Butt Monkey
rating: 0+x

"Wouldn't it be, like, great to, like, have a monkey?"
"Yeah, you could, like, keep it an a cupboard and, if it was, like, naughty … you could spank it!"
"Yeah, it would, like, be your butt-monkey"

(Conversation overheard in a fast food queue)

Basic Information

The Butt Monkey is a Loser Archetype - someone who, through no true fault of his own, always ends up the butt of jokes or other unfortunate plot developments. The opposite of the Karma Houdini. Unlike The Woobie, the audience laughs at his misfortune instead of sympathizing with him.

Consider the Yiddish distinction between a schlemiel and a schlimazel. A schlemiel is a person who is always spilling the soup. A schlimazel is the one on whom the soup always gets spilled. The schlimazel is a Butt Monkey.

Not to be confused with a bullet monkey, although the roles may converge, especially in action comedy.

See Also

Characters As Device



Game and Story Use

  • Especially useful in campaigns with plenty of black humor - someone has to suffer from all that bad luck so that everyone else can laugh at them.
  • It can be argued that all player characters in the Paranoia RPG as well as Warhammer Fantasy are butt monkeys, among other things. In this case, the players are supposed to laugh at the misfortune of their own characters.
  • Some games will allow a character to take a disadvantage along these lines to gain more character points … players should consider seriously how many extra mishaps they can afford to inflict on their character and what the game's critical failure tables (if any) look like.
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