Comedy - DM: do you integrate it in your game at all?


Gamer Life General Discussion


Well, I tried a search but didin't find anything exactly like this question, so...

1) Do you allow comic relief in your sessions? If so, how often?

2) Do you think it "spoils the mood"? Why?

Myself, I do allow comic reliefs. I believe I got this from too much anime, where I learned that a character can be heroic and still a spaz fom time to time.

So, I do have a big plot going on. It's a heroic tale, full of twists and (sometimes) dark mood.

But then again I make some "sidequests" where the mood is lighter, there's laughter all around and I think it's great. for example: to make a sidequest, my characters were given "straw hats of peasantry", magic hats that gave them the appearance of rednecks of any region they go, incidently giving them a small boost in HP (2 + 1 each other lvl). We laughed our guts out at the indignant paladin/noble of the group. He screamed at how devilish a item is, if it gives him hp at the price of looking like a... well... peasant.

So, I find the balance between heroic and comedy to be a great tool. It lighten the mood sometimes, it is fun and everybody (except the paladin, maybe) gets a laugh.

So, what about you guys? Anything to share?

Cheers!


Comedy is a spice. The correct amount can make all the difference in the world. The complete absence makes it bland, but don't overdo it, and it is not for everything.

Dark Archive

Our games, since 2nd edition, have had the 'curse of the snarky sidekick.'

It really doesn't matter who is GMing, if anyone has a familiar, henchman, intelligent weapon, etc. that is able to communicate out loud, it will on rare occasions (maybe only once per session, since such things get old fast) say something sarcastic.

But even that is reactionary humor, which tends to write itself, we don't go out of our way to make things funnier than they aleady get, due to dice rolls, whacky choices, etc.

Contributor

I allow comedy in my games if it's actually funny.

One of my players is currently playing an oracle who's an old half-blind gnomish lawyer who went out to do the grand tour at least once before he died and ended up falling in with these adventurers. There's a great deal of fun in him pettifogging about whether they have the legal right to do this or that action, but this is humor that all springs from character.

I don't allow ADHD kender-pookah-ragabash-malkavian types who mistake "annoying and disruptive" for "funny."

Take it from someone who's written comedy professionally: If people aren't laughing, it's not funny.


Because of my respective group of players, at least one of the campaigns I'm running is pure goofing off. Since it's fun for everyone involved, it's great.

In my other campaign, which I run for my parents, it alternates. All of my NPCs have some sort of sense of humor, but I don't go out of my way for comedy. My dad's character, however, does, and it's great (partly because he always has terrible rolls). Then my mom's character gets sarcastic about it... so, yeah, that game's pretty lighthearted too.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My games tend to gravitate to "Epic Fantasy Comedy with Elements of Horror and Suspense" anyway. Since everybody (me included) is rolling on the floor laughing, and nobody complains that we should be playing DARK DUNGEONS & SERIOUS DRAGONS, I guess it turns out OK.

There were moments where I actually managed to conjure a horror mood, or so I like to think (Foxglove Manor, Graul Family), but that's more like an interruption in the regular "D&D is silly to begin with, so let's roll with that" schedule.

Luckily, I play in a rather depressingly grim W:tA game with most of my team, so it fills out our weekly grimdark dose.


Yucale wrote:

Because of my respective group of players, at least one of the campaigns I'm running is pure goofing off. Since it's fun for everyone involved, it's great.

In my other campaign, which I run for my parents, it alternates. All of my NPCs have some sort of sense of humor, but I don't go out of my way for comedy. My dad's character, however, does, and it's great (partly because he always has terrible rolls). Then my mom's character gets sarcastic about it... so, yeah, that game's pretty lighthearted too.

Well, on the last campaign... sometimes I do go out of the way for comedy. The Mysterious Voice which my players are sort of scared of is just an invisible pseudodragon (sp?) posing as a powerful ghost.


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Yeah we always use comedy in our games, it's like ingrained in us. one guy ran us in a world of darkness campaign and he was baffled at how we refused to be dark, grim, moody or whatever. He re-dubbed it as the "world of insufficient light" campaign instead.


jlord wrote:
Yeah we always use comedy in our games, it's like ingrained in us. one guy ran us in a world of darkness campaign and he was baffled at how we refused to be dark, grim, moody or whatever. He re-dubbed it as the "world of insufficient light" campaign instead.

Twilighthearted

Dark Archive

In my group I'm the GM for games like Spelljammer and Ghostbusters. To say there there is "some humor" is putting it mildly. We recorded a podcast about our first Ghostbusters game and all the fun we had with that. I'm currently running a new one (it's our GURPS test game) set in LA.

Humor is one of those things that you can't force as a GM, not without everyone playing being on board with the idea.
==
AKA 8one6


On of our players is freaking hilarious his take on a semi-mentally functioning (int=7) gnome is dead on. He is so deadpan that I am cracking up most of the game. No one calls him on it because it is inline with the character and he is funny. He doesn't go out of his way to crack a joke but never passes up the opportunity for his fast talking gnome to say something. He reminds me of the girls from clueless...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

My players have a lot of trouble keeping things serious. I think it comes from the party fighter being completely irreverent combined with some accidental jokes at the start. Now the party is a wisecracking bunch that gets me laughing every game, and I play my NPCs off them even when things are supposed to be serious. Character death and traitorous NPCs seem to be the only thing that gives them pause.

Still, it gives us great jokes, like the party name. St. Arbucks Avengers, featuring Chesty the Mimic.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Interesting question (and responses). I play with a couple different groups.

I'd say personally I enjoy comedy as long as it's topical and basically in-character. If a PC wants his character to do something stylishly, so be it. If the character says something clever and amusing, so be it. If a party is full of misfits who bumble their way through life and adventure, again so be it.

What I don't like is two things: 1} the stupid and 2} the off-topic. It kind of bothers me when a D&D session turns into a recitation of "that funny awesome bit from LotR" or twenty minutes of Monty Python. Yes, the black knight's got to limbs. Yes, that is funny. No, now is not the time.

This introspection is interesting to me because I also realize I don't mind off-topic discussion from time to time. Contradiction, right? Dunno. "That reminds me..." doesn't bother me. But streams of movie quotes do. "One time, I had a half-orc in this situation and he solved it with prune-juice, let me tell you how." That's fine. But explaining how you know how to survive indefinitely in the fire-swamps comfortably, then giving me half of The Princess Bride... please no.


my games are often not too serious. Altough I have to say that the "roleplaying" comes perhaps a little short, but as long as everyone has fun, it's okay.

example: someone rolled a natural 1 on a knowledge check (I houserule critical failure for skills) and the character thinks that a conspiracy of white mice is behind everything.
Everyone loved it.

However if I realize that someone wants to be more serious, I will get that tone too. But I never force anyone to be serious, it's a game to be enjoyed.


Good to see most of you agress that comedy is a powerful tool in the game.

If nothing else, it makes the serious moments more serious =D

Not overdoing is important, but the DM can control it somewhat, while still keeping it fun for everyone.


Anguish wrote:
It kind of bothers me when a D&D session turns into a recitation of "that funny awesome bit from LotR" or twenty minutes of Monty Python. Yes, the black knight's got to limbs. Yes, that is funny. No, now is not the time.

I keep large, blunt objects handy (and have had to use them) because my son is bad to do this very thing - ALL the time, not just during games. Kinda funny, because the ONE GAME he wanted to be serious was the one where two players we'd not seen in months (3 hrs away) came up to visit. The adults drank adult beverages and THEN tried to play with pre-gen characters. Hilarity ensued. He was not amused.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I re-wrote--and SANG--the Ballad of Jayne Cobb for one of my campaigns. I had to rhyme yrthaks with Max at one point. (The PC was called Max.)

And now the markets in that campaign are being flooded with candles shaped like Max, since the crappy town where he's a folk hero is famous for their beeswax candles and magical honey.

In another campaign I'm a player in, my PC has a 14 Int/8 Wis/18 Cha, so he thinks he's smart enough to come up with amazing plans, he's charismatic enough for people to actually listen to him and follow along, and he's horrible at coming up with common sense solutions.

The DM also put us up against a bunch mercenaries, and one of them "wasn't paid to get killed," so he basically talked his way out of us introducing him to the pointy ends of our blades AND got a free lunch out of the deal. "You can't kill me, I wasn't paid for that."

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Greg Wasson wrote:
jlord wrote:
Yeah we always use comedy in our games, it's like ingrained in us. one guy ran us in a world of darkness campaign and he was baffled at how we refused to be dark, grim, moody or whatever. He re-dubbed it as the "world of insufficient light" campaign instead.
Twilighthearted

OMG!

Do your vampires twinkle???

:-P


Anguish wrote:


What I don't like is two things: 1} the stupid and 2} the off-topic. It kind of bothers me when a D&D session turns into a recitation of "that funny awesome bit from LotR" or twenty minutes of Monty Python. Yes, the black knight's got to limbs. Yes, that is funny. No, now is not the time.

If you ever walk into a potion shoppe with a bard playing a bouzouki and two others dancing, save yourself the five and a half minutes and just walk right out...

Spoiler:
They don't have any potions at all...

Owl's wisdom? ...No.
Barkskin? ...No.
Cure light wounds? ...not much call for it 'round here sir.


Every game I've played or Gmd has had a sense of humor. Not always rediculous, and I'm not fond of the constant Monty Python/Hitchhikker's Guide Refernces, but RPGs are almost always funny at some point.

Look at ROTR. The goblins, as nasty as they are, are HILARIOUS!

And sometimes, dumb luck factors in. We had a paladin who kept falling off the cliffs at Thistletop. After the second time, it became something of a running joke.

And sometimes, players make poor decisions that lead to comedy gold.


I run a campaign that alternates with another GM who runs Kingmaker.

In order to make things lighthearted between our daily dose of getting murdered by Will-O-Wisps and Owlbears, my campaign is set in a completely homebrew setting where the world itself is aware of and acts upon the tropes within it. As a result, it holds a mix of high fantasy adventure, killing undead abominations, dealing with political intrigue, and dodging flying jokes which are often as stupid as they are plentiful.

It appears to be an effective GMing style; the party is enjoying themselves immensely.


I typically don't put comedy in my games because the PCs I ran for found comedy in every-stupid-thing and couldn't go 5 minutes without a an annoying quote or crack. If I ever play with a more serious group, I may add comedy.

Scarab Sages

I've never found the need to intentionally add comedy to the game. There is so much about fantasy roleplay that is inherently ridiculous that the comedy pretty much happens on its own.

In our last session the party was asked to attend a state ball complete with fancy attire. The barbarian was less than enthusiastic about having to put on a ridiculous party dress and leave her weapons at the door, so the wizard cast "Shrink Item" on her greataxe so that she could hide it in her skirts, just in case. Of course, there was only a matter of time before there was an assassination attempt and chase scene that involved a raging madwoman in a ballgown barreling through a crowded dance floor with a while waving a large axe. :P


My players are unanimously possessed of a dry wit or potty humor with excellent timing.

I don't need to add comedy, they get a great laugh just being themselves. Whenever an adventure tries to be humorous, I think they feel robbed of the chance to make their own fun, and the humor falls flat.


we have become a parody, a cross between Douglas Adams/Terry Pratchet and Leslie Nielson Naked Gun with some Airplane. And its best done with a straight face. We've tried being all serious, but after 20 years and stressful jobs, we just need to laugh while we play.


I never intentionally add comedy, because it always comes up on it's own. Someone will mis-hear a comment, think it was dirty, and start giggling, or any number of other funny things will happen, and I rarely feel that they distract from the game.

I've occasionally had a player to takes it too far, and just act silly all the time, but I don't usually play with those folks.


I aim generally for a pretty hardcore simulationist take in my games. Ever seen a band of soldiers that DIDN'T joke around, at least at the level of gallows humor? Lots of people are funny, and even more have some sense of humor, if only for the purpose of deflecting pain. And, let's face it, lots of people are incompetent as well--by definition half are below average. This too contributes humor. Even the gods must sometimes have a sense of humor, and always a keen sense of irony.


We have a good deal of comedy in our games. Be it completely in character or out of character referring to the game.

We have a player who got so drunk that he was useless for a mission. We put him in a boat and shoved it into a lake...without paddles. He also coudn't swim.

Also, I have had my own character capture a weaselly thief, and instead of taking them to the authorities, decided he would be off better used at the whore house since they employed no mean to service women (she had been turned down earlier in the campaign for nookie).

We had a character who had emerged from a necklace (was trapped) that was in the possession of my barbarian. Being that the necklace was, "Mine," she refereed to this character as, "Mine," throughout the rest of the campaign instead of his actual name. Not to mention reminding him that has her possession he's not allowed to make any choices of importance.

I have a character who is a bug bear rights activist...yes.

Among others. Insults run rampant as well.


A day without laughter is a sad sad day in my three gaming groups.

I have only one person who is in all three and he is amazed that some of the sillyness is not repeated in each group.

Another saying is "If we're not having fun, why are we doing it?"

While I don't try to write any humor in, tried it way back in the early days and major failure, I let it roll off the players and ride it like a good wave. When it breaks, you let it go and get back to paddling.

It's all about....

Have Fun out there!!

~ W ~


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Even if you avoid comedy in the game itself, there's bound to be funny things that happen from the perspective of the players watching their characters scurry.

Shadow Lodge

I never add comedy itself, but will capitalize on things that amuse the players. I usually run them into the ground. If an important NPC becomes accident prone, for example, then he usually winds up being tasked with carrying the 'vial of all problem solving' across the room...


When I GM, I rarely intentionally insert humor into the campaign. It just happens as the characters or I do (sometimes unintentionally) funny stuff.

The critical hit and critical fumble decks that I use also inject a fair amount of humor into the game, particularly if you get descriptive about the effects. Nothing like the dragon missing the paladin and ramming his head full bore into the castle wall, stunning himself Jerry Lewis-style to get my folks giggling.


We tend to change the tone suddenly, even from round to round if appropriate - even if genrally the tone is adventure or scene based.

Comedy has a big role, becaus players enjoy it and directly produce it.

I recognize a lot my gamestyle in what Gorbacz said above (it causes some trouble now since it's our first Too Damn Serious Campaing TM).


Comedy IS the game. We've had:

* - Characters and NPCs named things like Thunderfingers Spreebok and Shethubus
* - A miner NPC (Rory) who outmined a colony of dwarves by tunnelling with pick in each hand through a mountain at Bugs Bunny speeds
* - A fuzzy feral half-orc (Shump) who could only count to 1 but yet owned a shipping company and did all the ledgers, resulting in a mountain of books filled with invoivces like "Marty Understone - owes 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 gold pieces."
* - The Vulgar Dwarf (TM). A dwarven preacher (no cleric levels, just a lay preacher - levels-wise he's a fighter) who, despite being the most vile and disgusting character around, manages to be THE hero of the campaign - he also has a snake-oil salesman type cart proclaiming "Daern Stonefist - Weddings Performed, Armor Forged, Undead Vanquished - Reasonable Rates!"
* - A town (Ranthris) that has the Geographical Anamoly Template (See O Brother, Where Art Thou?) - it's two weeks from everywhere.
* - Now that we have ejected not one but two really whiny people with nasal voices from our group, I've regularly been including NPCs with the same kinds of voices for the PCs to slaughter.
* - A Rastafarian Wookie Jedi (That was mine - His name is Fro-Rinn-Pyrr-Ovaa, He developed a lightsaber style called Sno-Arra - "Fast Fur")
* - Lawful Good Justiciars who use homeless alcoholic halflings as bait for dire sharks
* - An elderly drow mage who has an obsession for red moss
* - The baddest group of goblin NPCs EVER! So awesome that we're planning a spin-off campaign where we each play one of them. Gold Squad of the Redfoot Goblin tribe, headquartered in the Verduran Forest in Taldor. The party got split into groups of 2, 3, and 1 after a couple of roleplay events and planned to meet in Wispil. The 1 - an elf wizard, level 3 - agreed to escort Gold Squad to Wispil and act as a trade envoy to sell off and buy some goods since, you know, they're goblins and don't want to get slaughtered walking into town. Along the way, two dire wolves attack. The mage goes down, unconscious, after one round. Gold Squad, on the other hand, scores ten crits in a row and slaughters the wolves. The mage woke up much later to find the goblins were escorting him instead - on a litter made of wolf bones.

That's really just the tip of the iceberg.


Alex_br wrote:

Good to see most of you agress that comedy is a powerful tool in the game.

If nothing else, it makes the serious moments more serious =D

Not overdoing is important, but the DM can control it somewhat, while still keeping it fun for everyone.

OI ALEX QUE BOM ENCONTRAR UM JOGADOR DO BRASIL,

ME CHAMO JÚLIO , MORO NO RIO DE JANEIRO E ATUALMENTE ESTOU MESTRANDO AGE OF WORMS COM AS REGRAS DO PATHFINDER.

SERIA ÓTIMO COMPARTILHAR EXPERIÊNCIAS DE JOGO.

UM ABRAÇO.


My game tends to be serious, but we have our moments. I don't put comedy in the story on purpose, but sometimes it just happens. We (me and my players) all have very active imaginations, and sometimes one player (and even me sometimes) will say something so outrageously funny that we'll hysterically laugh ouselves silly for like fifteen minutes. That's when I usually call a piss-break or something.

Even then, we may still have the giggles for an hour or so.

I don't hate it when those situations happen. I'm a funny guy and love to laugh. Such memorable moments they are. lol

Ultradan


Comedy just happens at the gaming tables I've been at. Four different cities in the last 20 years and with numerous groups. Any group that I've played with for any length of time comedy happens. But it happens naturally. There is no overt attempt by anyone to be a comedy spotlight. It just happens naturally.

EDIT: And speaking as a GM who has run some intentially designed comedic encounters before...the best way to run those as the GM is completely the straight-faced and serious. A great GM runs these encounters describes the action and plays the character in a completely serious manner and leaves any hilatirty that might ensue for the players to laugh and enjoy at.


I'm a variety is the spice of life type DM. There is not always comedy but sometimes it just comes up and, if I get an idea I think is funny I am more then willing to throw it in.

A good example of this is a song and dance routine I did for my players some time back. They where down in some mines and triggered a zombie apocalypse when the zombies are approaching I stand up and break out with:

Brains...brains...[switch voice to Broadway Musical style]...Braaaiiinnns.
Please sirs can we have your brains.
So tender and juicy, falls straight from the skull...we want brains.
Won't you let us have your brains.
You weren't really using them anyway!

At this point the players broke out with "Oh, dis" and the fight was on.

Dark Archive

It depends, if it's creative and fresh sure, but it's the same old tired lame lines I'll slap my forehead.

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