If your table is anything like mine, then you love a good pop culture reference. It’s something of an informal tradition in my group that each session must contain at least one Lord of the Rings and one Monty Python joke. As a matter of fact, when we were first starting out this comic years ago, one of the very first scripts I wrote was on the subject. For the sake of posterity:

Text: Forsake not the customs of thy people. Recite therefore the ancient jests of the shrubbery, the holy hand grenade, and the dread word “ni.”
Pic: A horrible monster has ripped Fighter’s arm off. Thief recoils in horror.
Thief: Fighter! Your arm!
Fighter: Just a flesh wound. I’m invincible!
Scrollover: You’re a loony.

That was also the first script Laurel ever tossed in the “Rejected” bin.

“It’s too obvious,” she said. And you know what, gang? I think she was right. The best pop culture references are subtle ones, and it’s easy for them to become obnoxious when they become too plentiful. Movie references in particular can creep in all over the place, even when you don’t want them.

Case in point, I once thought to make a cool goblin cabin boy character for a “D&D meets Pirates of the Caribbean” game. I’ve mentioned this goblin a time or two in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever told you his origin story. As is my habit, I decided to base the PC off of an existing character template, in this case the only other goblin cabin boy of my acquaintance. My take on the character was a stowaway from England, and so he needed an English name. To my American ears, Terrence sounded like a good start. And after a bit of scrolling through the big list of English Surnames, my eye alighted on Gilliam.

“Terrence Gilliam,” I said to myself. “That’s got a nice ring to it.”

You may not believe me when I tell you it was an accident. Certainly my DM didn’t.

“Oh,” he said when I told him. “It’s going to be one of those games. I see how it is.”

Hand to God though, I didn’t know what he was talking about. I just laughed and nodded along like you do when you don’t understand a joke. It was only when I got home later and googled the name that I realized what I’d done. At least we wouldn’t have to work too hard making Monty Python references for the rest of that campaign.

What about the rest of you guys? Have you ever seen movie references intrude into a game where they weren’t wanted? On the other hand, have you got any especially awesome ones to share? Let’s hear your tales dwarf tossing and sword-based systems of government down in the comments!


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