There’s an unwritten rule in my group. Every session must contain at least on Lord of the Rings reference and one Monty Python reference. If we’re approaching the end of the night and neither giant eagles nor Trojan rabbits have put in an appearance, my players begin to eye one another nervously. They begin wondering when the unladen swallows and the po-ta-toes and the series’ respective bridge tenders will rear their hoary heads. We actually touched on the subject of movie references way back when, so let’s not retread the topic too badly. Instead, I’d like to use Mr. The Frog’s cameo in today’s comic to talk about a specific kind of movie reference. And in case the destruction of Plotsville wasn’t a dead giveaway, I’m talking about the fightin’ type.

Parody monsters can be tough to nail down. In my experience they’re most often encountered around the holidays, usually in one-shot scenarios that no one will take too seriously anyway. The critters in question might reference a specific IP or represent a whole campaign setting, but I think there are two important points to keep in mind before you deploy your ostensibly-hilarious creations.

  1. Make sure everyone knows the reference. Nothing makes a joke fall flat quite like, “It’s a what now? Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve never seen that show.” There’s a reason that we chose an instantly-recognizable character for today’s comic. Give your players the same courtesy.
  2. Read the room. As Wizard so ably demonstrates, not everybody wants pop culture references lunging out of the darkness to attack. These sorts of monster can be great for lightening the mood around the table, but if you’re not careful you risk breaking immersion rather than providing comic relief.

And so, in the interest of learning how-to-do-it-right, what do you say we share our experiences with comedy critters? What was the encounter like? Was it funny? Did your group kill Scooby-Gnoll by mistake? Tell us all the best and worst of your parody monsters down in the comments!


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