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The Elf: (who has fallen in a hole) Help me, I'm stuck!
The Dwarf: She says we can leave her behind.
The Elf: Get me out of here, it's slimy!
The Dwarf: She says she wants us to drop rocks on her and put her out of her misery.
The Dwarf: So, is that the dungeon?
The Ranger: Indeed, it's the famous Dungeon of Naheulbeuk.
The Dwarf: It doesn't look that great.
The Ranger: Don't go by the look; nobody ever came back out of it.
The Dwarf: Really?
The Ranger: Well, as a matter of fact, nobody ever entered it.
A French audio series which started in 2001, available for free on the internet here, as well as various materials related to its universe. It was created by John Lang, under the nickname of Pen of Chaos (shortened to POC).
An Affectionate Parody of tabletop RPGs, Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk (The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk) tells the "amazing" story of a group of stereotypical roleplaying characters, who are trying to storm the aforementioned dungeon in the search of a magic artifact. It turns out, however, that they're all less than competent. And that they hate each other. A lot.
Two seasons for a total of 30 episodes had been produced. The third, fourth and fifth seasons took the form of novels, "La Couette de l'Oubli" ("The Quilt of Oblivion"), "l'orbe de Xaraz" ("The orb of Xaraz") and "Le Conseil de Suak" ("The Meeting of Suak"), while the first two got adapted into comics with Marion Poinsot at the drawings and the third one begins to. Apart from the main series, several productions added flesh to the Land of Fangh (the setting of the series), developing the sheer absurdity of the adventures, ranging from fake advertisements for such products as the Chiantos candies (which have the interesting property of increasing one's capacity to annoy everybody around; a spoof of "Mentos", the french name approximately would translate to english to something like "Annoytos") or the Durandil swords, to an online encyclopaedia about the history and the societies of the setting. Pen of Chaos, who is primarily a musician, also started to write humorous songs taking place in the Naheulbeuk world, before interpreting them on stage with his group, the Naheulband. Various CDs compiling those songs (as well as several bonuses) had been released.
The series' notoriety has grown in French-speaking countries over the years, and gave birth to a wide internet community.
Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk provides examples of:
- Artifact of Doom: The 12 statues of Gladeulferah, when "properly" used.
- ...you mean wrapped in ham and laid out around a dancing one-legged gnome?
- Awesome Moment of Crowning : The Elf gets crowned Queen of the Elves in season 5.
- Aw Look He Really Does Like Her: The Dwarf's reaction to the Elf's death.
- In a more... Physical approach, even though he constantly berates her, the Dwarf was still as horny as the other males when she decided to go bathing in the nude.
- Big Brother Instinct: The Ogre towards the Enchantress.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Even though it's still first and foremost an Affectionate Parody and a very funny one, the seasons 4 and 5 are more serious than the previous ones.
- Continuity Nod: The characters sometimes refer to the events depicted in some of the Naheulband's songs. That's why the Elf should never know why trolls want apples when they see her...
- Deadpan Snarker: Every member of the group tends to fall into this, but the Dwarf is clearly the champion in this domain.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Happens frequently in the novel, as the Elf has a really high "charisma"...
- Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Justified by Destiny Points, which allow a character's teammates to bring them back from the dead. Also subverted because if you run out of them, you get Killed Off for Real.
- Actually, you can be ressurected even if you're out of Destiny Points, via a magical ritual. But it's very expensive, and it can't work if the body and/or the mind of the dead one are too heavily damaged.
- Dumb Blonde: The Elf, even compared with everyone else.
- Dumb Muscle: Played straight with the Ogre, but surprisingly averted with the Barbarian. He's not exactly a genius, but he found the right answers to most of the enigmas the group needed to solve and often shows elements of being the Only Sane Man. Sort of justified when he reached level 2 and gained one intelligence point. Finally, the first book acknowledges his (relative) smartness by stating that he is seemingly more clever than most of his kin. See also Genius Bruiser below.
- Dumbass Has a Point: While the Ogre isn't very smart and is clearly only in the group due to his strength, a good idea pops up in his head every once in a while. The most notable instance was when he offered to give a troll bits of goblin for food so they wouldn't have to give him the Elf.
- Elves vs. Dwarves: Oh boy, where to start? The page quote, maybe...
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The main characters are only identified by their race or their class. More than 10 years after the start of the series, we still don't know their real names.
- Some moments in the season five imply (or outright state) that they don't want to give their real names.
- The Elf and the Barbarian receive the "fake" names of Selenia and Chef Taurogh (Chief Bullogh) respectively.
- Interestingly, everyone else has an actual name.
- Some moments in the season five imply (or outright state) that they don't want to give their real names.
- Failed a Spot Check : As she enters Zangdar's lair, the Elf complains about how ugly the rug is. The Ranger then has to point out the iron golem that's barring their way to her...
- Five-Man Band: Subverted as much as you can expect in a comedy, but the roles can still be attributed.
- Follow the Leader: even setting aside "Les Aventuriers du Survivaure" (mentioned below in Intercontinuity Crossover), in which PoC himself took part, "Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk" caused a huge trend on the French-speaking Web for mp3 audio series, with various levels of quality and originality compared to the model.
- Full-Frontal Assault: The Elf during the boat ambush in season 3.
- Gentle Giant: Kinda. The Ogre is treated and acts like any other member of the group and is not evil, but he still has a very strong appetite. And he does have weird tastes sometimes...
- Genius Bruiser: The Barbarian may like fighting above anything, but he has still solved some riddles that his companions couldn't answer. Of course, it may say more about the "intelligence" of the others...
- Guys Smash Girls Shoot
- How Dare You Die on Me!: The Enchantress when the Elf dies...
Enchantress:Shit! Shit! Shit! How could you do that!
Enchantress: (reading a chapter in a book, about Boulgourville, the Lost City, where they have to go) In the past, it was impossible to find, but today it's signposted.
The Ranger: Show us the map; is it far from here?
The Enchantress: Well...It's not on the map.
The Ranger: Wait...What do you mean?
The Enchantress: They say it's meant to discourage those who want to find the Lost City.
The Ranger: (in disbelief)...So, let me get this straight: they signpost the way to a lost city which is not on the map because they don't want it to be found?
The Enchantress: Exactly.
The Dwarf: That's utterly stupid!
The Enchantress: Indeed.
- The Ingenue: The Elf knows absolutely nothing about sex and about how other races deal with nudity. Combined with her gorgeous looks, this can be devastating for the male members of the group.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: In an episode, the Dwarf disappears for a few minutes without any reason. Well... actually, there is one. The characters of another MP 3 series, "les aventuriers du Survivaure" (this time a sci-fi parody), accidentally beamed him in their ship as they were trying their brand new teleporter. He even does appear in the corresponding episode of this other series.
- Killed Off for Real: Several characters got killed and resurrected. But not the Thief or the Minstrel.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: During the course of the second season, the "heroes" have to travel through charming places such as the Swamps of Eternal Agony or the Road of Oblivion. And they also stopped in an inn called the Pervert sewer Rat.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At the end of the second season, the group learns that the wizard who hired them for getting the magical statue, and to who they sold it, wants to use it for allowing Dlul, the God of Slumber and Boredom, to cover the entire world in the Quilt of Oblivion and freeze it in an endless sleep. Whoops...
- No Fourth Wall: The characters sometimes react to what the voiceover says.
Enchantress: We'd better get out of here.
Ranger: But the voiceover said there'd be violent scenes.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome : Back to the two first seasons, anytime the characters actually managed to perform well, the characters had to describe what happened later for somebody else (and for the sake of the audience). Examples : how they defeated the Iron Golem, or the mutant weremole. In both cases, one of the characters got killed early in the fight and got resurrected afterwards.
- Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: The Ranger reads aloud the random encounter table to his teammates, telling them they could encounter the undead, orcs and goblins, trolls, giant spiders, sorcerers, cursed warriors, mutant rats, a bottle of oil, toilet paper, two sponges and ravioli. Naturally, the Dwarf quickly points out what's wrong with that list.
- On Second Thought: The Thief suggests someone should stay behind to guard the dungeon's exit, but changes his mind when the Ranger replies, "You mean someone who wouldn't get his share of the 8000 gold coins?"
- Also, in the first episode, the Dwarf is about to call it quits because of the freezing cold before they even enter the titular dungeon. He stays after the Ranger notes that doing this would make the Elf happy.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Dwarf is prone to fighting, loves beer and gold, comes from a mine and uses axes. However, it looks like his entire race just loves annoying the hell out of the other races. They're the ones producing the Chiantos candies, for a start.
- Our Elves Are Better: Usually, in fantasy settings, elves are described as being highly intelligent beings. "Naheulbeuk"'s Elf, however...
- Our Vampires Are Different: Arkheim von Drekkenhoff. Turns out he only feeds on coyotes and is hemophiliac.
- Parody Commercial: Apart from the regular episodes, POC also produced "commercials" for in-universe products.
- Power of Rock: How the group manages to defeat Zangdar the dungeon master... Kinda. Also, the Minstrel once tried to calm down a berserk Hill Troll using his music. Subverted, as it failed miserably. *SPROTCH*.)
- Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: Quite possibly what happened when the Ranger tried to attack a weremole with a tuna sandwich.
- Running Gag: Several, from the Elf's ineptitude in using her bow to the Ranger's poor attempts at leadership.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
- ~Screw This, I'm Outta Here~: Tried several times by the Dwarf until he's reminded that would please the Elf or that he wouldn't get any treasures. The Paladin also makes this as he's fallen in love with an elven queen, and as he realizes how incompetent the others are.
- Shout-Out: A lot, ranging from movies to literature without, of course, forgetting tabletop games. For example, the Land of Fangh contains cults dedicated to deities such as Slaanoush or Khornettoh. The 20th episode was entirely devoted to shoutouts, using audio extracts of Conan the Barbarian, Willow and Back to The Future)
- And don't forget a young wizard student named Garry Topper and looking for his giant friend Bargid, and the Barbarian promising to a bladesmith that he'll be back.
- Among the heroes, the Barbarian worships a god named Crom, while at one point the Enchantress finds the "Robe of Archmage Tholsadum".
- And at a moment in the third book (season 5):
Because Conan said so himself[...]
- Another little one : in the second novel (season 4), as the characters are walking on some docks, we're informed of an argument between a fishmonger and a blacksmith about the quality of the former's fishes. Now where have I seen a similar situation ?
- When the dwarf mentions that he could use a drink, Arkheim von Drekkenhoff replies "I never drink... wine".
- Sir Swearsalot: The Dwarf
- Standardized Leader: Subverted. The Ranger is the leader by default, but nobody in the group really agrees with this, and he doesn't really have the required qualities.
- A running gag is the Dwarf telling him: "Hey! It's not you the leader!".
- The updated version of the second episode reveals that their employer designated the Ranger as the leader of the group.
- Stripperific: The Elf's clothes apparently don't hide a lot of skin. And it gets worse every time she gains a level.
- Only until level 3.
- Summoning Ritual: Parodied with a version that requires to wrap artifacts in ham.
- Take That: A Shout-Out to Harry Potter turns pretty bad for the Potter analogue...
- The Ditz: The Elf, and how!
- The End of the World as We Know It: Basically what the group tries to prevent in the novel. After all, they played a part in it...
- The Greatest Story Never Told: At the end of "la Couette de l'Oubli", the adventurers manage to kill the evil wizard who wanted to awake the God of Slumber, and thus manage to save the entire world. Except that it all happened in the wizard's secret lair, so absolutely nobody except them knows about it.
- The Unintelligible: No one except the Enchantress understands what the Ogre says. Sometimes, it's for the best.
The Ranger: I'd really like to know why the Ogre keeps on singing when we walk!
The Enchantress: Wait, I'll ask him... Gravoz vrotapa bozoh?
The Ogre: Gnolo.
The Enchantress: He says you can go fuck yourself.
- Subverted with the Troll they meet in the dungeon. At first, he only speaks in his own language, but it turns out he can speak the heroes' language and the growls are just a tourist trap.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Elf, again. More literally, the Minstrel.
- Took a Level In Badass: Not a textbook example because it's gradual, but the company does get more competent as the seasons pass.
- In the fifth season, they even get real Crowning Moments Of Awesome!
- Two Girls to a Team
- Updated Rerelease : The first episodes are currently being remade by Pen Of Chaos with a better sound, better mixing, and additionnal dialogues.
- Vegetarian Vampire :Baron von Drekkenhoff,the haemophiliac vampire.He only feed on coyotes's blood.
- Wandering Minstrel: The Minstrel