After observing him for several days at school, Jeff notices how depressed his classmate Fat Neil is lately. He feigns an interest in Neil's favorite role playing game, Dungeons & Dragons in order to cheer him up. Jeff realizes he may be suicidal after Neil gives him all his prized gaming materials declaring he won't need them anymore. He enlists the study group's help to play a game of Dungeons & Dragons with Neil to avert a tragedy. Although he is forced to include Chang in this endeavor, Jeff purposefully excludes Pierce, believing him too insensitive to help. However, Pierce learns of their plans believing it to be another group activity he has been excluded from. Jeff convinces Neil to join him and the others for a game in the study room.
|Neil is suspicious of their motivations despite everyone's reassurances. Abed starts the game acting as Dungeon Master and presents the adventure they will be participating in called, "The Cavern of Draconis". Aware that Neil has his own character he's been playing for years called Duquesne, Abed provides character sheets for the rest specifically tailored for their personalities. Despite the effort he put into creating them, the study group randomly selects a character from the pages he provided. Early in the game, Neil saves the group from a horde of goblins using the Sword of Duquesne, a powerful magical item he acquired over many previous campaigns, and he begins to cheer up.
|Unfortunately, Pierce chooses that moment to make an appearance, spoiling the good mood. He insists on joining the game but, as he has no character, he has to play as himself with no in-game equipment or even clothes. In an act of chivalry, Neil gives Duquesne's cloak to Pierce to prevent him from dying of exposure. However, Pierce rewards this noble act by stealing his sword through a lucky roll of the die. Chang uses his turn to try and get it back, but Pierce has another lucky die roll which allows him to kill Chang's character. Chang hands in his character sheet and leaves the game, while Pierce taunts Neil by rubbing the sword on his character's genitals. Before the study group can apprehend him, Pierce runs off into the forest, escaping with magical speed granted by Duquesne's cloak.
|Jeff meets with Abed and Pierce outside the room and tries to explain the delicate situation with Neil. Pierce refuses to listen, intent on staying in the game; since he is working against the group, Abed sends him elsewhere to await his turn. With Neil's reluctant help, the study group decides to search for a pegasus after learning that it's the only thing fast enough to catch up with Pierce. The group enters a village to find information, and Britta's character manages to learn from a gnome waiter that an elf maiden tends a flock of pegasi nearby. Arriving at her place, Jeff tries negotiating with the overtly amorous maiden but becomes uncomfortable role-playing a seduction scene with Abed. Annie takes over and graphically narrates a sexual encounter between her character and the maiden to seal the deal.
|Elsewhere, Pierce bribes Garrett to bring him Dungeons & Dragons books - including a copy of the "The Cavern of Draconis" adventure. After Pierce has his turn in secret, Abed brings him back to the group. The other players use the pegasi to catch up to him and find a body draped in Duquesne's sword and cloak. It is not Pierce, however, but the gnome Britta questioned in the village - Pierce has laid a trap. Using information he found in the adventure book, Pierce located an amulet that grants him control of the dragon Draconis, and he appears on the dragon's back with access to all the dragon's spells. He casts a spell to stop time for the others, then uses a shape changing spell to transform Duquesne to become "as fat as Neil." He then reveals the real reason Jeff is so keen to save Neil: it was Jeff who coined his nickname "Fat Neil".
|As everyone absorbs this new information, the group admonishes Jeff while Pierce continues to taunt Neil. Unable to move thanks to the time stop spell, Neil has Duquesne pity Pierce with the rest of the party following suit. Angered, Pierce unfreezes time so he can attack, but this uses up his turn; given a chance to act, Neil throws the Sword of Duquesne at the amulet Pierce is wearing. It is a difficult shot, but the dice roll is high enough, and he succeeds. With the amulet destroyed, Draconis is freed and eats Pierce. He gives his treasure hoard to the players as thanks for his freedom; the group has succeeded in the quest. The group leaves triumphant, and Neil tells Pierce it was the best game of Dungeons & Dragons he's ever played and asks him to play again next week.
Troy and Abed arrive in the study room, arguing about whether it is better to have big ears or a tail, but suddenly realize they are early; another study group made up of older Asian women is currently using the study room. The strangers join in on the discussion.
- Familiar face: Fat Neil was first mentioned but not shown in "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design". His onscreen debut was in "Asian Population Studies;" this episode marks his proper introduction to the audience.
- Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: Pierce's exclusion from this group activity as well as others would later play a part in his actions in the two part Season finale "A Fistful of Paintballs" and "For A Few Paintballs More"
- My other half: Abed tells Annie that the character she chose to play, "Hector the Well Endowed", was created with Troy in mind. Shirley isn't surprised.
- Raging against the machine:
- In the opening montage, Britta is venting about current events when introduced by the narrator.
- She later bemoans the racial injustices in the world of D&D.
- You're the worst!: Troy refers to Britta as "the AT&T of people."
- Shout out:
- Product placement:
- The popular role playing game "Dungeons & Dragons" is prominently featured in this episode.
- Troy had other kinds of games in mind, like Jenga and Chutes & Ladders.
- Well read: Britta compares Assange to Thomas Paine.
- Homage: The opening scene is a homage to the opening scenes and backstory narration of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
- Current events: In the opening montage, Britta seems to be worked up about events related to Cablegate.
- Use your allusion: Abed ends the game by saying " Excelsior!", Stan Lee's catchphrase.
During the opening narration, the members of the study group are all given titles:
- Jeff is Jeff the Liar, Son of William the Barely Known.
- Annie is Annie the Day Planner.
- Abed is Abed the Undiagnosable.
- Troy is Troy the Obtuse.
- Shirley is Shirley the Cloying.
- Britta is Britta the Needlessly Defiant.
- Pierce is Pierce the Insensitive, Pierce the Dickish and Grandfather Flatulent.
- “I'd like to introduce myself to the group. Hello, I am a dwarf named Zippideedoo...”— Shirley
- “Okay, I'm not the best at making up names.”— Abed
- “Oh, hey, I'm Marrrrrr. Boy, you weren't kidding.”— Jeff
- “And so it was that the group began to describe themselves walking. And as they described themselves walking, so did Abed confirm they had walked.”— Narrator
- “I'm sick of you threatening me and talking to me like a kid, and giving me that look you give like I can't get erections!”— Pierce
- “What?”— Jeff
- “I won Dungeons and Dragons, and it was advanced!”— Pierce Hawthorne
|Season Two Episodes|
1. "Anthropology 101"
13. "Celebrity Pharmacology 212"
|Season One • Season Two • Season Three • Season Four • Season Five|