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In 1986, First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons was the only edition. And for an enterprising powergamer, its rules had loopholes big enough to drive a siege engine through.
So what if a group of Genre Savvy characters decided to push all these loopholes to their limits?
They'd be sickeningly powerful. No ... they'd be disgustingly powerful.
Hence was born The Intercontinental Union of Disgusting Characters.
Written by Roger M. Wilcox, and distributed in those halcyon pre-Web days over Usenet, it gained a cult following that eventually led to being translated into Hungarian. Twice. The author wrote a sequel in 1988, The Sick Kids, and began writing a second sequel in 2000 titled The Intercontinental Proliferation of Disgusting Characters (which was completed except for the Epilog).
This series of AD&D parodies contains examples of:
- Arch Enemy: Several. Peter Perfect to Ringman, Omnion to Sick Sword, Gross Sword to his sisters, Tiamat to Ringman, the Dungeon Master to Ringman....
- Arc Words: Ringman's "I'm very glad to hear that."
- Big Bad: Although Omnion is the Big Bad of the first story, and Gross Sword is the supposed Big Bad of the second story, the true Big Bad of the Multiverse is really the Dungeon Master.
- Boring Invincible Hero: Unbelievable Sword.
- Catch Phrase: How many experience points do we get?
- Death Is Cheap: Even cheaper than in AD&D proper. In the official AD&D rules, a character who dies can be raised from the dead by a living cleric. In this universe, a character who dies can be raised from the dead by any cleric, living or dead -- including himself.
- Descriptive Ville: The main city on Central Earth -- indeed the only city on Central Earth to be mentioned in any of the stories -- is named "Town." Just "Town."
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Bahamut, the lord high god of all good dragons, was held hostage as an Innocent Bystander by Gross Sword in the first sequel.
- Disney Death: The ending of The Intercontinental Proliferation of Disgusting Characters.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Ringman's warhorse is named Warhorse.
- Fan Service: No posessions of any kind can travel with a character to the plane of Fordinchuarlikomfterrablaxxuuuuuchh'chh'chh-pt. Thus, when Sick Sword arrives, she's stark naked.
- She also gets her clothes burned away by Smaugzilla before she hacks it to death.
- Fantasy Contraception: Why do you think AD&D has the ring of protection?
- First Law of Resurrection: Even Sick Sword and Ringman, who were killed by having their souls annihilated on their alignment planes, which is supposed to erase someone from existence entirely, can come back.
- Flat World: Central Earth really is flat. (If it were round, you'd fall off!)
- Fluffy the Terrible: In The Intercontinental Proliferation of Disgusting Characters, Peter Perfect's paladin mount is an enormous undead dragon. He calls her "Fluffball."
- Hit So Hard the Calendar Felt It: Events, birthdays, etc. are all reckoned in years before or after the IUDC.
- I Call It Vera: With the exception of Prometheus and (snicker) Hymenslayer, every intelligent weapon seems to be named after its user: The Sick Sword, The Disgusting Dagger, The Ridiculous Hand Axe, The Gross (Broad)Sword, The Unbelievable Long Sword, etc..
- Ice Cream Koan: Koenieg tends to spout these. He is a druid, after all.
Wierd Dough turned to the Great Druid. "Don't you see what they're doing?"
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Ringman, the wimpy 9th-level by-the-book paladin.
- Infinity+1 Sword: In the never-written epilog, it's explained how the random magic item tables in the 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook can allow a weapon or a piece of armor to keep increasing its plus without limit. Unbelievable Sword literally has a +infinity sword.
- He's also equipped a +infinity shield. Which begs the question: What do you need to roll to hit, when an attack with an infinite Attack Bonus is made against a target with an infinite Armor Class?
- Knight Templar: Peter Perfect can come up with the most twisted excuses imaginable to justify his actions as being Lawful Good.
- Let's Split Up, Gang!: Parodying Ghostbusters:
Wierd Dough: "Great, they've split up."
- Medium Awareness: All the characters are aware that their universe operates under AD&D rules, and have access to all the rule books.
- Munchkin: Every disgusting character. Every single one of them. If the author had heard the term "munchkin" at the time he wrote IUDC, he'd have used that word instead of "disgusting character".
- My God, What Have I Done?: Gross Sword's basic reaction at the end of The Sick Kids. Pity he needed to be reduced to 1 hit point first.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Ridiculous Sword's +6 holy vorpal defender frost-brand flame-tongue sun luckblade of wounding, dancing, life stealing, disruption, slaying everything (as in the arrows of the same name), throwing, thunderbolts, red blue green black white brass & copper dragon slaying, speed, final word, and nine lives stealing with maximum intelligence, eight special purposes, and enough artifact powers to leave her set for life.
- In his original hybrid 1st/2nd Edition incarnation, Unbelievable Sword was an Assassin, Monk, Druid, Barbarian, Oriental Barbarian, Bushi, Fighter, Thief, Bard, Wu Jen, Thief-Acrobat, Sohei/Ninja, Cleric, Illusionist, Abjurer, Conjurer, Diviner, Enchanter, Necromancer, Transmuter, Invoker, Weapons Master (a fake class made up entirely for the IUDC stories), Yakuza, Ranger, Shukenja, Cavalier, Anti-Barbarian (identical to a Barbarian except lawful instead of chaotic), Kensai, Paladin, Samurai, and Magic-User.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Ringman is 9th level, has 18/92 strength (equal to 22 strength in 3rd or 4th Edition), wears +5 plate mail (or +4 full plate, depending on which edition of the rules are in force at the time), carries a +4 shield, and wields a +5 Holy Avenger longsword. By most counts, he would be a very powerful paladin -- but he pales in comparison to the disgusting characters.
- Parody Name: The main world is called Central Earth. It's like Middle Earth, but not.
- Properly Paranoid: Unbelievable Sword, when he ticks off the Dungeon Master.
- In the pocket multiverse dungeon (3rd story, chapter 12), he worries about hidden traps with vorpal sword machine guns, rapid-fire sphere of annihilation cannons, or spring-loaded sword-of-sharpness-firing ballistae.
- Psychic Powers: Both 1st and 2nd Edition AD&D rules allow a character to have psionic abilities without having to sacrifice any power in their normal character class(es). Thus, all disgusting characters have them.
- Rebellious Spirit: Danny. You're not the boss of him, maaaaan!
- RPG Mechanics Verse: The whole reason for these stories to exist.
- Rules Lawyer: Every loophole and unanticipated contingency in the AD&D rules is exploited.
- For example, when Ridiculous Sword hurtled toward the ground at nearly the speed of light, she took no damage when she landed -- because she happened to land next to a castle's outer wall. She had monk as one of her classes, you see, and monks in 1st Edition take no damage when falling within 8 feet of a wall. If she had pressed the point, she could have insisted that arrows and fireballs couldn't hurt her during the fall either, because the rule says a monk can fall "without taking damage" if (s)he falls within 8 feet of a wall.
- When a cube of frost is active, the space inside the cube is always 68 degees Fahrenheit, but the cube can only absorb so much cold damage before it fails. They can use this to walk through molten lava or even the interior of a sun unscathed.
- Running Gag: "_____ hasn't been invented yet!"
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them: The Dungeon Master himself makes appearances in the two sequels. He's not a pleasant fellow.
- Shout-Out: Too many to count. So, the author counted them for us.
- Spin Offspring: The Sick Kids stars, as its name implies, Sick Sword's kids.
- Talking Weapon: All intelligent weapons are this, and there are a lot of them. The Sick Sword has such a big ego that it only speaks in ALL CAPS.
- They Call Him "Sword": Sick Sword, Disgusting Sword, Ridiculous Sword, Gross Sword, Unbelievable Sword, Ludicrous Lance, Fantastic Falchion, Horrendous Halberd, Indescribable Ice Pick, Vastly Hugely Mindbogglingly Powerful Pike-Awl, Bletcherous Belaying Pin ...
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Despite Ringman's numerous protestations that it won't.
- The Unpronounceable: Fordinchuarlikomfterrablaxxuuuuuchh'chh'chh-pt.
- World of Badass / Everyone Is a Super: In The Intercontinental Proliferation of Disgusting Characters, the word has gotten out as to how all the Disgusting Characters got so disgusting so easily. Now, everybody and his brother is a Disgusting Character.
- Why Won't You Die?: The pocket-multiverse red dragon bellows this, being completely unable to harm Unbelievable Sword despite attacking all-out over and over again (while Unbelievable Sword ignores it to rant about something else).