The Dead Alewives' "Dungeons and Dragons"

The Dead Alewives' "Dungeons and Dragons"

Updated Feb 21, 2011 at 11:19AM EST by Masem.

Added Feb 20, 2011 at 04:20PM EST by Masem.

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“Dungeons and Dragons” is the name of audio skit performed by the comedy trope, The Dead Alewives, which, at the time of its creation, mocked the critical nature that games like “Dungeons and Dragons” were receiving from popular media. The audio skit has since gone on to be both an exploitable meme for videos, as well as providing several catchphrases on its own.

The original skit

The skit itself was recorded by the now-defunct comedy trope, The Dead Alewives, on their Take Down the Grand Master album. It is bookended by a man warning of the dangers of D&D, claiming the rest of the audio within is a recording from an actual D&D session to highlight these dangers.

The bulk of the skit is then four people playing D&D, the Dungeonmaster (DM) and two other very novice players, clearly unsure of the rules. While the two players argue with the DM, a fourth player is heard in the background, looking for food while trying to role-play his character.

There is actually a second skit created by the Dead Alewives that follow on this, but it has gained less attention in terms of its meme-ness. It abandons the warning bookends and only focuses on the antics of the novice players.

As a video-exploitable meme

One of the first videos to appear to use the skit was one created by Voilition, Inc., using rendered video of the characters from their game Summoner. It appeared on the Internet around 2000.

Since then, many similar videos have appeared. Like most video-exploitables, the setup only requires a number of clips of four specific characters (five if one includes the bookending warning). Examples pull from a number of existing works:

8-Bit Theater

Stargate Atlantis

Zelda CD-i Games

Sailor Moon

Anime Music Video

The animated Dungeons and Dragons cartoon (so meta!)

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

As a catchphrase meme

The skit itself has produced a number of lines that have become popular on their own. Perhaps the most renown one is the line “I’m attacking the darkness!”, said after the player acting as the wizards casts the Magic Missile spell for no other reason. The game World of Warcraft has a quest based on this phrase, I Shoot Magic Into the Darkness . A similarly named quest exists in Guild Wars, as well as a “+9 knife of ogre-slaying”, a weapon named in the skit. Guild Wars also references the wizard character, “Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light”.

Note that this meme should not be confused with the story of The Dread Gazebo which also features D&D newbies in a particular situation.

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