You find yourself in a mysterious digital realm filled with cat pictures, reaction GIFS, unboxing videos, relics of a once great art known as “Vine” and… Dungeons & Dragons memes of the most savage order! What do you do? The correct answer, weary adventurer, is to gather and present them for all to see — preferably in a list-based format like this one. Dungeons & Dragons, the original table-top fantasy roleplaying game, was created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974. Since its inception, the game has gone through several evolutionary phases — from the first to currently fifth editions — with new authored tales and additional features keeping the franchise fresh.
D&D has also gone through phases of popularity. Its initial burst of mass interest was tempered quickly by it being labelled hopelessly uncool by bullies, and the rise of video games put a dent in the attraction of imaginary analogue worlds over the years. Nowadays, as geeky interests have become less mockable in mainstream culture, and the invasion of glowing screens painfully unavoidable, board and tabletop gaming escapism is on the rise. Shows like The Big Bang Theory, Community and Stranger Things have helped remind wider audiences of D&D‘s existence, while D&D-based shows like Harmon Quest and Critical Role serve as proof of a growing, renewed interest in actually playing it. Another strong indicator is the sheer volume of D&D-related memes online, encapsulating the universal highs, lows and LOLs of playing the world’s best-loved tabletop fantasy RPG.
15. HEALING TROMBONE
For fans of both wrestling and D&D (of which there are probably many) this one is a particularly funny crossover treat. Bards, of course, combine magic and music to inspire, heal, protect or deal damage. Depending on their chosen college — Lore, Valor and Glamor, for instance — they can become more proficient in certain skills to fulfil a certain role within the party, or try their hand at a bit of everything.
It’s always pretty funny to picture a character breaking out a drum, lute, fiddle, etc. in the middle of a heated battle to provide some extra firepower or bring an ally back from the brink of death, which this meme captures perfectly. And something as ludicrous as a trombone is definitely something that would come with a similarly farfetched backstory.
14. WHICH ONE IS THE D20 AGAIN?
Hey, we’ve all been there. (And if you haven’t, then what on earth are you waiting for?) This scathing meme has universal appeal because we’ve all been one of these two types: either the weary-eyed mother dog weaning a bunch of unanointed first-timers or the eager pups desperately trying to make sense of character sheets and any dice that has more or less than six sides.
For the experienced, spreading the gospel of the greatest tabletop fantasy role-playing game is always a fun prospect to begin with… until you actually sit down for that first, snail-paced game. You’ll likely either end up with a bunch of happy converts eager to play again, or a group of dead characters who failed to learn any of the rules properly. Or, maybe something in-between.
13. TPK? LOL!
Dungeon/Game Masters (otherwise known as DMs or GMs) are supposed to be the neutral forces guiding you through a world that — excluding maps and models — you effectively only see through their descriptions. It often feels like your character’s life hangs in the balance with the DM’s decisions exacting great reward or great punishment on them.
This means DMs can sometimes appear to be more like wrathful gods than the fair and balanced hands of fate rolling for random outcomes as this meme illustrates, especially if your entire party is wiped out. “I’ve been rolling so well tonight!” The DM gleefully remarks in the wake of a bloody Total Party Kill, and then tells the frustrated players exactly what they should have done instead had they been less busy getting killed.
12. ADVENTURE AWAITS!
Getting into D&D can be both a nervewracking and exciting experience. If you’re sitting in for a taster session among a group of experienced players, it can feel like being invited into another culture’s home for dinner. You sit around a table while likeminded people speak in terms that sound completely alien to you, while you stare at a handful of different dice and hope you don’t roll the wrong one when asked.
What is a subclass? Do we take turns to do everything? Why is “Charisma” a power? Can I play as Legolas? On the other side, being an experienced player extolling the virtues of your favorite past time can feel make you feel like an old Jedi Knight bringing a young Padawan under your tutelage. This meme also proves that there is undoubtedly a SpongeBob SquarePants screenshot for every situation.
11. I HEAR SHE STRUMS A MEAN FLUTE
Obviously, when you roll your d20 you’re hoping for a natural 20 every time to make your character some kind of godlike being that fortune smiles kindly on. Saying that, though failing a check sucks, it can also lead to the funniest outcomes, making the game far more entertaining. Even more funny is failing a check that you should have absolutely passed.
Playing your instrument correctly is obviously something that should come naturally to a bard but if you’re unlucky enough to roll a one, the DM has to get creative with exactly how you fail at it so hard. Maybe you overexert yourself and beat a hole through your drumskin, or perhaps you accidentally inhale rather than exhale and end up swallowing your entire harmonica. Bad for the game but good for the funnies!
10. WHO PUT THAT TWIG THERE?!
You know those unfortunate times when it’s imperative for the whole party to be stealthy as possible and, of course, just one person fails the check. Suddenly, you’re tip-toeing past an encampment of orcs or a horde of goblins and someone gets a tickle in their throat, or can’t contain a sneeze, or trips on a rock that seems to appear from nowhere and falls as loudly as possible.
Instead of avoiding a big battle, you’re faced with the fight of your life because of one bad dice roll. If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching the 1998 Disney classic, Mulan, that’s where this highly appropriate screenshot is from. It’s definitely an under-appreciated Disney film and this particular quote is even more obscure, so props to whoever thought of it and then put this perfect D&D meme together.
9. THE BLOODTHIRST IS REAL
Some players absolutely live for the role-playing aspects of D&D, while others… others are just there to smash through stuff. It can be difficult playing a game that usually relies on teamwork for survival, especially when there are opposing individual concerns competing to be heard. D&D doesn’t just have to be about fighting and dungeon crawling.
If you want, you can build a new life for your character in a permanent homestead and rely on your good nature and charisma to keep you out of real trouble. But, when a session becomes heavy on roleplaying or travelling from one place to the next with little action, there are also those who are chomping at the bit to sink their axe or sword into something instead.
8. IS THAT THE PLOT OVER THERE?
Some of the best D&D memes are clever fan-edits of the old guidebooks like this one. From the more simplistic black and white pictures to the highly-detailed, full color pieces that decorate them today, D&D books have always been splendidly illustrated. You could easily sneak the newer ones amongst your coffee table collection amongst more “high brow” stuff.
The covers of the late ’70s, early ’80s books have perhaps the greatest nostalgic appeal today; their fantasy-realism style setting the standard for all future brand visuals for the game’s publishers and similar tabletop RPG makers. This meme also affectionately mocks those moments in D&D adventures where the story actively pulls your party away from listlessness. In D&D, danger is usually something to run towards, not away from.
7. THE SCENT OF FANTASY
There’s nothing like coming home from a hard day at work yawning through meetings and making inane small talk than diving into a world of fantasy. Sure, we all enjoy doing the normal wind-down stuff — vegging in front from the TV; taking a hot bath; having a drink or two. But, there’s nothing quite like the fully immersive gaming experience of D&D to take your mind off the real world.
Even the most involving video games struggle to provide the level of escapism that active role-playing with a group of friends can if you’re really invested. Though, as pictured, if you’re also partial to soaking your weary, questing feet, d20 bath bombs are actual things you can buy from those in the nerdy, crafty business. Don’t expect them to materialize gaming manuals though.
6. IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK… OH, WAIT
Hilarious as this meme is, it also accurately conveys the real fright a Mimic can give you. As the name — and meme — suggests, if you’ve never had the displeasure of accidentally leaning on, standing on or trying to open one, they are creatures of shapeless form who adapt like demented chameleons to blend into their surroundings. They’re most commonly found disguised enticingly as treasure chests.
While in disguise, it’s virtually impossible to tell a Mimic apart from any other normal object and it sticks itself to anything in this form. They sit, like venus fly traps, waiting for their unaware prey to stumble into their mouths. And they have one hell of a bite. Being attacked by one of these will likely leave your character with some PTSD about furniture for a while.
5. POINTS FOR EFFORT
Sometimes, talking your way out of a fight or avoiding one from ever starting is just as impressive as winning one. You can try and Jedi mind trick an antagonist with a Deception check. You can try and flirt your way past someone with a Charisma check. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you can try and scare an enemy out of your way with an Intimidation check.
Of course, failure at the latter will almost certainly begin a fight faster than you might have ended it. To be fair, the boys illustrating this meme aren’t especially intimidating on purpose. They’re most likely copying the Ginyu Force’s signature pose from Dragon Ball, which was supposed to be a bit of a fail anyway, parodying the action poses struck by the Power Rangers.
4. NOTHING GETS PAST MY CHARACTER
It would be impossible to list the Internet’s best D&D memes without at least one nod to its supreme co-creator, Gary Gygax. Gary Gyax memes are plentiful but this one — combining accurate experience, a funny punchline and adorable animals — wins really on just about every level. It also plays into the whole comedy of how ludicrous situations can become when you critically fail a check.
But, the randomness of the dice rolls is what keep the game interesting and even the most experienced players with the most powerful characters on their toes. You as a player might suspect that the DM is definitely concocting some fiendish plan behind your back but without the luck of the dice on your side, your character will be none the wiser.
3. SQUAD GOALS
What’s this? Is the military mining new strategic ideas from tabletop fantasy role-playing games? And if so, would that be an amazing or terrible idea? Entering a battlefield clutching an acoustic guitar would definitely perplex the enemy. Confuse them with an unusual item, then knock them out with a sudden Thunderclap. It looks like the “Bard” might be whispering some Bardic Inspiration to the Ranger, too.
This meme also proves how, once D&D becomes a part of your life, you start seeing it everywhere — as if you’re seeing through imaginary D&D goggles. When you think about it, any group of characters on TV, film or even real life friendship groups, can be easily broken down into races and classes, even without the telltale accessories that these soldiers are sporting.
2. MEESA THINK YOU ROLLED BADLY
There are far too many Gary Gygax memes to just include one on this list. This one gets extra Internet points for hating on an easy target too — Phantom Menace‘s Jar Jar Binks. After all, rolling a one results in the worst possible outcome, and arguably the only thing worse than Qui Gon and Obi Wan running into that dimwitted Gungun would be both of them accidentally falling on their own lightsabers.
There are probably already plenty of home-brewed Star Wars D&D games out there already. How would you concoct a Jedi? Maybe a Monk/Wizard multi-class? Go the Halfling or Goblin route for someone like Yoda. Add a little Chaotic in there if there’s the potential they could go turn to the Dark Side and start murdering children (or their own fathers…)
1. SUCH BRAVERY
According to Know Your Meme, the “I Too Like To Live Dangerously” meme dates back to a Reddit post from 2012. Redditor Kcazaa used this quote from the 1997 Austin Powers movie alongside his post, “Every time I see people doing math with a pen.” The post ended up with thousands of upvotes and comments, birthing the perfect meme to approve of small acts of absolute (non-)badassery.
Similarly to its original usage, this D&D meme is all about nerds armed with pens living life on the edge. Your hit points are in permanent ink, are they? That’s just begging for a random encounter. Of course, scribbling in pen all over a new character sheet is usually the mistake of an overly eager first-timer rather than an over-confident pro. Best to do a re-write and have an eraser ready, newbie.
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