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Counter Monkey is a Web Video series hosted by Noah Antwiler, also known as The Spoony One. In this series, Spoony recounts various amusing and awesome stories from his Tabletop Game days, as well as offering helpful tips and tricks for other GMs. Recently it began to feature recordings of regular weekly Pathfinder sessions played over Skype, based on the Kingmaker adventure path and starring many of the same players from his other campaign. The name of the series comes from his days of working at a tabletop gaming store: "counter monkeys" was the employees' name for people who would hang around on the counter, never buy anything, but just tell long rambling stories about their characters and campaigns.
Spoony originally wanted to publish it in a book, but it later morphed into a blog (which can be found here, it also has a WordPress site) and eventually into a video series hosted on The Spoony Experiment along with his other reviews. Spoony has also mentioned hosting a weekly podcast or still trying to publish the stories, but these have not yet materialized.
The series can be viewed here.
- And That's Terrible: After relating the tale of the Toilet Pizza: "But honestly, that was like the worst thing I've ever done to somebody... because that was horrible. That was really bad."
- Beware the Nice Ones: "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad". Victory for the Carthians, bitch.
- Born Lucky: Vegan Steve. Out of a shuffled Deck of Many Things that has 11 good cards and 13 bad cards, he draws 11, and the first 10 are all good cards.
- Born Unlucky: The subject of the "Botchamania" video, and in particular Spoony's friend Big Mike.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: Tempus Thales. This turned out badly.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Gary, who knew the game's rules but never could show up on time for any number of reasons, including one occasion where he left the house, then realized he forgot to put on pants.
- Double Weapon: The double club and other impractical weapons from the "Age of Manure" video. Spoony and Sage come up with a bunch more at the end of the video.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: "Tandem's Last Ride."
- Likewise, the Thieves' World players who earned their victory over Tempus Thales.
- Enemy Mine: The Shadowrunners of "The Squirt Gun Wars" become such a nuisance that the Mega Corps unionize to fight against them.
- Eureka Moment: During "Tandem's Last Ride", when he realizes Compelling Voice is at work and uses Countersong to drown it out and save everyone.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Dungeonland, a D&D module based on Alice in Wonderland, along with other modules penned by Gary Gygax. The GM for the game recounted in "Tandem's Last Ride" buffed up the enemies to provide a challenge for the higher-levelled player characters, but the Mad Hatter and March Hare were still fairly high-level in the original module.
- Eye Scream: In the campaign based on Thieves' World, the players enrage and humiliate Tempus Thales so much that he skull-fucks an NPC to death in retaliation. Even Spoony himself was horrified when he did this.
- Facial Horror: Tempus Thales in the Thieves' World campaign. Not only does he take acid to the face, but the goddess he serves revokes his regenerative powers until he redeems his utter humiliation, and because the PCs continually foil his plans to do so, she makes it worse!
- The Food Poisoning Incident / Tampering with Food and Drink: The Toilet Pizza fiasco.
- Foreshadowing: The lax security in "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad" was present from the beginning.
- For Science!: Presumably why Hinsty David created that darn Manure Golem.
- Funny Background Event: Oreo occasionally pops up wanting attention from her master.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Spoony discusses this in the Thieves' World campaign, where, at the end, a group of level 7 characters manage to defeat Tempus Thales; he acknowledges that within the canon of the novels that would never happen, but the players spent (real-world) weeks planning and setting up the battle and exhibited amazing teamwork and foresight, so he felt that they had earned that victory and let them have it regardless of how it broke with the novels.
- Genre Blindness: In the "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad" video, the GM pretty much had it coming when he let Spoony's character make Bathroom Semtex after just permitting his character into being brainwashed into being evil.
- Guile Anti-Villains: The players of the Thieves' World campaign, playing so smart that they earned their victory in Spoony's eyes.
- Hoist By Their Own Petards: The players of "The Squirt Gun Wars" got a taste of their own medicine when the Mega Corps unionized against them, using their own DMSO-spewing squirt guns... and hazmat suits.
- Humiliation Conga: Tempus Thales. His Facial Horror at the hands of the party's hands eventually goes into Sanity Slippage territory. Even declaring martial law with the backing of super-elite soldiers fails to get the job done. While he kills two of them in the final battle (but not the one responsible for the Facial Horror), he is paralyzed by his sister and obliterated by the others. Lastly, by the time he'd revive from such annihilation, they'd be long dead and unable to suffer his revenge.
- Inherently Funny Words: The names of the people involved in the Manure Golem backstory in "Age of Manure", Hinsty David and Mr. Mockingham, according to Spoony.
- It Got Worse: The Thieves' World campaign in a nutshell, especially after going Off the Rails.
- Killer Game Master: Spoony laments that most of his sessions end with his players dying gruesomely. This is chalked up more to bad luck than evil intent, though Spoony has admitted that he's a "harsh" DM generally.
- One thing he will not abide is players riffing on the campaign, whether he designed it himself or not. Nice knowing you, dicksmacks.
- In the "Leaping Wizards" video, he says that insultingly-easy encounters, such as fighting three first-level wizards with magic missile as their only spell, are just unfulfilling to the players. This leads to him modifying the above encounter by varying the wizards' spells, which ends up killing a couple of the player characters and led to Spoony getting kicked out of the RPGA.
- A genuine Killer DM, one Gary Gygax, designed Dungeonland, which is the focus of "Tandem's Last Ride".
- And Spoony's appropriately named acquaintance Gary (the "I forgot my pants" guy) was also one, with anyone who played in his campaign becoming resigned to rolling up a new character at least once per session.
- One party that did survive Spoony's campaign only did so by becoming a pack of sadistic, kill-crazy savages, even by Thieves' World standards.
All of a sudden there's pikes shoved up asses, there's piles of heads, there's balls shoved in eye sockets, and I'm like ooooh god!
- Laser-Guided Karma: Vegan Steve ends up dying by pulling the Void card from the Deck of Many Things, an item he obtained by completely screwing the party over. Note that he drew it as his last card out of 11, after his first ten cards were beneficial, and the tenth card allowed him to escape his furious teammembers. It couldn't be more laser-guided than that.
- Lensman Arms Race: "The Squirt Gun Wars", where the introduction of DMSO (which allows any drug to be instantly absorbed through the skin) in Shadowrun leads to the introduction of lethal DMSO drug cocktails and an arms race of super soakers, hi-tech water balloons, and fire hoses.
- Lord British Postulate: Discusses in "All Jedi or No Jedi", when he put a cameo of Darth Vader into a Star Wars campaign just to add flavour, only for his campaign to instantly derail as all his adventurers became obsessed with trying to kill Vader.
- Also the party in "Thieves' World" become obsessed with trying to kill the unkillable Tempus Thales, but in that one it's justified by the predicament they've found themselves in.
- The Magnificent: In "Dungeon Mastering A Great Game", Spoony talks about how this trope can help make characters memorable and flesh them out, especially if the cognomen in question is particularly distinctive, using Game of Thrones as an example.
- This is where his own alias comes from--his character "Tandem the Spoony" was so named because he wanted a cognomen that was a real adjective, but an incredibly obscure one.
- Mass "Oh Crap": The players of Thieves' World as Spoony reveals the Wham! Line's consequence.
- Mood Whiplash: Immediately after describing the above Eye Scream event, he whistles to his dog.
- Never Live It Down: The "Leaping Wizards" incident.
- Not Making This Up Disclaimer: Noah spends a good 15 seconds in "The Importance of Wearing Pants" reassuring us that he's not making up the story about the player who somehow left the house without his pants.
- Not Completely Useless: "Countersong" is a bardic ability that allows the bard to mute over auditory magic. It is virtually never used and often forgotten about, since such attacks are extremely rare, but it saved Tandem's party from a Compelling Voice.
- Off the Rails:
- In "Vegan Steve and the Djinni of Jengai Fomogo".
Vegan Steve: I wish for a Deck Of Many Things!
- Spoony himself does it in "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad". In a Vampire: The Requiem LARP, Spoony's character is railroaded and brainwashed by the other players. His in-character response? Making a bathtub full of Semtex and blowing up the Prince and every other vampire in a one-block radius.
- Pretty much all of the Thieves' World campaign. Spoony's original plan was for the PCs to slowly work their way into Tempus Thales' "favor" and assist him in overthrowing the city. After a textbook example of why not to interrupt the DM (see Wham! Line), the campaign turns into horrifically escalating war of atrocities between Thales and the party.
- One Steve Limit: Averted in the "Vegan Steve" video, where he plays with three different Mikes, and has to give them nicknames to differentiate between them ("Crazy Mike", "Big Mike" and "Store Mike")
- Overprotective Dad: Zeus literally throws Tandem the Spoony off Mount Olympus for macking on his daughter.
- The Power of Rock: In "Tandem's Last Ride", Tandem The Spoony sings an Iron Maiden song to break the Compelling Voice effect of the Caterpillar.
- Railroading: When Spoony played a Vampire: The Requiem LARP, the GM forced his character to get kidnapped and brainwashed by the other players. This did not end well; see Off the Rails above.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Spoony gives one of these to the GM of a Vampire: The Requiem LARP in "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad".
- Riding Into the Sunset: Referred to Tandem's last adventure as this.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: What the Thieves' World campaign mutates into following the Facial Horror incident.
- The end result of "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad".
- Running Gag: "...I'm not that kind of thief!"
- An unintentional one is Spoony trying to protect the identity of the people he's talking about by giving them aliases, only to forget to use them halfway through the story and only realise he's done it until after he's used their real names several times.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Done unintentionally with the "Leaping Wizards" incident, which got Spoony booted from the RPGA for not adhering to their hand-holding methods, which he strongly disagrees with.
- Shout-Out: An unintentional one; while talking about fellow players Crazy Mike and Vegan Steve, he momentarily muddles their names into "Crazy Steve", Linkara's nickname for the In Name Only All-Star version of Batman.
- Special Guest: Bennett the Sage made a guest appearance in "Age of Manure" to talk about some of his own roleplaying stories.
- Spoony Bard: Tandem The Spoony, one of Spoony's most notable player characters and the one that he took his online alias from. It should be noted that, in "Tandem's Last Ride", Spoony admits to naming Tandem after Edward from Final Fantasy IV.
- Taking You with Me: The end result of the Vampire: The Requiem LARP. If Spoony couldn't play his character the way he wanted, then no one would. Of course the GM just threw him out and ignored everything he did, but it's the principle.
- The Virus: Manure golems spread like this in "Age of Manure".
- We Have Become Complacent: The elysium in "Vampire: Spoony's Jyhad" was so secure that they didn't even search for weapons. Big mistake...
- Wham! Line: