture before going out and pursuing the oath.


First Post
DamionW said:
Those two made me laugh so hard I cried.

"I want a talking rock with a puwafwi!"

This reminds me of my groups "Jim the Gem". Long ago in a campaign one of the characters found two gems in some loot, one was pretty worthless and the other had a decent value. The player decided to sell off the valuable gem and purchase a nicely made box to contain the smaller worthless gem. He also had Magic Mouth cast on the gem so it would say it's name "Jim" hence "Jim the Gem".

There are lots of other good running gags we've had over the years.

"Ok we kill ourselves and get there" This came about from my groups rotating DM-ness. When one of the players was running a campaign we were traveling from City A to get to City B. Because of a poor choice in random encounters on the road the whole party died. The DM said "Fine. The next day you all wake up and your where you needed to go." From then on when needing to travel we would say "Ok we kill ourselves and get there."

"Is it Fey?" This came about from my (takes deep breath) Ranger/Druid/Rogue/Stormlord (gotta love humans) character and my want to actually get to make use of my "Resist Natures Lure" Druid ability. It first started when I had to make a saving throw to resist being charmed by a vampire. I promptly asked, "Is it Fey?" This brought forth lots of giggles from the party which I responded to with, "Hey he never said it wasn't a Pixie Vampire!" Our group constantly makes reference to "Is it Fey?" for all sorts of situations, in and out of game. On a side note to this: You can see an old drawing of this character my friend did. It was made back when he was still just a Ranger/Druid. It can be found in the General Public Art Gallery here at EN World. Look up images put up by DrakkarDaveneorn

Onjec's Scars This is in reference to the above character and my luck concerning things that chop off limbs and experience with being rended by trolls. On my character sheet in the character picture box I have a 'diagram of scars' which contains a rough outline of my character and labels of his major scars. Currently I have legs (both) cut of mid-shin and reattached, right hand severed and reattached, numerous 'punture holes' in torso from spikes in traps, and so on and so on...

"Burn marks, scrap marks?" In reference to my groups way of searching for traps. We figure if they are there they've been set off in the past and reset so we ask "Burn marks, scrap marks?" for the tell-tale signs of traps going off in the past. Recently this has expanded to "Burn marks, scrap marks, pools of blood?" after my character mentioned above bleed to death (-1 all the way to -10 without stablizing) after the party was split up and I hit a trap. This was early in his adventuring career, before learning ways of the rogue. I'm glad our party had enough gold to have me raised.

There's many more but they are escaping me at the moment.


First Post
#1: "Ah, my natural habitat." This started with a Dwarven Clockwork Ranger in a DragonMech game. The player said it seriously the first time. Then, they entered a different area, and she said it again. We teased her about it, and soon she was saying it every time the party entered a new area.

#2: "Doink doink doink..." I once narrated the sound of my Dwarven Paladin's armor. It now gets brought up in every campaign with any of those players.

#3: "Gnome 1, Gnome 2, Goblin 3, Gnome 4..." This one arose from an accident on my part, as the DM. They were facing 5 Gnomes. I labeled them G1 through G5. I accidentally called Gnome 3, Goblin 3, which they thought was hilarious. Needless to say, repeated in every encounter (even the one with the three incarnations of Grievous. There was Grievous 1, Grievous 2, and Gruumsh 3.).

[EDIT]: One more. Whenever I game with my friend Ally, she makes fun of my character's name. Two examples: In a Changeling: The Dreaming game, my character's name was Baphomet, which she forever referred to as Bathroom Mat. In the D&D game I'm running, her character, Psyche, refers to the NPC Cleric Dammerung as Damerol (some sort of medication). Irritating more than funny, really.
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First Post
rycanada said:
In a friend's casual game, I've got a Warlock that's from the distant lands of Barbar... so he introduces himself as a Barbarian. He keeps getting into arguments with shopkeepers and fellow adventurers who want him to bulk up and move to the front. Actually, he's fleeing from a group of Barbarian Barbarians that are working for his enemy, the dark wizard Bala-din. He's in love with a woman named Rainja, who is also a Barbarian (although she's a rogue).

That reminds me of the fabled short ranger short-rangers. (If you know DDM, look at a Talenta Halfling and figure it out :p )


First Post
Zweihänder said:
One more. Whenever I game with my friend Ally, she makes fun of my character's name.

Ooh, we had our share of those.

There was the power-hungry Elven Wizard Oxi (actually Oxavius). Or that poor guy whose name was Orlin Trabbar (or something like that), and we only called him Ornithopter. And then I played a
Courtier called Bayushi Akahito, and they all called him "Hacki" (that's what you get from adventuring with Gaijin)

Epic Threats

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