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Knights of the Dinner Table (often abbreviated KoDT) is an ongoing comic series about a group of Tabletop RPGers, composed of:
- B.A. Felton: The disgruntled Game Master, always attempting to be one step ahead of the group and always winding up one step behind, due to either Brian's scheming or Bob and Dave's bumbling violence.
- Bob Herzog: A seasoned gamer who believes that "monsters are there to be killed". Often causes massive plot derailments by slaying important characters in-game (or even his fellow teammates). His main character in B.A.'s campaign is Knuckles, a dwarven thief who carries a crossbow.
- Dave Bozwell: Something of a starry-eyed newbie, but has become more and more like Bob in his love of violence. He plays El Ravager, a human fighter who is a thinly veiled excuse to wield a Hackmaster +12 magic sword.
- Brian Van Hoose: The textbook definition of a Rules Lawyer. Frequently manipulates his less-intelligent allies into doing his bidding, and is able to cite obscure rules to wriggle his way out of just about any situation. When provoked, however, he can become violent, often flipping tables. His iconic characters are a series of wizards with the word "Lotus" in their names; most famously, Black Lotus, better known as Teflon Billy for Brian's skills as a Karma Houdini. He was the original GM of the group until a Noodle Incident drove him into retirement.
- Sara Felton: B.A.'s cousin. The only one at the table who actually role-plays, and the straight woman of the group. She tends to play non-Stripperiffic female barbarian characters, such as Zayre and Thorina.
There are several additional gaming groups in the KoDT universe, including the Black Hands, a group of oddballs and outcasts who game together because no one else will have them. The Black Hands roster includes:
- "Nitro" Ferguson, a black ex-Marine prone to running his game like a boot camp.
- Newt Forager, who began as a picked-on newbie but quickly became a sneaky player. Prone to whining and brown-nosing. Plays dark, angsty characters with pages of backstory.
- Stevil Van Hostle, a cubicle drone who uses gaming to get out pent up aggression. Bitter and mean, with a mad-on for Newt. Enjoys playing grel (Grunge Elves, a drow-analogue).
- Gordo Sheckberry, a sensitive, odd sort prone to playing (female) pixie fairies above all other character. Probably the nicest of the Hands. Wheelchair-bound in all his appearances; some years before the comic's beginning, he apparently provided help with a "chemical" experiment that earned Nitro his nickname and almost killed both of them.
- "Weird" Pete Ashton, a grumpy old-time gamer who runs the local gaming shop. Fills in for Nitro when he can't make it -- a fate the other Hands dread, as Pete is a brutally fair gamemaster who demands his players earn every new turn. Also enjoys playing grel. Keep in mind that grel eat pixies...
In addition, there are Loads And Loads Of recurring minor characters.
It is also the name of the magazine in which it currently runs, and has run since the demise of its former publication, Dragon magazine. The magazine also features various RPG related content.
KODT has a spin-off strip called Java Joint that runs in the fantasy magazine Black Gate. Java Joint centres around the (mis)adventures of a book club consisting of Sara, Patty and Tank.
This comic is the Trope Namer for:
- Cattle Punk: Originally a roleplaying game by the creators of Hackmaster, and known for its lethality. The game still manages to fit all the definitions in the trope.
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Bob's dad displays these during his first (and only) game of Cattlepunk.
Brian: Whooooah, dude. Yer dad shot 'im in the face.
- Actual Pacifist: Reese. An ER nurse, she refuses to condone violence in any way and so plays a cleric of a pacifist god.
- Aerosol Flamethrower: Bob claims to have improvised one to drive of a feral dog (or possibly a coyote) in the strip "A Fish Story".
- Affectionate Parody: Of Dungeons and Dragons (2nd Edition in particular) and tabletop gaming culture.
- The published Hackmaster RPG, though, is a licensed version of 1st Edition AD&D.
- After Action Report: Knights Of The Dinner Table: Illustrated, which attempts to make a story loosely based on the Knights' campaigns. Naturally, most of the table banter is repeated in-character.
- Though it's translated into in game terms with in game motivations to explain the OOC actions (i.e. you don't have Lotus asking for a Grape Faygo.)
- Aggressive Negotiations: A stabdard tactic of the Untouchable Trio.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: But the tabletop gaming community of Muncie's come to an understanding with them anyway.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Many foreign readers were surprised to learn that Faygo is a real brand of soft drink, and does have flavours like Rock & Rye.
- Hawg Waller's and Pizza-a-Go-Go were actual bars and pizza establishments, respectively. For bonus points, Waller's was actually in the real Muncie.
- Anal Probing: The Black Hands 2011 Special ends with the Black Hands characters being anally probed by aliens after Weird Pete decides to combine his Cattlepunk campaign with Scream of Kachoolu.
- Analogy Backfire: In Java Joint, Tank says that he is "as serious as Garrison Keillor", apparently not realising that Garrison Keillor is a humorist.
- Animated Adaptation: Fan Andrew Babb did a series of nicely-produced Flash cartoons, currently preserved on Youtube.
- Artifact of Doom: Flak Jack Monty's infamous twenty-sider, "Fitz". Cursed with vampiric luck (pretty much useless to a player, but a Doomsday weapon in the hands of a GM), this die goes through quite the history after the Knights swipe it.
- Art Shift: In "Hounded" in #183, Sara has a dream about the Untouchable Trio Plus One. The dream is illustrated using art from Knights of the Dinner Table: Illustrated by the Fraim Brothers.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In Nitro's campaign setting, deceased real life celebrities become deities with the most frequently mentioned being Andy Warhol. Bob managed to successfully argue for the promotion of one of his former characters to deity status to serve as the basis of the religion for his new Player Character, a priest.
- Auto Cannibalism: While playing Weird Pete's new game "Fairy Meat", Brian has his character eat its own arm to demonstrate that the rule for recovering hit points via cannibalism is broken.
- Bathroom Break Out: Bob does it to escape from Nitro's game when sitting in for Weird Pete in "A Man Out Standing In His Field".
- Berserk Button: Do not touch Bob's dice!
- Also, never question the existence of Brian's "girlfriend" Alexis. And if you happen to think women can't/shouldn't be gamers, keep that opinion under your hat around Sara.
- Don't mess with Chelsie unless you want to experience the business end of a Hackmaster +12.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Don't push Sara too far..she'll push back hard. And then there was the time her character became evil...
- B.A. gets moments like this.
- BFS: The Hackmaster +12.
- Bizarrchitecture: Tic Tac Taco and its giant sombrero.
- Blinding Bangs: Newt and Brian.
- Break the Haughty: Stevil being forced to dance for 36 hours straight in prison. When he finally gets back to his game, Newt plays ABBA's "Dancing Queen" through a pair of portable speakers attached to his walkman. Newt is promptly wasted and is made to wear "the Hubcap of Shame".
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Brian is a socially awkward man with a made-up girlfriend, but is incredibly good at being a Rules Lawyer.
- Casanova Wannabe: Jonny Kizinski.
- The Caper: Switch, and a number of other criminals attempt to rob a warehouse. Bob helps them out, thinking it's an RPG.
- Catch Phrase: "Hoody Hoo!". Also quite often: "I waste him with my crossbow!" or "Foul! I cry foul!" (Bob) and "Prepping a couple of fireballs here, B.A.!"/"Fireball coming online!" (Brian)
- Cats Are Mean: B.A.'s cat, Colonel Prowler, has a habit of assaulting players and stealing their dice. He does, however, sleep with B.A which is sort of cute...
- Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate
- Character Alignment: Seeing as how Hackmaster is a homage/parody of D&D, it has a standard axis. Of course, the Knights (with the exception of Sarah) aren't known for actually playing their listed alignment.
- The Chessmaster: Brian. Occasionally, Stevil and Pete will come up with a devious plan, as well.
- The Chick: Sara
- Comedic Sociopathy: Only done partway. Invoke this trope all you want to in the actual games; the Killer Game Master expects you to and there's no hard feelings on anyone's part for being bastards. Doing this outside the game or in-game to the point of making people genuinely upset is a very good way to get shunned, as Stevil and Crutch have found out.
- Sara has had her objections to it at times, and when Bob's dad tried Cattlepunk, this element of it bothered him immensely and he lectured everyone present.
- Then there was the time that Newt was in a position to have to bail the Black Hands out of jail and chose to bail out ex-con Crutch instead of Stevil.
- Comic Trio (plus One): Bob's the navigator with the half-baked schemes; Dave's the clueless driver; Sara's the Only Sane Woman who's ultimately powerless to do more than avoid ground zero; and Brian's the scheming backseat driver who either makes things worse or turns the disaster to his advantage.
- Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Every character in the strip. When forced to break out of this trope, Dave's mage showed signs of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass until he was allowed to play his old character again.
- Averted with Sara, who frequently plays new kinds of characters. Though usually she will hover around the "fighter with benefits" archetype due to party composition, with her iconic character being a Noble Savage ranger.
- Crack is Cheaper: Part of the reason why BA and Bob are perpetually broke is because they use what little money they earn from their minimum wage jobs to support their hobby.
- Crazy Prepared: Brian.
- Cut and Paste Comic
- Dark Chick: Sara again, when she's playing for the forces of evil.
- Darker and Edgier: Newt's preference in characters tends towards dark mysterious assassins with tortured souls and troubled pasts.
- Deadpan Snarker: Stevil, sometimes Sara and B.A.
- Defictionalization: The fictional Hackmaster RPG played by the characters has since become a real RPG.
- As has B.A.'s in-character creation, Dawg: The Role-Playing Game.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Chad from 'Patty's Perps' is a master of this.
Chad: Awwwwh, c'mon Patty! When I said girl gamers were lame I wasn't referring to you! You're just like one of the guys.
- Disney Death: GARY JACKSON?!
- The Ditz: Dave, though he does have (very) occasional flashes of brilliance. One such flash leads him to countering every one of Brian's strategies during the Doomsday Pack arc.
- The Dog Bites Back: Happens to every NPC that's unfortunate enough to work with the Knights and live. Somehow the Knights are completely blind to this.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Nitro
- Driving Stick: Weird Pete discovers that Gordo can't drive stick during a road trip to GaryCon when he wakes up to to find Gordo is still driving in first gear. By the end of the trip, Gordo has mastered driving stick (with the aid of Squirrely) and is ecstatic.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: The Knights act like this despite their characters being Complete Monsters in the gaming world.
- Dungeonmaster's Girlfriend: Discussed. The male players often accuse B.A. of showing favoritism to Sara who is his cousin, though he actually runs the game fairly for all and cuts Sara no slack.
- A straighter example is Chad's girlfriend. She's a pacifist and plays her cleric that way (in fact she can't even heal the party from their injuries because that would enable their violence so she's just an observer.)
- Early Installment Weirdness: The Knights had much less distinctive personalities in the early episodes and you'd sometimes see the characters exhibiting traits you'd now associate with other characters. They were whatever was needed for the gag in that particular strip. The self contained format of the early strips is itself a form of early installment weirdness.
- Egopolis: Newt's campaign world is called 'Newtonia'.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Hunter
- Embarrassing First Name: Hard man Crutch's real name is Leslie.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Crutch.
- Even Evil Has Standards : In one issue of KODT Illustrated, Knuckles captures a member of the cult that tortured Thorina. Knowing that Knuckles intended to kill him, and knowing also the Untouchable Trio's notorious reputation for greed and selfishness, the cultist tries to persuade Knuckles to join his cult instead, offering lavish rewards. Knuckles mentally pictures himself torturing Thorina, and then promptly kills the cultist, saying, "Sorry, bud, but even I've got standards."
- Even the Rats Won't Touch It: The 'Limited Edition Haulin' Ass And Ammo "Meals Ready To Eat" Snack Pouches':
Weird Pete: I bought half a pallet of that crap two years ago... Didn't sell a single pack.. Squirrely wouldn't even touch 'em.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Apes, anyway, considering Ensemble Darkhorse Squirrely.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: The Knights assume this about BA's dungeons and his npc's. This partly justifies their Comedic Sociopathy.
- More often actually the case when Weird Pete GMs (his whole campaign setting is made of this trope. Nobody has made it above 3rd level in that setting.)
- Evil Redhead: 'Red' Gurdy Pickens
- Evil Weapon: Carvin' Marvin has existed in B.A.'s campaign world for close to ten years. Nobody in the party could control it, and every attempt at trying failed horribly, resulting in the deaths of over forty party members. Eventually, they kicked it into a ditch along with the last NPC to die wielding it, buried it, and called it a day. This became a Chekhov's Gun when the party needed to find an intelligent sword to match against another intelligent sword, Tremble, who had taken control of Dave's character.
- Dealing with Carvin' Marvin is considered to be Nightmare Fuel among the party members who've dealt with it. When they retrieved it in order to deal with Tremble and the Doomsday Pack, Sara (the only player not to have seen Marvin before) complained afterwards that the others should have told her what she was in for. Not only was her character inflicted with chronic nightmares and a nervous tic, but she herself said that she wouldn't be able to sleep for a week on account of nerves.
- Speaking of Tremble, while he doesn't carry the same kind of ominous mystique that Marvin has, the fact that B.A. recruited Nitro to guest-play as Tremble's personality more than makes up for it.
- The Faceless: 'Hawg' Waller
- Fell Off the Back of a Truck: Anything that Switch tries to sell you.
- Flipping the Table: Brian does this when upset too much. Bob has done it upon occasion, too.
- Formally-Named Pet: BA's cat is Colonel Prowler.
- 419 Scam: One strip deals with the results of the Knights receiving a 419 Scam email.
- Game Breaker: Brian himself counts, not to mention the many characters and schemes he cooks up.
- Dave's Hackmaster+12.
- A notable mention goes to when Brian manipulated B.A. into handing out a hammer that could duplicate spells, and then let Brian get ahold of a scroll of Wishes, to which Brian pulled out an ironclad legal document so B.A. couldn't screw up his wish to become a god.
- Played to the hilt with the legendary Jackson Document which formed the basis for the Bagworld campaign storyline; managing to be a game breaker not once, but twice in the course of the campaign.
- BA brings it on himself sometimes such as when he invoked obscure mob overbearing rules to reign his players back in over the objections and warnings of Brian himself. After the Humiliation Conga, Brian simply had the party hire their own beggar mobs to overbear monsters, including a dragon.
- Gargle Blaster: During a Hackmaster campaign, a particular bar requires first-time patrons to order Gut Busters. They use it to weed out low-level characters; drinking a drink of it does 1d10 damage, which is more than most first-level characters have. Bob's character, after being assaulted by certain patrons, gets a double, forgetting both that he's been injured and that each shot does 1d10 damage. He dies from the drink, to the shame of his party members.
- And Mojo Dave's 'mojo juice'. Sipping it causes 'Hawg' Waller to pass out.
- Generation Xerox: The male Knights continually abuse the offscreen training rules so that when their characters die they can easily introduce identical clones of their previous ones with the level adjusted a little bit.
- Geodesic Cast
- The Ghost: KODT has several:
- Bob's sister (who is the mother of Croix and Hunter)
- B.A.'s father
- Crutch's 'old lady', Casey Mae
- Crowbar, Switch's partner-in-crime (although he does become The Voice for a couple of panels in one strip)
- Brian's uncle (and former guardian)
- B.A. and Sara's Aunt Nudra
- Girlfriend in Canada: Brian's imaginary girlfriend Alexis Marie.
- Global Ignorance: Dave. He is convinced that Canada is behind the Iron Curtain, and thinks that the language of Israel is Orcish. His grasp of history isn't much better.
- GMPC: Generally averted or inverted. The rare occasions when B.A.'s NPCs become this trope they end up getting out of the story pretty quick, since they're only there to put the story back on the rails. Most of the time when B.A. plays NPCs for the party they're a Redshirts who only exist to be Cannon Fodder for the PCs.
- God Mode Sue: Timmy Jackson GMs his campaigns this way, throwing damage every which way without even rolling. It doesn't help that his father created Hackmaster. The Knights "defeat" him by playing by his rules.
- Go Look At the Distraction
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: "Firk-Ding-Blast!" and "What the SAM FRICK?" Also, "god" is usually spelled "gawd".
- Goth: Newt to a limited extent.
- Go to Alias: 'Weird' Pete's go-to alias is John Mephisto; the name of an old HackNoia character of his.
- Groupie Brigade: Knuckles acquires one in the "Sing For the Moment" storyline.
- A Handful for An Eye: Bob once defeated Nitro by blinding him with a salt cellar before coldcocking him with a dinner tray (a trick he claimed to have learned from watching B.A's infamous fistfight with Sheila Horowitz).
- Weren't you paying attention? The man touched his dice!
- Hand in the Hole: One of these traps results in Knuckles and El Ravager losing three arms between the two of them.
- Hanging Judge: Weird Pete when he is presiding over 'Gamer's Court'.
- The Hard Hat: A throwaway gag in a filler strip has Newt claiming his character is crouching real low and taking cover behind his 'kevlar watch cap'.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Brian once scammed Bob into selling him a rare, expensive mini dirt cheap. To settle the score, Brian gave Bob an IOU for in-game gold...and a thimble that fixes sails and nets. B.A. counters by steering the party into a seaside town, making Bob the leader of a massive economical empire.
- High Class Call Girl: Trish
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Trish
- Honest John's Dealership: Weird Pete, in relation to his store. Brian also shows these tendencies.
- Human Notepad: Brian carves his character's spells into the backs of Bob and Dave's characters so he could always have access to spells.
- Humiliation Conga: Rather than Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, this is BA's preferred method of dealing out punishment. Of course, his players are usually the ones to hand him the knife.
- Pixie runes of shame being tattooed on the party's buttocks are a common occurrence (along with the one point of damage that comes along with it).
- People on the wrong end of Bob's or Stevil's wrath will often end up going through one of these, as well.
- Don't forget "Dancing Queen" Newt. He & Stevil keep trying to one-up each other as revenge for the last one.
- The Knights did this to a rival group after Sara found out her boyfriend dated her just to get her into his gaming group for extra points in a tournament. The humiliation conga the gang put them through on her behalf (complete with pictures) proves they've accepted her as a Knight.
- I Have Boobs - You Must Obey!: Bridget
- I Know Mortal Kombat: The storyline in which Bob unwittingly helps plan a successful warehouse burglary based on his gaming experience.
- They've done this on several occasions, especially Bob, employing his in game roleplaying experience in the real world, dealing with his dad by hiding and bluffing.
- In Issue 162:
Brian: We have to find [BA's cat's] hoard [of dice] and we know from past history that this can be a challenge. So, for that I need your eyes and know how. I need a thief.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Dave's Hackmaster +12. Subverted in that he had this weapon since almost the beginning, becoming a mild Game Breaker.
- I Resemble That Remark: Bob ranting about how he'd like to kill all those media pundits who claim gaming promotes violent behaviour.
- Jerkass: Every character has held the "Jerkass ball" at some point or another, with Bob, Stevil, and Pete being the most common. Brian often falls into this trope as well though less frequently in later issues.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Every character, when not holding "Jerkass balls."
- Jump the Shark: The title of issue #151, which features Gary Jackson coming Back From the Dead.
- What's funny is, they included this as an example of when you know they're jumping the shark in an earlier "Parting Shots" feature (a humor section on the back page.) The explanation they put forth actually makes a lot of sense given the character He was in deep to the mob due to his compulsive gambling which had long since been an established character trait, so he turned states evidence and they faked his death with old airplane wreckage and forged reports to protect him. The evidence of the writers setting up Gary's return pretty much goes back to his "death." The only thing they haven't explained yet was how Gary faked his open casket funeral though they hung a lampshade on that in the latest issue (#152 as of this writing) suggesting they've thought of something.
- Kangaroo Court: Most of the trials the Untouchable Trio faces (although they usually bring these on themselves).
- And are not above staging one themselves when they find themselves in a position of authority.
- Killer Game Master: BA, Nitro and Weird Pete all share the philosophy that the GM is the enemy of the players.
- BA only exemplifies this trope partway. While he does not believe in giving the smallest amount of mercy to plays, his weakness is that he plays ridiculously straight; if the players find a way to derail the plot or come up with a cheese loop of power, BA lets them get away with it without invoking Rule Zero. Oftentimes because he has a Batman Gambit or a Humiliation Conga prepared.
- Subverted once with Weird Pete's Temple of Horrendous Doom which no one has ever survived and which the Black Hands have to sign a waiver just to play. Turns out dying is the first thing you do in this dungeon. The point is to navigate your spirit through the dungeon to reclaim your body. Also, Stevil learns at the end that his party is not the first to beat the dungeon--but the waiver they all signed at the beginning has a non disclosure clause forbidding bragging, in order to maintain the mystique.
- Killer Rabbit: The squirrel as fifth level monster from "The Most Dangerous (Small) Game".
- Also B.A. seems to believe that llamas have antlers and gore people and his campaign reflects this. The magazine has occasionally published reprints of newspaper articles about people being injured in llama attacks further confusing matters.
- Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Played with. When the GM tells Bob, "You've been skewered by a spear, you've fallen off a cliff, and you're swimming in lava," Bob asks, "Do I get a saving throw? I've got +1 with swimming."
- Leeroy Jenkins: The Knights are frickin' MADE of this trope.
- Literally Shattered Lives: After a long, long rules debate over who got turned to stone by a gorgon, BA decides it's Brian. The gorgon has a morning star. Piece it together. Also, It Got Worse when all of the flesh-to-stone transformations were reversed.
Sara: Eew. I think we need a wet-vac.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Local Hangout: Weird Pete's game store; the "Hawg Wallers" bar.
- Locked in a Room: Brian, Dave, and Bob once locked themselves in Brian's basement. This gave some insight into Brian's previously nebulous backstory.
- Long List: Happens twice in the Bag Wars saga when someone reads off the list of things in the Bag of Holding. Dave makes note of a perfectly ordinary sausage grinder both times ("Mmm, fresh sausage!").
- MacGuffin: The Lyre of Hound Slaying, the Conch of Aarnd, the Feather of Victory...The list goes on. It is an RPG comic book, after all.
- Mail Order Bride: The fake 'Russian gamer brides' ads.
- Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game: "World of Hackcraft"
- Medal of Dishonor: Black Hands who sully the honour of either the group, or the hobby as a whole are forced to wear the "Hubcap of Shame".
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Patty actually is a kindergartern tecaher. However, she has difficulties turning the attitude off and ends up treating her gaming group like a bunch of preschoolers, including a 'Time Out Corner' with '5 points to ponder'.
- Mistaken for Terrorist: Happens in the November 2011 issue when the group plays a real-life based Zombie Apocalypse game of Screams of Kachuloo. Brian's frequent Internet searches for bomb-making and the layout for the local mall (for the game) throws up red flags with Homeland Security. A more experienced member of the department sees that the address is in gamer-heavy Muncie, Indiana and calls off the team. They've been burned there before many times...
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: NPCs often end up doing this to the Knights.
- Mock Guffin
- Moral Myopia: All NPCs are just there to be killed or to suck up to them. But the Untouchable Trio (plus one) are brave and noble heroes, never forget that.
- Munchkin: Newt (constantly) with others showing traits of this from time to time.
- My Rule Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: The ongoing battle between Brian and B.A.
- Nerd Glasses: Bob and 4/5 of the Black Hands (and Newt may have specs under that hair). Then again, since one of them is Drill Sergeant Nasty Nitro...
- Neutral Female: Chad's Girlfriend's character. She plays a pacifist cleric that merely accompanies and observes the party without healing or fighting.
- The New Rock and Roll: Many times, in reference to the roleplaying game genre's long history of being accused of corrupting and/or mentally unbalancing its players. Characters have been arrested being mistaken for criminals (dicebags look like drug paraphenalia, plotting an ingame robbery in public gets taken out of context etc). A long running subplot is Bob's dad's disapproval of the game first requiring Bob to hide his gaming, then get a job, then get kicked out of the house.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Shiela's unwitting purchase of "Doomsday" dice to use against the Knights in the grudge match tournament. She didn't realise that the Knights dice were actually cursed and, by using the same dice, she exposed her own team to the curse and levelled the playing field.
- Noodle Incident: The unspecified incident that caused Brian to swear off ever GMing Hackmaster again.
- The Notable Numeral: The Untouchable Trio (plus one)
- Off the Rails: The Knights do this to BA constantly.
- Only Sane Man: Sara. BA takes over this role when she takes the role as DM.
- Out-Gambitted: B.A. and Brian are in a life-and-death struggle with this trope. While Brian usually gets the better of B.A., when the campaign is on the line the gamemaster does pull through.
- Paintball Episode: "Last Man Standing"
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: the strip "Lair of the Gazebo" has the Knights mistaking a gazebo for a savage beast.
- Which is based on a true story originating from the exact same misunderstanding, that had been on the internet for years. Jolly Blackburn printed an updated account in the first Bundle of Trouble.
- Persona Non Grata: Nitro Ferguson got banned from GaryCon after his D-Day game ran amok even more spectacularly than games in KoDT usually do.
- Pick Up Babes with Babes: Johnny Kizinski comments on how his infant son is a chick magnet. Of course, the effect is somewhat mitigated by him smoking like a chimney around the kid, which usually provokes rebukes from the women the child attracts.
- Pig Latin: In the issue #170 segment "Channeling Gary".
- Planning with Props: The Bag Wars Saga demonstrates why you shouldn't use snack foods in place of proper minatures.
- Platonic Prostitution: Chad initially hires Trish to pose as his fiancee. Tank later hires her to play Battleship with him.
- Powder Trail: The cover of Knights of The Dinner Table Special Edition #1 shows the Knights' Cattlepunk characters using one to blow open a bank vault.
- Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: All of the players pay out the wazoo for special dice in an attempt to appease the Random Number God, with varying results (still erring on uselessness).
- The trope then literally happened in an zany attempt by gamers to bless their dice by rubbing it on Gary Jackson's dead body. Any such dice not only become ridiculously cursed but also infected other dice in the batch, too. Mainly because that wasn't Gary Jackson's body they rubbed the dice on...
- Before the reveal that Gary faked his own death, Sara pointed out another fallacy in that plan: how lucky could a guy who died in a plane crash be?
- The trope then literally happened in an zany attempt by gamers to bless their dice by rubbing it on Gary Jackson's dead body. Any such dice not only become ridiculously cursed but also infected other dice in the batch, too. Mainly because that wasn't Gary Jackson's body they rubbed the dice on...
- Proud to Be a Geek: Bob, Dave, Brian, Weird Pete, and the Hard 8 staff (if they can be considered geeks).
- Random Number God: Acts more like the Shinto spirits of individual dice. At the same time, occasionally combatted, like when Bob rolled one unlucky d10 and one lucky d10 to get a 01-05.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: The series constantly has people talking over each other.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Gordo likes fairies and unicorns. He also know how to make nitroglycerin and may have done so for use in Nitro's steamtunnel capers.
- In fact that's hinted to be the reason he is on disability.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: When Hard 8 reinstates Nitro's GM credentials, it is with the provisio that he is only allowed to GM the Pee Wee Hackleague.
- Red Baron: Nitro (named for an gaming session involving C4), Crutch (named for...well...the crutches he wore when he broke his legs).
- The Remnant: Colonel Quantrill (a.k.a. Juan Trail) and his men in B.A.'s Cattlepunk campaign.
- Right Behind Me
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Sara once defected and played with a group of college students named Troy's Boys for a while. After her character's forced to metaphorically Stay in the Kitchen while the other (male) characters live it up, under the pretense of a festival that bans the presence of women, she quits in a huff. She goes back to the Knights, who begin to play in the same area. The festival in question? It actually banned *farm animals*, not women.
Sara: "I WASTE HIM WITH MY LONGBOW!!"
- Immediately topped by the Humiliation Conga the Knights put Troy's Boys through for treating Sara like that. It was bloodless, but after being kidnapped, having one of their heads badly shaved, and dumped in the labyrinthine steam tunnels with a map that led them to an exit outside a bikers' bar, where the bartender had been paid to take pictures of them after they emerged, they might've preferred death.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Once played literally when Bob kept wasting BA's carefully planned adventures in favor of "a cave".
- The Roleplayer: Sara at the Knight's table is a positive example of this trope. Cody, a local community theater actor, is a more over the top negative example.
- Rules Lawyer: Brian
- Rule Zero: BA gave up trying to invoke this which is part of the reason the Knights got away with so much in the early strips. He's since gotten a backbone.
- The Scrooge: Brian. Its how he stays afloat, but its also leads to him shamelessly pumping cash out of his friends when he can get away with it.
- Second Face Smoke: Gary Jackson, being a Jerkass, smokes at the gaming table and sometimes blows smoke into the faces of his players; usually to emphasise some point.
- Self-Stitching: Characters sewing up their own wounds (and whether you get XP for it) is a running gag.
- Serious Business: Gaming in Muncie is very serious business. There are codes of honor. Their gaming association, the HPMA, issues binding judgments. The playtesting is done in "gulags" with the Hard 8 staff occasionally having to put down rebellions. The players take extensive pains to document their games to keep their groups official with the HPMA.
- Brian once hired an attorney to review a pages long and carefully worded (using no punctuation, so as to keep it within the "one sentence" limit) Wish. When a panicked B.A. calls an emergency council of gamemasters to review the document, one of them consults a Hackmaster legal dictionary.
- Hard 8's service hotline offers an "ancient riddle service" for GMs who need a suitably hard riddle for their campaign on the fly for sphinx, cleverly-opened doors, and so forth. Conversely, they can also offer the solutions to such riddles to desperate players. After being stumped by one, Brian tries to find out the answer to one of B.A.'s riddles, only to find out that he paid extra for the "No Easy Answers" premium deluxe package.
- Shmuck Bait:
- See Hand in the Hole above. Also common in general at any game table as the GMs tend to exploit player's desires for loot and experience to screw with their characters.
- In B.A.'s case, its happened more than once unintentionally. He stuck a sphere of annihilation at the bottom of a waste disposal chute and, knowing his players, put up grates, plenty of warnings of danger and made the chute long enough so that they couldn't get a rope to the bottom, in order to protect them. They took it as a sign that he was hoarding the really good treasure down there and B.A. got a Total Party Kill out of the deal.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Knights go through one of the hardest dungeons ever, lose a favored NPC guide, and come out with the Lyre of Hound Slaying, trailing their vital organs...only for Dave to get taken over by a magic sword and smash it.
- See also B.A.'s Shmuck Bait entry above. The story started with showing just how much time and care went into making that dungeon, only for those three fools to kill the whole party right off the bat on the waste disposal system.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Earl Slackmozer
- Social Semi-Circle
- Speech-Impaired Animal: Squirrely, possibly.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Bob has a very dim view of women playing RPGs (to say nothing of D Ming them), and was prone to being very condescending to Sara, particularly in the early days of her membership in the Knights. (Dave and Brain have also shown signs of this attitude, but to a much lesser extent.) Thanks to Sara's general skill, this view has been mostly overcome. (Or at least Bob has learned not to be so vocal about it. See Berserk Button above.)
- Finally inverted with Bob. He's so dedicated to game that he lost his job as a claims adjuster, got kicked out of his fathers house and now lives with his girlfriend while working at a game shop for surplus product. So he is frequently shown wearing an apron while she sits and reads the paper.
- The Swear Jar: Patty, a kindergarten teacher, maintains one for her gaming group Patty's Perps.
- Taken for Granite: Brian's character is turned to stone by a medusa in "The Stone Menagerie".
- Talking Weapon: Carvin' Marvin and Tremble. And all the PCs really wish they couldn't.
- Tar and Feathers: Happens to the Knights' HackBeard characters (except for Sara) when their crew mutinies in yet another The Dog Bites Back moment in "Justice on the High Seas".
- And Knobby Foot gets tarred and feathered during The Bag Wars Saga.
- That Came Out Wrong: B.A.'s repeated line of "I've got wood for sheep" while playing Settlers of Catan.
- Token Good Teammate: Again, Sara. Debatably Gordo for the Black Hands.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: When the Knights play Scream of Kachooloo, Brian advises burning every book because they are always one of these. Of course, considering what happened in the last game...
Dave: But that was a traveler's guide to Boise!
- Too Clever by Half: Brian. He always presses for maximum advantage in his schemes which makes forgetting something almost inevitable.
- Total Party Kill: A frequent occurrence.
- Tranquil Fury: B.A. gets like this when his players go too far with mistreating NPCs or derailing his campaign.
- In what doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome for B.A., after his group lost a paintball war with the Black Hands which he had timidly opted out of, he kidnaps Gordo, steals his Dalek costume and infiltrates the Black Hands victory celebration to take them out Guns Akimbo at point blank range. He earns the respect of his group after that incident.
- The Trope Formerly Known as X:
"Will 'The Character Formerly Known as the Man With No Name' and now associated with this symbol please be advised that he has inexplicably attracted the unbridled wrath of the Gawds and has just been turned into a newt!!"
- The Trope Without a Title: Dave's 'Man With No Name' character which quickly devolves into The Trope Formerly Known as X.
- True Companions: The Knights may bicker and fight with each other, but heaven help you if you humiliate one of them.
- Averted by the Black Hands; they're just that dysfunctional.
- Tsundere: Sheila Horowitz. Sara is a more subdued version.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: When Heidi Jackson comes to power. She rushes a new edition of Hackmaster out the door that incites riots, firing half of the original Hard Eight team while she works. Essentially it's an attempt at satirizing Lorraine Williams and the last days of TSR.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: The Black Hands try charging a heavily armed enemy fortification in the open. As Nitro is getting ready to mow them down, Newt asks if he remembered to factor in the series of evasive Kirk shoulder rolls they were performing.
- Unstoppable Rage: Don't mess with pack apes, touch Bob's dice, or mess with 7/8 of the Game Masters in this comic. You will get punished.
- The Vamp: Bridget Keating, a beautiful woman who wears skimpy costumes at conventions and delights in using her appearance to manipulate the "geeks" (not least by involving them in the LARP Vampyres: Lords of Darkness and then using them for manual labor).
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: In issue #181, Sara gets hold of the infamous cursed die Fitz and keeps it away from the rest of the knights by dropping it down her cleavage and zipping up her catsuit.
- Villain Protagonist: The Untouchable Trio, even though they think they're Knights in Shining Armor.
- Villain Sue: "R-R-RED GURDY PICKENS?!"
- The Voice: B.A.'s mom (although she has appeared in some of the non-canon strips by the Brothers Grinn [and is smokin' hawt!])
- Wax Museum Morgue: "The Stone Menagerie"
- We Win Because You Didn't: Brian wins a bet against Stevil this way.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: According to Jolly, this is the end result of drinking Mojo Dave's mojo juice.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Subverted repeatedly for comic effect. Even when B.A. stops the game to rant at length about what evil bastards his players are being, his players (except for Sara) ignore him.
- A more straight example comes when Brian is called out for exploiting Bob's addiction to tabletop gaming even when he's in a bad financial situation.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Johnny Kizinski names his youngest son Frodo after convincing his wife that it was the name of a relative of his from 'the old country' who died fighting the Russians.
- Women Are Wiser: Sara throughout the series (though BA is not far behind her). Especially pronounced in Sheila's relationship with Bob.
- Worthy Opponent: Despite the combative relationship between players and DM, the Knights ultimately see B.A. as one of the few gamemasters who will push them to their limits without being unfair or tyrannical.
- Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming whenever Pete has to remind B.A. of such.
- Xanatos Gambit: Brian's 10-page wish: Even though his character was killed anyway, the contract rewinded time, voided the wish, and gave Teflon Billy 10,000 gold.
- Xenofiction: B.A. designs an RPG in which players assume the roles of dogs.
- You Fail Physics Forever: B.A.'s insistence during a Sci-Fi game that hydrogen is an exceedingly rare element when Brian tries to use the ships ram scoops for refueling. Even Dave knew this was wrong. While Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, it's called the "Vacuum of Space" for a reason - Brian was trying to pull a fast one...
- Actually, B.A. was objecting to the idea of scooping a planet's oceans and hydrolyzing the water, making it more a case of You Fail Chemistry Forever.
- Your Costume Needs Work: Gary Jackson gets third place in a Gary Jackson lookalike contest. Of course, he was supposed to be dead at the time.
- Zorro Mark: The cover of Knights Of The Dinner Table #26 "The Mask of El Ravager" show what happens when the Knights attempt this stunt.