TheOrderOfTheStick/{{Tropes A-C}} | '''Tropes D-F''' | TheOrderOfTheStick/{{Tropes G-I}} | TheOrderOfTheStick/{{Tropes J-L}} | TheOrderOfTheStick/{{Tropes M-O}} | TheOrderOfTheStick/{{Tropes P-R}} | TheOrderOfTheStick/{{Tropes S-U}} | TheOrderOfTheStick/{{Tropes V-Z}}
!!!''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' provides examples of the following tropes:


* DaChief:
** The Chief, of Cliffport fame.
** Tarquin tries to invoke this by [[spoiler:offering to put Roy in the role for Elan, thus making his son the main character, when it becomes obvious he won't let him kill his party leader. But by that point Elan has given up on granting his father second chances.]]
* DamnedByFaintPraise: [[spoiler:Blackwing]] pulls this, seemingly by accident, when attempting to defend [[spoiler:Vaarsuvius]]'s actions during [[spoiler:the Soul Splice]].
-->'''Qarr:''' Check it out! It's history's worst mass-murderer [[spoiler:and his dim-witted bird!]]\\
[[spoiler:'''Blackwing]]:''' HEY! History isn't over yet, mister!!\\
[[spoiler:'''Vaarsuvius]]:''' ''sob!''
* DamselInDistress:
** Discussed in [[ "Leaving Azure City"]]: Haley is in trouble and Elan wants to rush off to rescue her. However, Durkon stops him, explaining that she is able to take care of herself. And that he is not. If he tries to rescue her, he will just get himself killed, and that would make her very sad once she gets back on her own. Elan is forced to leave Haley to her fate. [[spoiler:And yes, she does save herself. And Belkar. And Roy's corpse, so it can be resurrected later.]]
** When fleeing an ambush by Tsukiko's wights, Haley angrily notes how irritating it is to find herself in the role of "the bimbo who runs down the alley away from the monsters."
** Roy also calls Celia his Damsel in Distress when noting this is getting frequent for her.
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy:
** Xykon;
** Daimyo Kubota;
** [[ Tarquin]], a LawfulEvil villain who's guiding Law [[ seems to be]] that of [[LawOfNarrativeCausality Narrative Causality]]. He issues manuals intended to ensure that his soldiers are equally savvy (including instructions on how to avoid a BavarianFireDrill, not having keys on overly obvious rings and not being fooled by [[ThrowingTheDistraction strange sounds]], [[MuggedForDisguise among other things]]). He understands that even if he dies, he will be a legend and that [[EvilIsCool the audience always loves the villains more.]] His scheme gets a [[ triumphant]] [[ speech]] explaining a continent-wide EvilPlan that involves repeatedly establishing LaResistance and the EvilEmpire and letting the empire get "overthrown". He figures the EvilEmpire must exist if heroic adventurers do, so why shouldn't he be the one ruling it? [[invoked]]
** Also sometimes [[ Vaarsuvius]].
** The [[ hobgoblin supreme leader]] is a funny inversion of this, being smart enough to step out of the way of the much more powerful goblin cleric who wants his position.
** Even Tsukiko [[ has her moments]].
--->'''Tsukiko:''' Remember, we're using the Buddy System, so stick together in case one of you gets attacked. And when you see a good cleric, what do you do?\\
'''Wight:''' Blow on our safety whistle.
* DareToBeBadass: Cleric down, wizard missing, leader starting to crumble. What does Belkar do? [[ The thing the party keeps him around for.]]
* DarkActionGirl: Sabine; Tsukiko; Crystal; Samantha... Haley notes a pattern of her fighting "airborne tramps".
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** Not that the comic is exactly "[[LighterAndFluffier light and fluffy]]", but prequel book ''Start of Darkness'' is significantly darker than the online comic's average tone.
** Things have gotten a turn for the dark starting around comic #823. [[spoiler:First, TheResistance falls arc. Then, the race between three teams for Girard's Gate: Team Evil, the Order of the Stick and The Linear Guild. And then the entire Draketooth family turns out to be dead, and one of the Order is responsible for it. And now Nale is dead (killed by his father), another gate is destroyed, Durkon has been turned into a vampire, Tarquin is now ''obsessed'' with his son killing him and making him into a story, and V now knows that the entities he rented his soul to can take control of him at any time.]]
* DarkIsNotEvil: Invoked by Belkar after Haley assumes that V's new black robes, glowing eyes, and evil whispers mean that s/he's turned evil. Belkar, too, is convinced of that, but defends Vaarsuvius with this argument just to mess with everyone's heads.
* DarknessVonGothickname:
** When she was a gloomy goth teenager, Haley called herself Dark Mistress Shadowgale.
** When Celia disguises herself as an evil necromancer, she uses the name Darkblood Gloomgloom.
** There's also one authentic necromancer, Haerta Bloodsoak, the most powerful of the mages involved in the Soul Splice.
* DaywalkingVampire: [[spoiler:Justified with Malack and the vampirized Durkon due to Malack's ''Protection from Daylight'' spell. He doesn't last half a minute in direct sunlight without it.]]
* DeaderThanDead: The fate of everyone killed by the Snarl. [[spoiler:Maybe.]]
* DeadGuyPuppet: Lord Shojo [[ does this with the skeleton of one of his wizards]], in order to make a point that it's the heroes' fault that the wizard is dead. [[DeathIsCheap He is planning to bring the dude back to life.]]
-->'''Roy:''' Okay, fine! You're right, we'll head to Girard's Gate right now.\\
'''Lord Shojo:''' Great idea! [[SarcasmMode Here, I'll have my best wizard teleport you!]] (''with the skeleton "puppet"'') "Sure thing, Lord Shojo! Teleport!" (''throws skeleton at Roy'')\\
'''Roy:''' Gah!\\
'''Lord Shojo:''' [[SarcasmMode Oh, look at that. It didn't work.]] I guess you'll have to wait until we're done resurrecting him. Come back tomorrow.
* DeadpanSnarker: Most of the characters fall into this at some point.
** Roy took extra points in this skill.
** Vaarsuvius comes only second to Roy in the snark and, being TheSpock, is even more deadpan.
** And V's raven familiar seems to take after his wizard.
** As quoted above, Lord Shojo has Roy easily beaten in SnarkToSnarkCombat.
** On the villains' side, Redcloak is no slouch either.
** Belkar, however, is more of an ObnoxiousSnarker. Eugene Greenhilt too.
* DeathIsCheap: Not literally; coming BackFromTheDead is actually rather expensive. But price aside, it's usually not all that difficult, except when the plot requires it to be, as in [[spoiler:Roy Greenhilt]]'s case, or in special situations like being [[DeaderThanDead killed by the Snarl]] or dying of old age. One of the gateways to the Afterlife is a revolving door. This is {{lampshaded}} to the extent that a character calling for reinforcements (Haley in Old Blind Pete's cellar) suggests they bring the wherewithal to resurrect her and her friends. Also, you can apparently do the old "[[ChessWithDeath challenge Death to a game for your life]]" thing. And you can pick [[ Wet T-Shirt Contest]] as your game.
* DeathIsTheOnlyOption: Attempted in [[ #783]]: Gannji and Enor are being forced to duel with each other as part of a [[GladiatorGames gladiator tournament.]] Gannji decides there's no way out until there's a definite victor in the fight, so he tells Enor to kill him, cut off his tail and use it to resurrect him later on. [[SubvertedTrope However, Belkar provides them with another option]], allowing them to escape without killing each other.
* DeceasedFallGuyGambit:
** Kubota announces his intention to do this to Therkla. V, of course, [[spoiler:[[ThePlotReaper interrupts by disintegrating him]]]].
** [[spoiler:Redcloak frames Tsukiko for treachery as an excuse for why he killed her -- when in fact, he killed her for knowing that ''he'' is the one betraying Xykon.]]
* DeconstructedTrope:
** The idea of a predetermined CharacterAlignment is thoroughly deconstructed in ''Start of Darkness'' and some of the later strips, particularly with the characters of Belkar, Redcloak, Miko, the Monster in the Darkness and Malack. Redcloak is especially offended by the concept of his entire race being AlwaysChaoticEvil whether they like it or not.
** Miko, as she develops, touches on what a LawfulStupid KnightTemplar would be like realistically.
** TokenEvilTeammate is also deconstructed with Belkar, showing why a mostly good party would put up with someone like him and occasionally exploring the kind of tensions it can create.
** Tarquin is turning into a deconstruction of DangerouslyGenreSavvy. While it means he can plan very well and follows the plot and its intricacies as easily as Elan does, he can chillingly treat people like plot devices ''and'' cannot see beyond his own story to where he does not see the larger narrative of ''the world being at stake'' (which he assumes is a "sidequest").
* DefiedTrope:
** CarryingTheAntidote in [[ "Another Choice"]].
** Not to mention GoodIsDumb, repeatedly.
** Roy defies the DumbMuscle human-fighter.
* DeityOfHumanOrigin: Well, humanoid origin at least -- Both the Dark One and the elven gods were once ordinary mortals who ascended.
* DelayedReaction: When [[ Roy announces that they can resume stopping the forces of Evil from bringing the apocalypse]], Nale (disguised as Elan) at first just approves by reflex, before ticking.
-->'''Nale-as-Elan:''' I couldn't agree more, Roy!\\
'''Wizard Guy:''' TELEPORT!\\
'''Nale-as-Elan:''' Wait, what did you just--\\
* DeliberatelyMonochrome:
** The prequel books are fully in greyscale. According to the author, this is to give them a "[[MonochromePast nostalgic]]" feeling, since these are the "home movie" of the ''[=OotS=]'' characters. Which is mostly a joking explanation, the primary reason being costs.
** [[ Dwarven Darkvision]] is also rendered in greyscale.
** As well as the Fiends' [[ hypothetical scenario]].
* DeliciousFruitPies: From [[ "Proof That I Am Deeply Disturbed"]].
* {{Denouement}}: Several examples at the end of the ''Don't Split the Party'' arc, starting from around [[ "But Seriously, She Won't"]].
* DepthDeception: In [[ "A Matter of Perspective"]], the starmetal appears huge at first but is really smaller than a fist.
* DescriptionCut: Many, many times. This is a popular trope in the comic.
** [[ "Thog like breaking stuff."]]
** Lampshaded and subverted in [[ "And They Got Extra Credit For It, Too"]], where the team all get a distinct feeling [[MediumAwareness that there's going to be a cutaway panel]] after something Roy says, but there's just a BeatPanel instead. In the strips previous to this, there were several such cutaways to [[spoiler:an unconscious V lying at the bottom of a pit trap]] every time something relating to the elf was said.
** After Tarquin [[spoiler:kills Nale]], he [[ mentions]] that he can't think of anyone else who wouldn't have at least considered it. The very next panel shows [[spoiler:Sabine, ''extremely'' cheesed off that her boyfriend was just murdered]].
* DesignatedGirlFight: At one point Haley lampshades her tendency to get shackled with [[EvilIsSexy slutty]] (and [[IBelieveICanFly flying]]) DarkChick rivals. "I should take a level of ranger so I can choose Favored Enemy (Airborne Tramp)". And that's before we meet her (thankfully non-flying) arch-rival Crystal.
* {{Destructive Saviour}}s: Dorukan's Dungeon, the Weary Travelers Inn and Tavern, Azure City... few places seem to survive contact with the Order of the Stick. [[spoiler:And now Girard's Pyramid can be added to the list; this time it is fully intentional, though, the Order having no other choice.]]
* DeusExMachina:
** In an early strip, the Order is totally surrounded by goblins, when Elan suddenly summons the one-shot JokeCharacter [[DeliciousFruitPies Fruitpie the Sorcerer]], who distracts the goblins, allowing the Order to escape.
** During the siege of Azure City, Roy [[ beheads Xykon's undead dragon]]. The head crushes a Death Knight that is overwhelming Vaarsuvius; V later complains that it was a lame "deus ex machina".
** During one arc, Elan is stuck in Cliffport after Nale frames him for his (Nale's) crimes, but is able to get from Cliffport back to Azure City, where the rest of the Party is, after fortuitously meeting the SkyPirate Julio Scoundrél, who offers to take Elan there in his CoolAirship (and gives him some off-the-cuff {{mentor|s}}ing into the bargain). [[WordOfGod Word of the Giant]] is that the author needed a way to get Elan out of Cliffport, and [[ the strip]] itself humorously lampshades this. For good measure, Scoundrél's ship is named the ''[[MeaningfulName Mechane]]''.
** When V cast Familicide on an ancient black dragon in [[ "If They Pull a Knife..."]], the first victim is a black dragon currently battling against a pair of adventurers -- who are left wondering just what the heck caused their opponent to inexplicably drop dead in front of them.
** The [=MitD=] plays this role in [[ "The Path of Least Expectation"]], teleporting Vaarsuvius and O-chul to safety.
** Roy gives Elan a skeptical look when he reveals that he'd arranged (in a conspicuously secretive manner, to invoke the UnspokenPlanGuarantee) for [[spoiler:Julio Scoundrél to arrive at the last possible second and rescue them from Tarquin]]. He replies "[[AssPull Don't look at me like that]], [[LampshadeHanging there was a]] '''ton''' of {{foreshadowing}} on this one."
%%* DidMomJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu
* DidntSeeThatComing: [[ "You know, the first two, I probably should've seen coming. The leprechaun costume? Not so much."]]
* DidntWeUseThisJokeAlready: Horace in [[ #600]] jokes that the readers were probably expecting a big climax to mark the occasion when in fact it was a very mundane progress strip. Roy points out they used that exact joke 500 strips ago when [[ #100]] also turned out to be an anticlimax.
* DidWeJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu:
** O-Chul and the Monster in the Darkness.
** Also [[spoiler:Haley, Belkar and the [=MitD=].]]
* DisasterDominoes: The well-oiled machine bit from the ''On the Origin of [=PCs=]'' book.
* DiscreetDrinkDisposal: Durkon with [[ the bloodwart tea]].
* DisintegratorRay:
** The Disintegrate spell. A favorite of Vaarsuvius.
** Also used by Redcloak thanks to the clerical domain Destruction.
** Laurin Shattersmith masters a psionic version.
* DisposingOfABody:
** Redcloak is [[ thorough]].
** Vaarsuvius as well, using the aforementioned DisintegratorRay.
** Laurin Shattersmith does the same [[spoiler:on Nale's corpse]].
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** This is the main motto of Nale and the Linear Guild, even mentioned on their business cards.
** Vaarsuvius. Ancient Black Dragon. "Familicide!"
** Tiamat is promised five good dragons dead for every black dragon killed by V.
** General Tarquin offers to give the pair of bounty hunters 8,000 gp for their trouble in accidentally bringing in Elan instead of Nale. Gannji then demands 50,000 instead because he has a [[Film/ReturnOfTheJedi thermal detonator]] (which is actually a soup can -- he was just keeping up a RunningGag). Tarquin then "misplaces" some court paperwork, leaving the bounty hunters sentenced to ''die in the arena'' for attempting to extort him [[spoiler:in front of his son]].
* DistractingDisambiguation: Very common, since TalkingIsAFreeAction is in full force.
** For example, you get [[ Roy trying to remind Xykon of the murder he's actually pursuing him for]]...
** As well as many inane discussions in the middle of fights about ''D&D'' rules (like with [[ the half-ogre munchkin]]).
** Even outside of melee, a dramatic revelation can easily wander into Distracting Disambiguation [[ and just spoil the effect]]:
--->'''Eugene:''' '''[+Xykon is alive!!+]'''\\
'''Roy:''' What??\\
'''Eugene:''' Well, I don't mean actually alive. Technically, he's still dead, just not, you know, DEAD-dead.\\
He's undead, right, so he's up and moving around, even though he's still life signs: negative. But it's not like he just spontaneously came back to life.\\
I mean, he DID come back spontaneously, but back to, uh, undeath, I suppose.\\
'''Roy:''' Just curious, do you get XP for [[MomentKiller killing this dramatic moment]]?
** Even [[ a pun-fight]] isn't safe from this.
--->'''Elan:''' --and I'll foil your evil plans!\\
'''Tarquin:''' Then I wonder what I've begotten into.\\
Also, "foil" is less of a pun than it is a word derivation. We say someone "foiled" a plan because they defeated them -- as with a foil.\\
'''Elan:''' Really?\\
'''Tarquin:''' No. The etymologies are unrelated. [=*kaTANG!*=] (''disarms Elan'')
* TheDitz:
** Elan, when he's not TheFool, or both simultaneously.
** Thog; the first comment we get concerning him is that Intelligence was his DumpStat.
** Celia has her moments, explained in part by her status as an Outsider and therefore someone not familiar with the customs of the Material Plane. She's also from the Elemental Plane of Air, making her an [[StealthPun "airhead"]].
** [[ Crystal]]. She once asks a blind ex-rogue (one whom ''she'' had blinded, no less) if he has [[ExactWords seen]] [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial who she's looking for]].
* DivingSave:
** Played straight in [[ "Change of Direction"]].
** Subverted in [[ "Neutralize Elf"]] -- Haley pushes Elan out of the way of a poisoned bolt, only to have it hit V.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything:
** [[spoiler:Malack]]'s plans to make the process of human sacrifices more efficient and orderly by developing "some sort of special chamber" is meant to evoke ''Film/SoylentGreen''. However, plenty of readers saw [[ThoseWackyNazis a different parallel]].
** ''Start of Darkness'' features [[spoiler:Redcloak]]'s village being brutally destroyed, complete with on screen adversion of InfantImmortality and this line:
--->'''[[spoiler:Paladin:]]''' Exterminate the rest.
* DoNotTauntCthulhu: After locking up the Snarl inside the new world, Thor taunts it, even kicking the new world-prison for good measure. To which Loki says:
-->'''Loki:''' Dude, don't taunt the god-killing abomination.
::Gets a callback in ''Start of Darkness'' when Redcloak is explaining the Plan to Xykon.
-->'''Thor:''' Crap! Loki was right about not taunting it after all!
* DontExplainTheJoke: Belkar in [[ "Incoming!"]]
-->'''Hobgoblin priest:''' FIRE!\\
'''Belkar:''' Don't mind if I do! (''fireballs the hobgoblins'')\\
Get it? Because he said, "Fire!", and then you used a "Fire"-ball, and now they're all dead!\\
'''Skullsy:''' Yes, sir, very funny, sir. [-Please don't hurt me.-]
* DonutMessWithACop:
-->'''CPPD Chief:''' I have NEVER seen so many cops standing around doing nothing since that time the Donut Chariot was an hour late!
* TheDoorSlamsYou:
** In ''Recap/OnTheOriginOfPCs'', Elan makes [[HammyHerald his grand entrance]] in a BadGuyBar by slamming the door into one of the patrons, who then calls for a "[[TheMedic Cleric]]!"
** "Kaboom" Redaxe gets a door in the face with the entrance of [[ "Roy's Angels"]].
** Also, there's [[ "The Door Knocks on You"]], where Thog batters Haley into submission with a door.
** Daigo gets hit by a door twice in [[ "Entrance Qualifications"]] (and then sprayed with glass from Elan's [[SuperWindowJump dramatic]] [[ThereWasADoor entrance]]). [[ Two strips earlier]], he was not actually hit by the door but by the ninja flying through the now-open door, but it's close.
** In [[ "Resisting a Rest"]], Geoff gets hit by a door Gannji opens without warning. Enor is of the opinion they should have knocked.
* DopeSlap:
** In the prequel book ''On the Origins of [=PCs=]'', after a fair warning to Vaarsuvius (who was getting annoying), Haley performs a "Sneak Attack Upside the Head".
** Nale dope-slaps his twin brother Elan in [[ "The Semi-Secret Origin of Elan & Nale"]]. Apparently, that's a reflex from early childhood.
** [[ "Invisibility: The Lazy Artist's Friend"]] features a rare aversion of the dope-slap.
--->'''Roy:''' (''probably -- he's invisible'') ...You're lucky attacking ends the spell, or I would smack the crap out of all of you.
* DoubleEntendre:
** About... say... nine of them in [[ "It's a Type of Boat"]] alone, complete with LampshadeHanging from the last line in the strip as well as the title.
** Also, the hotel room scene in [[ "Double Your Entendre, Double Your Fun"]].
** And the scene between Roy, Belkar, and Tarquin in [[ "Slash Attack"]].
* DownerEnding:
** ''Start of Darkness'' [[spoiler:ends pretty badly for Redcloak. Also, The Monster in the Dark loses his tacos!]]
** The Azure City arc [[spoiler:ends with Roy, Lord Shojo, and Miko dead, the party separated, and Azure City itself in flames.]]
* DownTheDrain: [[ "Obligatory Sewer-Themed Labyrinth."]]
* DracoInLeatherPants: [[invoked]] Given a TakeThat in [[ "A Vexation or Irritation"]].
-->'''Tarquin:''' It's weird, no matter how many people he kills, the audience still thinks he's lovable.
* {{Dracolich}}: Xykon rides an undead silver dragon.
* DraconicHumanoid:
** Enor the bounty hunter is an hybrid of ogre and blue dragon, giving him wings, breath weapon and largely draconic appearance.
** [[ The illustrated family tree]] of [[spoiler:[[MeaningfulName Girard Draketooth]]]] shows three individuals of this type being the result of a coupling between a human and a black dragon (presumably one with the power of VoluntaryShapeshifting). This second generation all possessed varying combinations of human and dragon features. However, from the third generation onward, family members appear completely human.
* DragonInChief:
** Within the Empire of Blood, General Tarquin holds this position: the Empress (an actual dragon) is more concerned about where her next meal is coming from.
** Tarquin's band of six adventurers fills this in various places all over the western continent. Each of them prop up governments and switch around as the situation demands.
** Also [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] in the prequel book ''Start of Darkness'', which shows what happens when a villain is nominally subservient to a WellIntentionedExtremist. Xykon is initially TheDragon to Redcloak: despite being more brutish and less intelligent than his "boss", over the course of the story he evolves from TheDragon to Dragon-in-Chief to BigBad, by virtue of his [[TheUnfettered total lack of moral compunction]]. [[ Except]] [[spoiler:Redcloak revealed that he's been manipulating Xykon for years]], so this trope still appears to be in effect.\\\
They have a complicated relationship: Redcloak is the one Xykon's hobgoblin army recognizes as their leader, despite Xykon being more powerful and the de facto boss. And there are definitely hints that Redcloak will turn into TheStarscream once their goals irreconcilably diverge. On the flip-side, Xykon is far more powerful, dangerous and evil, and might be more intelligent than Redcloak gives him credit. Further, Redcloak is visibly horrifed when he realizes he's becoming more like Xykon, and regards working with him an extremely unpleasant necessary evil. Also, Redcloak himself is TheHeavy for The Dark One, his BiggerBad GodOfEvil, so he is technically TheDragon to somebody else.
* DramaPreservingHandicap
** As Roy [[LampshadeHanging points out]] in [[ "A Seasoned Woodsman"]], the Order is usually at some disadvantage when they fight their {{Evil Counterpart}}s. Despite Roy's [[DefiedTrope caution]], it happens ''again'' when Vaarsuvius gets himself incapacitated by a trap right before the Linear Guild attacks.
** Ultra-powerful soul-spliced Vaarsuvius is literally the most powerful mage to have ever existed... as long as he/she holds on to the splices. Good thing the most powerful one slips away ''before'' the elf goes to fight the Big Bad, Xykon, or else the series could have ended in a curb stomp.
* DramaQueen: Blackwing, when he thinks he's dying:
-->'''V:''' You are not injured. You have a slight smudge of dirt on three of your feathers.\\
* DramaticCurtainToss: Somewhat parodied in [[ "Curtains for You"]].
* DramaticDrop: Malack with the bloodwart tea, [[ at the sight of Nale]].
* DramaticNecklaceRemoval: O-Chul to Redcloak.
* DramaticThunder: Very heavily lampshaded in [[ "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"]].
* DreamWithinADream: Elan refers to an illusion-induced DreamSequence as a "double-fantasy": a fantasy-within-a-[[MediumAwareness fantasy-comic]]. When Roy thanks Elan for breaking them out of the illusion, Elan is convinced they're trapped in another level of dreamworld -- "TRIPLE FANTASY!!"
* DrillSergeantNasty: [[ The gladiator warden]], who is very GenreSavvy about his role and all of the tropes associated with a GladiatorGames plot.
* DroolHello: Although it's not ''technically'' drool in [[ "Good to the Last Drip"]] (just salt water from the ocean), it's still Vaarsuvius's first clue that a monster has approached from behind.
* DualityMotif: Tsukiko has a blue eye and an indigo eye. This reflects her dual-caster prestige class, the color of her aura when casting spells being blue for divine magic and indigo for arcane. As a joke, it carries over as a theme to her slippers too.
* {{Duck}}: In [[ "Ressource Management"]]:
-->'''Belkar:''' Duck.\\
* DueToTheDead:
** Elan's lament over [[spoiler:Roy]]'s death.
** Not to mention the rather impressive gravestone he gave to [[spoiler:Therkla]].
** Durkon [[TearfulSmile cries for joy]] on hearing that his dead body shall be returned home for proper burial.
* DumbBlonde:
** Elan
** Xykon accuses Lirian of being one in ''Start of Darkness''.
* DumbIsGood:
** Elan may be the only straight example in the comic.
** While he's not an example, the widespread belief in this trope is one of the main reasons why Thog is the subject of DracoInLeatherPants.[[invoked]]
** {{Inverted|Trope}} with Belkar, [[ who briefly becomes a much nicer person]] when his Wisdom is boosted.
* DungeonBypass:
** Early in the comic, the Order uses a service stairwell to skip two levels of the Dungeon of Dorukan.
** Invoked again in comics [[ #649]]-[[ 651]], where Haley breaks through the FourthWall for a spell component and Vaarsuvius teleports directly into Xykon's throne room.
* DyingAsYourself: Defied, if not outright inverted, when Durkon offers to cure [[spoiler:Malack]]'s vampirism.
-->'''[[spoiler: Malack]]:''' Bringing me back to life is just a complicated way of annihilating the person I am today. Save your diamond dust and stake me instead.
* DyingDeclarationOfHate: An unusually subtle example in ''Start of Darkness''. [[spoiler:Redcloak's brother considers being called by the title of "Redcloak" rather than his real name demeaning. So when he dies and refuses to call Redcloak his brother, only calling him "Redcloak"... well...]]

* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: A lot of things weren't yet well-established when the comic was still a gag-a-day strip, and some details may clash with the later story. For example, the decision that conjuration was one of V's barred schools came after the wizard casting ''Evan's Spiked Tentacles of Forced Intrusion'', which would be a conjuration spell. [[WordOfGod The Giant]] has stated that this spell won't ever show up again (although for a variety of reasons, the above being the least of them).
* EarnYourHappyEnding:
** Invoked and Subverted in [[ "If You Want Something Done Right"]].
** Invoked by Tarquin when he tells Elan [[ that it's too early in the story to have a dramatic, final confrontation]] with him.
* EasternZodiac: The Twelve Gods of the South.
* TheEasyWayOrTheHardWay:
** In Cliffport City:
--->'''Roy:''' Hey gnome! There are two ways this can go down: the easy way or the hard way.\\
'''Leeky:''' Druids always pick the hard way; it encourages natural selection.
** Later, the final pages of the second confrontation between Roy and Xykon are titled [[ "We Can Do This the Easy Way..."]]
* EatsBabies:
** Defied by the Monster in the Darkness. Xykon still tries to feed him some every so often, but he just kinda pushes them around on his plate before dumping them in the trash (don't worry, the kids survive).
--->'''[=MitD=]:''' I'll eat pretty much anything they feed me anyway. Except babies.\\
'''O-Chul:''' [[{{Squick}} Excuse me??]]\\
'''[=MitD=]:''' Oh, I don't eat babies or kids. That includes veal. It just feels weird.
** According to the over-templated snail from ''Snips, Snails and Dragon Tails'', a blackguard can be made to resist a domination effect if he's made to eat babies... without mustard.
* ElementalEmbodiment:
** Parodied when Redcloak starts summoning elemental spirits based on the modern periodic table; [[ Titanium]] -- "just as strong [as Earth], and 40% lighter." --, [[ Chlorine]], [[ Osmium]] (one of the hardest natural metals, twice as heavy as lead) and [[ Silicon]].
--->'''Redcloak:''' I mean, fire shouldn't even count. It's a chemical reaction!\\\
'''Vaarsuvius:''' Does he not know that the classical elements are classics for a reason??
** It gets weirder: Embodiments of ''salad dressing'', apparently the native inhabitants of the [[ Semi-Elemental Plane of Ranch Dressing]].
* ElementalPlane: [[ Varsuvius was magically transported to "The Plane of Ranch Dressing".]]
* {{Elfeminate}}: A large part of the reason Vaarsuvius and kin get stuck with the AmbiguousGender gag.
* EmbarrassingButEmpoweringOutfit: Haley's boots of speed, which she is reluctant to wear because they are lime green, and don't match her skin tone. She gets around the problem by finding a merchant who dyes them brown to match the rest of her armor, but they still glow green whenever she uses them to trigger a 'haste' effect.
* EnemyMine: Cliffport decides to support Gobbotopia's claim to nationhood, based on the fact that both nations are at war with the elves.
* EnigmaticEmpoweringEntity: Two of these. Both are of the scam artist kind, but different kinds of scams.
** An Angel "of pure Good and Law" clears the heroes' names, making them innocent of a very serious crime in the eyes of an order of paladins. However, the trial is just a ShamCeremony, and the "angel" is just a manipulative ghost disguised as an angel.
** The evil trio who tempts V takes on the role of {{Enigmatic Empowering Entit|y}}ies, but subverts the role to snare the wizard. V is manipulated into accepting a price s/he doesn't understand and is tricked to believe that s/he has an excuse to let her more destructive tendencies run wild without accepting true responsibility for the havoc. Also, the power they give is tainted and fatally flawed in itself, not at all what V had imagined "Ultimate Arcane Power" to be.
* EpisodeZeroTheBeginning: The first prequel released, ''On the Origin of [=PCs=]'', is numbered zero on the spine to show it takes place before the main series compilations. Then when ''Start of Darkness'' came out, it was given the number -1 to show it covers events going back even further than the previous prequel.
* EqualOpportunityEvil: The LawfulEvil Empire of Blood employs humans, lizardfolks and kobolds indiscriminately, from the lowliest foot soldiers or slave drivers to the upper echelons of society, including the Empress' main counselors (with a human general, a lizardfolk high priest and a winged-kobold chancellor).
* EscalatingBrawl: The argument between Roy, Gannji and Enor ends up in a serious pub brawl.
* EurekaMoment: [[ "It's Battlicious!"]], where Redcloak gets the idea as to how to distribute his soldiers for TheSiege of Azure City from Xykon's [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer "March up to the walls and blast away"]] attitude.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes:
** Redcloak loved his brother [[spoiler:-- just not quite enough.]]
** Sabine may be an evil personification of pure lust, but her relationship with Nale is quite solid.
** That [[spoiler:black dragon]] was pretty pissed that [[spoiler:Vaarsuvius disintegrated her son]].
** Tarquin's teammates are similar -- Laurin mentions that her daughter thinks she has a mundane job as an interior designer, so that she doesn't have to deal with the life she leads.
* EvenEvilHasStandards:
** Belkar won't let anyone hurt Mr. Scruffy.
** There are also things so horrible, that [[ not even Nale is willing to consider.]]
** Xykon is known to mock Redcloak for having standards about whom they can crush and how much evil they can do in their efforts to conquer the world and bring equality to goblinkind.
** Although even Xykon does have some small standards -- namely, he's not a "disgusting biophiliac" and is squicked by Tsukiko's crackfic-worthy fantasies.
** Team sociopath Belkar was horrified when [[spoiler:Durkon]] was killed and turned into a vampire.
--->'''Belkar:''' There's nothing funny about it. He just walked in and saved my life and got straight-up murdered for it.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Monster in the Darkness; the Oracle of Sunken Valley; the Chief; the Rookie
* EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs: Apparently there's some AuthorAppeal here.
** Elan dreams of being transformed into an "''Elanosaurus rex''".
** The Empire of Blood is shown to use [[HorseOfADifferentColor dinosaurs as mounts.]]
--->'''Vaarsuvius:''' Not surprisingly, ethical concerns cannot overcome the siren's lure of a triceratops ride.
** There's an ''Allosaurus'' which feeds on gladiators who've lost in the arena.
** Blackwing prefers to think of himself (and birds in general) as a "super-advanced flying stealth dinosaur", and feels a certain kinship with his "theropod cousins".
** It appears that Belkar [[ really likes this trope.]]
--->'''Belkar:''' Flee! Flee before me, worms!
** The whole of [[ "Breakthrough"]], the highlight of which is the [[ChekhovsGun aforementioned]] ''Allosaurus'' performing an UnnecessaryCombatRoll.
--->'''Elan:''' See? SEE?? I told you dinosaur rides were awesome!!
* EvilCannotComprehendGood:
** Played straight by several characters, especially Xykon and Nale.
** Discussed when Roy accuses Belkar of CryingWolf regarding [[spoiler:Durkon's vampirisation. When he says that Durkon's last words were a plea for his friends' safety,]] Haley believes him because "I don't think Belkar's capable of inventing someone doing that."
** Tarquin can't understand why Elan feels so bad about the fact that [[spoiler: Tarquin killed Nale right in front of him]].
** In [[ "End of the Line"]], as he hangs from the edge of the ''[[CoolAirship Mechane]]'', Tarquin thinks that Elan will save him to prove the hero is better than the villain. [[spoiler:Elan refuses and abandons his father, turning this trope into Evil Cannot Comprehend GoodIsNotDumb.]]
* EvilCounterpart: The Linear Guild's main purpose; this is actually mentioned [[LampshadeHanging in-universe]] when The Order of the Stick and the Linear Guild first meet. Justified as Nale specifically recruited his guild members to fit the "evil opposites" theme.
** Roy/Thog [[spoiler:(and later, Tarquin)]]
** Elan/Nale
** Haley/Sabine
** Belkar/Yikyik [[spoiler:-- replaced by his son Yokyok and then Yukyuk after the deaths of the first two.]]
** Vaarsuvius/Zz'dtri (and later, Pompey)
** Durkon/Hilgya [[spoiler:-- replaced by Leeky, and Malack, though Hilgya and Malack are AffablyEvil.]]
** Furthermore, Tarquin is this to Elan, with Elan's GenreSavviness turned to DangerouslyGenreSavvy.
* EvilIsNotAToy:
** [[spoiler:Vaarsuvius]] was already aware of this, chose to ignore it[[spoiler:, and is beginning to pay the consequences in the Girard's Pyramid arc]].
** As revealed in the ''Start of Darkness'' prequel, Redcloak's plan, hatched by the god of goblinoids, the Dark One, to [[spoiler:have a powerful divine and a powerful arcane caster manipulate the Gates to control the Snarl without completely releasing it, and then use the Snarl to force the other divine pantheons to give equal rights to the goblinoids and other humanoid "monsters" solely created to be experience point sword fodder for fighters and adventurers of the other, older races. Redcloak is well aware that this ''might'' end with the death and unmaking of himself and Xykon, but is still determined to go through with the Plan.]]
** Similarly, in ''Start of Darkness'', Redcloak learns the hard way that Xykon is not a toy, or even a tool. [[spoiler:Subverted, as it turns out; Redcloak still thinks of Xykon as a tool, [[ just one which takes a little more skill than most to use.]] Whether or not this assumption will come back to bite him in the arse ''again'', time alone will tell.]]
* EvilIsOneBigHappyFamily: Even though it's the TropeNamer, subverted constantly. Evil characters don't care about the alignment of other characters, only whether or not they will help or hinder them in achieving their goals.
-->'''Lee:''' Don't be silly, why would we want the lich to win?\\
'''Qarr:''' Because we're evil?\\
'''Cedrik:''' [[TropeNamer And that makes us all one big happy family]]? [[DefiedTrope Screw that]]!
:: Though the IFCC, despite defying the trope in the above quote, also play it completely straight, since their long-term goal is to forge a truce which will unite the warring fiends in an alliance against the forces of Good.
* EvilParentsWantGoodKids:
** Tarquin's psion colleague Laurin has kept her true line of work a secret from her daughter, who's a plumber and believes her mother is an interior designer for Queen Shvitzer.
** Tarquin is a bizarre case. He's delighted that his son is a big hero... but [[LawOfNarrativeCausality only because]] it means he'll inevitably have a dramatic confrontation with his ArchnemesisDad. He was ''also'' proud of his Evil son, to begin with, and only [[DoWrongRight lost patience with Nale]] when he proved on too many occasions to be StupidEvil.
* EvilPowerVacuum: Defied; Celia convinces Haley not to kill Bozzok, leader of Greysky's thieves guild, in order to stop a power vacuum from being created.
* EvilSorcerer:
** Xykon;
** Nale, Elan's twin brother, who multiclassed as fighter/rogue/sorcerer specializing in enchantments (instead of being a bard like Elan... though his multiclassing gives him the same abilities as his brother);
** Samantha, the spoiled sorceress daughter of the leader of the bandits of Wooden Forest;
** Tsukiko, the evil mystic theurge (technically she is both a divine and arcane caster);
** Qarr the Imp;
** The three evil mages (Ganonron, Haerta Bloodsoak and Jephton the Unholy) used for Vaarsuvius's soul splice.
%% "Sorcerer" as in used within the "Evil Sorcerer" trope doesn't equate with the D&D definition; don't remove an example just because it doesn't fit the D&D class.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness:
** Xykon has one in the Redmountain Hills, previously belonging to the wizard Dorukan.
** Xykon also has a ''backup'' tower in the Southern Mountains.
* EvilVersusEvil: As noted above, the bad guys are ''not'' "one big happy family" and often have vastly different goals. This is Roy's justification for keeping Belkar on the team -- at least this way, he's pointed at people even worse than himself.
* ExactWords:
** Hieronymus Grubbwiggler promises he's not creating undead -- which flesh and bone golems are not under ''D&D'' rules.
** O-Chul employs this in order to NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead in [[ "Or Mention That He's Getting Too Old for This"]].
** Durkon also uses this occasionally to avoid lying.
** Everything Redcloak says when explaining to Xykon why he [[spoiler:brutally killed Tsukiko]] is true -- he just neglects to mention the part where [[spoiler:she figured out that Redcloak has been deceiving Xykon about the purpose of the "Snarl Control" ritual.]]
** Tarquin is very fond of this too.
*** For example, he offers to send 500 of his troops to "join the battle" between the Free City of Doom and the Empire of Tears. He avoids mentioning which side his troops will be on.
*** On another occasion, he re-assures Elan that a stolen magic carpet belonged to a very rich man who owned six others. But it's a shame then that he didn't have any spares when he had his transportation pulled out from under him...
** While watching the Order struggling to fight a Silicon elemental and a pair of fiends, Nale makes a comment about how much he's going to enjoy watching his most hated enemies die shortly. [[spoiler:He's actually referring to Malack, who burns to ash a few rounds later when Nale disarms him of his staff and Zz'dtri uses ''Greater Dispel Magic'' to rob him of his ''Protection from Daylight'' effect.]]
** Said Silicon elemental also suffers from this, as it is ordered to kill "The human with the green-hilted greatsword." Haley takes advantage of this and gets the golem to attack ''her'' instead of Roy, as she is now the human holding said sword.
** Nale orders [[spoiler:Vampire Durkon]] not to drink [[spoiler:Zz'dtri]]'s blood. [[spoiler:Vampire Durkon decides to break Zz'dtri's neck.]]
** [[ Vaarsuvius attributes being able to defeat]] [[spoiler:the psion Laurin Shattersmith]] to "a combination of observations, calculations, and superior intelligence" -- not mentioning that [[spoiler:"superior intelligence" in this case refers to "having been given a full briefing on her abilities by Sabine"]].
* ExactlyWhatIAimedAt:
** Haley, throwing her (or rather [[BattleTrophy Crystal's]]) distinctive knife [[ into a wanted poster]] instead of the guy holding it. Finding her knife in a bounty poster with Nale's face on it told Roy all he needed to know to find them.
** Elan fires a ballista bolt into the ground next to his father, who jumps to the obvious conclusion. As [[spoiler:Julio Scoundrél cuts the rope and gets pulled out of the fight to safety]], he calls back "I think that's half your problem, T -- [[ItsAllAboutMe You always think everything that happens is about you!]]"
* ExcuseMeWhileIMultitask:
** Xykon conducts a job interview while storming the Azure City castle.
** In the hypothetical scenario the archfiends suggest to Vaarsuvius instead of accepting their offer, V's master Aarindarius is shown defeating a powerful dragon while reading a book, not even bothering to look in its direction.
* ExoticEntree: [[ The banquet]] that [[spoiler:Elan's father Tarquin]] holds in his honor. Poor Elan, not being the sort to enjoy such dishes, loses his appetite rather quickly.
* ExploitedImmunity:
** Xykon has no problem using his area-of-effect Meteor Swarm spell at point-blank range because he has a magic item that makes him immune to fire damage.
** During a fight between Vaarsuvius and a Black Dragon, the dragon deploys an AntiMagic field which robs them both of their spellcasting. Vaarsuvius, being a SquishyWizard, becomes completely useless within the field, while the dragon retains all of her brute strength.
** A minor example occurs in [[ "Rock the Boat"]], when Elan attempts to sink Kubota's rowboat. When Kubota complains that he's going to drown both of them, Elan reminds him that he isn't wearing any movement-hindering armor (unlike Kubota, who's wearing a breastplate), so he has a better chance of swimming to safety.
* ExpositionFairy: The title of [[ strip #532]].
* TheExtremistWasRight: Redcloak has a point that [[spoiler:the non-PC races really were set up for suffering, death and an utter lack of opportunities, and the JerkassGods probably won't bother to rectify the matter without a serious fire being lit under their backsides.]]
* EyeColourChange: [[spoiler:Happens to Durkon after he is turned into a vampire; his eyes change from black to {{red|EyesTakeWarning}}.]]
* EyepatchAfterTimeSkip: [[ Elan tries to invoke the trope.]]
* EyepatchOfPower:
** Right-Eye in ''Start of Darkness'';
** [[spoiler:Redcloak as of comic #699.]]
--->'''Xykon:''' I like you this way. It's like we have a grumpy pirate on the team.
* EyeScream:
** [[ "Smite -- Evil."]]
** [[ Not to forget:]]
--->'''Hobgoblin cleric:''' *sniff* I think... I think there's something in my eye.\\
'''Belkar:''' Got it out for you.
** This is the reason why Old Blind Pete is known as such. The worse part is that he used to be called "Eagle-Eye Pete". The even-worse part is that he got his eyes stabbed out ''again'' as soon as he paid a cleric to heal them after the first stabbing!
--->'''Old Blind Pete:''' A word of advice; if you're gonna do business with criminals, don't pick a nickname based on any body part you can't afford to lose. *sigh* I shoulda listened to Appendix Steve when he tried to warn me...
** Roy giving Thog a faceful of broken glass. [[ *keeysh!* "RRAWWRR!!"]]

* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler:Miko, Thanh, and Durkon.]]
* FaceDoodling: Elan and Belkar do it to Roy when he's paralyzed by a poison trap.
* FaceHeelTurn: Averted in [[ "The Power of Immediate Gratification"]], where ''Belkar'', of all people, gives up the chance to join a cause that'll let him do all the killing he wants. Admittedly, Belkar leaves something to be desired as a "face", but the other side is even worse, so....
* FacelessMasses: Sometimes used, especially in Azure City, on Hinjo's Junk, during the parade in Bleedingham, and in the Empire of Blood's arena. [[ Lampshaded, naturally:]]
-->'''Elan:''' Excuse me, huddled masses! Pardon me! PC coming through! PC coming--
* FacePalm: [[ "The Great Roy Greenhilt & Everybody Else Facepalm Count"]]
* FacingTheBulletsOneLiner: [[spoiler:Tarquin has ordered his army to kill Roy, Durkon and Belkar.]] The latter (already a {{scratch|damage}} away from death) has something to say.
-->'''Belkar:''' (''to Roy'') Can't we go back to dealing with '''your''' daddy issues?
* FailedAttemptAtDrama:
** In [[ "The Future Is Forged in the Fires of Today"]], after a lengthy ForgingScene, Roy is handled his reforged ancestral sword, good as new, and he takes the opportunity to solemnly renew his oath of destroying Xykon. But then he drops it while yelling in pain, because the sword is still damn hot.
** [[ An Azure City officer]] is dramatically stating that he and his men might die today, but with HONOR... only to be vomited upon by an airsick Roy.
* FailedASpotCheck: [[TropeNamers Belkar]] does this so often it's become a RunningGag, which the characters hang lampshades on.
** [[ He's missed armies of ninjas]] while they were talking to him. To his credit Haley and V failed their spot checks as well, and Belkar is alerted to the presence of ''something'' because while he's not aware of the ninjas, [[GenreSavvy he's aware of his own failed spot checks.]]
--->'''Belkar:''' Wait! I think I just failed a Listen check!
** By the rules, ninja ''are'' hard to spot (and automatically considered hiding regardless of circumstances). Belkar can't even spot the ninja ''panel'' in the bonus page about the Pirates vs. Ninjas controversy.
** And shortly after Belkar finally [[ succeeds on a spot check]], the bad guys [[ fail]].
** [[ Then Celia takes her turn.]]
* FakeHigh: In [[ "Madness"]], a being from the Lower Planes explains why Vaarsuvius (under the effects of a "soul splice") appears to have shifted more towards Evil on the character-alignment scale by presenting a college-university analogy: "It's like if you were at a party where someone has been drinking beer that they didn't know was non-alcoholic: They might seem drunk anyway, just because they were expecting it."
* FalseFlagOperation: [[spoiler:Tarquin places his allies as advisers and uses them to manipulate rulers into conquering the western continent.]]
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: The comic's simple artstyle allows for some ''really'' gruesome deaths that would otherwise have readers reaching for the barf bags.
** [[spoiler:Miko]] gets torn in half.
** [[spoiler:...And an ancient black dragon]] gets torn into much smaller pieces from the inside.
** [[spoiler:A first-level commoner]] gets disemboweled by a housecat.
** [[spoiler:Commander and Lieutenant of Team Peregrine]] get Imploded by Redcloak; [[spoiler:the Resistance leader with the topknot and kimono]] gets ripped in half by a diabolic being. All in [[ one convenient comic!]]
* FamousLastWords:
** "Goodbye... Redcloak." [[spoiler:-- Right-Eye, when his brother kills him.]]
** "It appears... not everyone... agrees with your analysis." [[spoiler:-- Lord Shojo, after Miko falls from paladinhood for killing him]].
** "You'll never take this city while I'm alive, monster!" [[spoiler:-- General Chang, just before the Death Knight accepts his terms.]]
** "Maybe if I--" *SPLAT* [[spoiler:-- Roy, coming up with so many ways to survive a fall that he doesn't notice the ground coming up beneath him.]]
** "I regret to report than I am no longer fit for duty... Supreme Leader..." [[spoiler:-- Hobgoblin commander, right before triggering Redcloak's MyGodWhatHaveIDone]] moment.
** "I--I can live with that..." [[spoiler:-- Miko]]
** "I'll take my chances... that the Afterlife... won't have any punishment worse... than not being with you..." [[spoiler:-- Therkla]]
** "Now come along, bring me to your master so we can begin the Trial of the Century." [[spoiler:-- Kubota, right before V disintegrates him.]]
** "No! No! You... [[YouMonster you MONSTER!]]" [[spoiler:-- Black Dragon Mom, when V slaughters her entire family for attempting to slaughter ''his or her'' family.]]
** "You double-crossing whore, when Bozzok raises me--" [[spoiler:-- Crystal]]
** "Why don't... you love... me?" [[spoiler:-- Tsukiko, being killed by her own undead minions.]]
** "I get ta go home." [[spoiler:-- Durkon, being killed by Malack, dying with a smile on his face.]]
** [[spoiler: "NERRRGHHALL! SSAVE MEEE!"]] [[spoiler:-- Minister Malack dying by (Nale-administered) sun exposure.]]
** "I want NOTHING from you! I am my own man, not some cog in your latest oh-so-clever scheme! I don't want your nepotism or your charity or your pity! I want NOTHING!" [[spoiler:-- Nale, though the very last thing he says is "[[BigYes YES!]]" after Tarquin asks if that's what he really feels.]]
* {{Fanservice}}: Lampshaded during Haley's bath sequence in ''On the Origin of [=PCs=]''.
* FantasticNatureReserve: The room filled with outdated monsters in Dorukan's dungeon.
* FantasticRacism:
** Basically Redcloak's motivation both ways. His family was slaughtered because paladins don't consider his kind to have the right to exist, so he blames all humans for the actions of that group and kills them freely.
** Classism: Wizards in general and Vaarsuvius in particular seem to look down on the other magic-using classes. Sorcerers are usually the targets, but being called a warlock is a dire insult.
* FarEast: (Or Far South, as the case may be.) Azure City ''would'' be a FantasyCounterpartCulture for Japan, if it were at all consistent. Instead, names like "Miko Miyazaki" stand side by side with names like "O-Chul", and the people worship the Twelve Gods, the animals from the ''Chinese'' zodiac. This, naturally, is a [[SatireParodyPastiche pastiche]] of ''D&D'''s Oriental mishmash settings, most specifically the ''Oriental Adventures'' {{sourcebook}}.
* FastballSpecial:
** Well, "Tetherball Special", anyhow. That one's even called [[ "Wolverine, Eat Your Heart Out"]].
** Also, what happens when you sit on Durkon's head as he casts Thor's Might.
* FastForwardMechanic: Invoked in [[ "Time Is on My Side"]].
* FatalFlaw:
** The {{pride}} and [[IneffectualLoner inability to admit that his/her magic can't do everything]] of Vaarsuvius, as pointed out by the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent fiends]] in [[ "The Wrong Reasons"]]. See also [[ "First Step in the Process"]]:
--->'''Blackwing:''' Mistakes were made all around, but the important thing is that [[ this]] needless conflict is now over WITHOUT the loser's entire family line getting totally eradicated. [[SarcasmMode So, you know]]. Progress.
** ''On the Origin of [=PCs=]'' has Roy claiming that belief in the complete supremacy of arcane magic is a common flaw among spellcasters.
** Thinking he knows more about a situation than he actually does is Roy's flaw. If Roy had known [[spoiler:that liches can regenerate from a phylactery]] from the very beginning, [[spoiler:he could have made sure Xykon was DeaderThanDead and wouldn't have been able to return, so he has kill him again. This also lead to Miko becoming wrongfully suspicious of Roy, with disastrous consequences]]. In a TooCleverByHalf moment, he also believed he had outsmarted the Oracle, when the latter was more than happy to just tell him which Gate Xykon was headed towards next. Later, he dismisses the Celestial's warnings about [[spoiler:V's DealWithTheDevil]] because he thinks she's talking about Belkar.
** Redcloak mentally locks himself onto a single course of action and then refuses to deviate from it, no matter what changing circumstances intervene. His end goal is "get the goblin races a stable power base, land that isn't worthless, and diplomatic recognition so that we can have a level playing field". He got that ''hundreds of strips ago'', but because his original plan involved using Xykon and the Gates to get it, he's still fixated on doing that. Because that is ''The Plan'', and if he deviates from it then all the sacrifices he's made were pointless, and it can't be pointless.
* FateWorseThanDeath:
** [[spoiler:The Ancient Black Dragon intended to bind Vaarsuvius' children souls to it forever]], and [[spoiler:Xykon has a fondness for trapping the souls of important enemies in gems. This is subverted when he [[HeartwarmingMoments imprisons Dorukan in the same gem as Lirian]]]].
** A slightly more [[ToiletHumor humorous example]]: after willingly being abused and used as a weapon by Belkar in order to not be destroyed, the head of the "Eye of Fear and Flame" (one of Xykon's three decoys) finally draws the line when the latter announces his intentions to eventually use him as an "emergency chamber pot".
** [[RunningGag Another]] [[ToiletHumor humorous example:]] [[ Kobold Kitty Litter.]]
--->'''Durkon:''' Uh... wait. Aren't ye gonna, y'know, kill the kobold first?\\
'''V & Belkar:''' {{No|tSoDifferent}}.
* FauxAffablyEvil:
** Xykon. Redcloak even lampshades it in a conversation with a hobgoblin goon.
** Tarquin is so affable that a few people think that even after [[KickTheDog kicking a few dogs]] he's only TrueNeutral.
** The Giant seems to enjoy playing with the FauxAffablyEvil trope in general: Redcloak averts it, both before and after his MyGodWhatHaveIDone (before it, he doesn't bother to show the slightest concern for the hobgoblins, and after he genuinely does care about them), and Miko inverts it via GoodIsNotNice.
* FauxHorrific: Elan is appalled at the terrible choreography of the opening act of the gladiator games.
* FauxYay: [[ "Slash Attack"]] -- by Belkar and Roy, after seeing Tarquin's face for the first time, to explain their surprise as they recognized Elan's traits on him.
* FavouritismFlipFlop: Inverted in [[ "The Prisoner Dilemma"]].
* FeatherFingers: While he's never used them as hands ''per se'', Blackwing is fond of GivingSomeoneThePointerFinger with his wingtips.
* FetchQuest: Begins the second arc. Subject to lots of lampshading (but of course).
* FieldPowerEffect: The Azure City throne room is consecrated. Notably, it makes any attempt by an evil cleric at [[TurnUndead "turning"]] the Ghost-Martyrs of the Sapphire Guard more difficult. It takes one as powerful as Redcloak to have any chance of succeding.
* FightingFingerprint: Roy is familiar enough with Thog's fighting style to correctly guess that the warrior the Order is fighting in [[ strip #852]] is actually an imposter.
* FightingForAHomeland: Redcloak sees claiming a goblinoid homeland as [[DragonWithAnAgenda a secondary goal to his service of Xykon]]. Once [[spoiler:Azure City is taken]], he founds the nation of Gobbotopia and appoints one of his lieutenants as its leader.
* FightingFromTheInside: [[spoiler:[[ Durkon]].]]
* FillerStrips: Lampshaded (see FourthWallMailSlot).
* FinalBossPreview: Both Xykon (to Roy) and Tarquin (to Elan) lampshade the fact that if they attack them too early, they'll only be defeated and forced to retreat so they can train for the ''real'' final battle.
-->'''Tarquin:''' We just met. The tension needs to build more. [...] So, you go finish up your little plot and come back in, say, ten years?\\
'''Elan:''' Dad, I can't let you hurt all these people for ten years!\\
'''Tarquin:''' Well, if you want, you can force the confrontation early... but the way these things go, you'll probably end up losing a hand or an eye or something.
* FinalSolution: Vaarsuvius's partner and children are threatened by a vengeful dragon. Channeling the magical power of the three most powerful mages in the Lower Planes, Vaarsuvius finds a solution to the problem: [[spoiler: Vaarsuvius kills not only this dragon, but also any dragon that is in any way related to it -- a quarter of the Black Dragon population -- to stop any threat to his/her family.]]
* FireForgedFriends: Blackwing resents being Vaarsuvius's familiar, due to V's neglectful behavior towards him for most of the comic. But when they're forced to work together in an attempt to destroy Xykon, they put aside their differences and learn mutual respect for one another.
* FiveStagesOfGrief: The immediate reaction of [[spoiler:Roy to the news of Durkon being Turned]] is Denial and Anger aimed squarely at the BearerOfBadNews (at [[ShootTheMessenger swordpoint]], no less). He seems to have at least accepted the truth of the message by the end of the strip, but whether that corresponds to Acceptance of the loss remains to be seen. [[spoiler:Durkon is soon back and walking around as a vampire, reunited with the Order, and at this point Roy seems to be in denial regarding how much of his former friend is left inhabiting his undead body.]]
* {{Flashback}}:
** Eugene remembers why he cast the BloodOath against [[OurLichesAreDifferent Xykon]] in [[ "Unfinished Business"]].
** Haley sympathizes with teenage goblins in [[ "Teenage Wasteland"]].
** Haley remembers why she hates Crystal with a burning passion in [[ "Mean Girls"]].
** Roy remembers learning the tactical advantage of surprise in Fighter College in [[ "And They Got Extra Credit for It, Too"]].
** Tarquin [[ describing his and Nale's history]].
--->'''Elan:''' But what I really don't understand is how you came to be working for a red dragon in the first place.\\
'''Tarquin:''' [[LampshadeHanging Brilliant set-up for my inevitable backstory, my boy!]]
* FlashbackNightmare: Vaarsuvius in [[ "Running Away"]].
* FluffyCloudHeaven: The coexistent demiplane from which the Upper Planes denizens come to watch mortals. Eugene is stuck there because of his UnfinishedBusiness.
* FluffyFashionFeathers: After they accidentally teleport into a giant bird's nest, Belkar is briefly shown wearing a [[PimpDuds pimp hat]] adorned with a giant red feather that's as big as him.
* {{Flynning}}: [[ The fight]] between Elan and [[spoiler:Tarquin]] is full of it.
* {{Foil}}: The relationship of Tarquin and Malack mirrors that of Roy and Durkon. Both sets are fighters whose NumberTwo and best friend is the team's cleric, and to drive the mirror further [[spoiler:Durkon is now a vampire too.]]
* FogFeet:
** A djinni in the flashback of [[ Celia's job interview]].
** The visual representation of the ''Wind Walk'' spell is for the characters' legs to be replaced with vapour trails.
* FollowTheChaos: When Elan has Durkon ''Send'' a call for help to an ally, he phrases it with this trope in mind:
-->'''Durkon:''' (''in flashback'') If'n ye wanna fight an evil villain bent on conquest, go ta Windy Canyon an' look fer tha big explosion.\\
'''Roy:''' (''in present'') The explosion? Elan, there was only going to be an explosion if we totally screwed up defending the Gate!\\
'''Elan:''' [[ForegoneConclusion Well, yeah]].
* FoolsMap: The co-ordinates the Sapphire Guard have for Girard's Rift lead to a completely random spot in the desert, with a magical message that Girard programmed to activate and mock Soon Kim if detected him at those co-ordinates trying to find the rift.
* ForceVersusDiscipline: Sorcerers (force) vs. wizards (discipline).
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** After defeating a black dragon, the party realizes he was just an underling of the real guardian of the cave. The real guardian of the cave? [[spoiler:[[MamaBear His mom]]. [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge Uh oh.]]]] Plus, the black dragon in the cave mentions [[spoiler:his mother]] while talking to V. For extra fun, read V's dialogue in [[ "Tactical Priorities"]]. Spoilers, ahoy!
** Plus [[ "The Resistance of Memory"]], specifically when the Oracle tells Roy why he wants him gone.
** Also an extremely subtle one in [[ "Headed Down"]]. See what Eric is playing with?
** [[ Haley's evil twin gibe could be seen as this]] or as a CallBack.
** [[ "Only the honor of a paladin is unbreakable]] -- [[ even by death itself."]]
** Nale says, "[[ This disguise won't work forever.]] [[ Except maybe for the halfling.]]"
** [[ Haley's father's imprisonement in Tyrinaria is mentioned early on.]] [[ It has set up a surprising twist later.]]
** [[ "Then I will die, but not today."]]
** Julia thinks Nale [[ would be kinda cute]] if he [[ shaved off that stupid beard.]]
** A minor one, but look at the hair belonging to the new aspect of Haley's personality in [[ strip #319]]. Now go to any strips between #610 and #752 involving the party.
** [[ "I hoped really, really hard, and he still didn't escape!"]]
** [[ "Do you need, like, 200-foot tall flaming letters or something?"]]
** [[ The Oracle saying Roy and Elan are late for a pair of family reunions.]]
** [[ Nale accusing Tarquin of killing his wife, when Tarquin thought it was Nale hints something went very wrong.]] [[spoiler:Tarquin being DangerouslyGenreSavvy, most certainly caught on to the fact that "4-6 high-level adventurers showing up on his doorstep" matches the timeframe of this event, and that something bigger is at work.]] Then [[ strip #843]] happens and explains it all for us.
** Girard ''Drake''tooth isn't just your basic fantasy AwesomeMcCoolname. [[spoiler:He's the grandson of a dragon. A dragon related to the one Vaarsuvius nailed with Familicide. ''Oops.'']]
** Related: V's initial [[ death toll]] shows a bipedal half-dragon warrior and sorcerer, and a dragon-centaur. Later, V [[ sees]] [[spoiler:Girard's a dragon hybrid.]]
** Belkar [[ correctly predicts]] how Miko's interactions with the Order of the Stick will ultimately end, though not for the right reason.
** [[ Wrong again, Eugene]] -- [[ Roy DOES get to train with a martial arts master in the afterlife]].
** Elan let his idea of a happy ending slip a little after meeting up with his father: [[ "Hey, do you think Roy will mind calling my mother Mom]] [[ when Dad remarries her?"]]
** Malack doesn't eat at the welcoming banquet for Elan because he requires "[[ a special diet]]". Also earlier, when drinking tea with Durkon, the latter finds it to taste foul and he wonders what's in it. It eventually turns out his "[[ special diet]]" is revealed [[spoiler:to be blood]].
** [[ "Don't worry your precious dead head, Malack. Once I secure this gate, you won't have to worry about me anymore."]]
** Tarquin has fought dashing swordsmen before he reunited with Elan...
* ForgingScene: Appears with the reforging of Roy's greatsword intercut with shots of other characters preparing for the upcoming story arc. Although some of the dramatic power is reduced when Roy is handed the sword just after it is finished... and promptly drops it screaming, because, well, it's just been forged and it's still ''really'' hot.
* ForInconveniencePressOne: "Hello! And Welcome to [=ThorPrayer=][-[[superscript:TM]]-]."
* FourthWall: Broken, smashed, and plowed under by a steamroller.
* FourthWallMailSlot:
** The Order does one in [[ "Mail Call"]] and later in [[ "The Return of Mail Call"]].
--->'''Belkar:''' Here's an idea: Let's never do this again.\\
'''Haley:''' Yeah, like we're never gonna need filler again. Dream on, shorty.
** A pair of expendable hobgoblins then take over in [[ "Son of Mail Call"]].
* {{Fox News|Channel}}: Referenced briefly as the horrible method Gnomes get information. At first it looks like Burlew is taking a shot at the news outlet... until the panel cuts away to a bunch of gnomes listening to an ''actual'' fox, red, white-tipped tail, yipping noises and everything. Let's face it, if you got all your news from a small furry animal, some things would slip through the cracks.
* FriendlyWar: We have [[spoiler:three desert empires that always struggle against each other. However, they are secretly allied with each other. The conflict between them is merely an excuse to take over other nations, as well as a safeguard to keep the other peoples from uniting against them.]]
* FromASingleCell:
** Xykon can resurrect from ''nothing'' as long as his [[SoulJar phylactery]] is intact.
** Roy is Resurrected from just a skull, being the biggest bit of him left after the Bone Golem made from his corpse is destroyed. ''Resurrection'' could possibly bring someone back from the dead with just a single drop of blood, as noted in [[ "Operation Desert Inform"]].
* FromBadToWorse:
** Things get continually worse throughout the prequel book ''Start of Darkness'', especially for Redcloak. And considering that the book ''starts'' with [[spoiler:his mother, uncle, mentor, older brother and younger sister being massacred by paladins]], you know it's going to get pretty bad.
** When the Order reaches Girard's pyramid, [[spoiler:they find everyone is dead.]] Then, [[spoiler:Vaarsuvius realizes it was hir that killed them with Familicide.]] Later, [[spoiler:the Linear Guild arrives.]] Then, [[spoiler: it turns out that Malack is a vampire and turns Durkon into one.]] Next thing, [[spoiler:Roy destroys the Gate to prevent it from falling into someone else's hands, while V gets pulled out of action by the [=IFCC=].]] Then, [[spoiler:after Nale kills Malack, Tarquin appears with a large army, bent on killing most of the Order.]] And finally, when we thought everything would be OK, [[spoiler:Durkon is actually being controlled by a High Priest of Hel, and intends to destroy the dwarves by controlling Kraagor's Gate.]]
* FunetikAksent: To the point that there is a spell in-universe (''Comprehend Inconsistent Languages'') to translate the speech bubbles written this way. Durkon is the poster child for this.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent:
** In [[ "Saved Game"]]: The Hobgoblin general falling after Redcloak dismisses the summoned hell-mammoth.
** Panel 4 of [[ "It's Where the Cool Kids Swim"]]. Look at the text of the "Safety a Close Second!" poster.
* FunWithAcronyms: ''[[ The Book of Odad]]''
* FunWithHomophones:
** The CrowningMomentOfAwesome for HulkSpeak delivered by [[ thog]]: it makes perfect sense written down while being utterly incomprehensible when spoken. [[spoiler:[[ Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo etc.]]]]
--->'''Thog: not nale, not-nale. thog help nale nail not-nale, not nale. and thog knot not-nale while nale nail not-nale. nale, not not-nale, now nail not-nale by leaving not-nale, not nale, in jail.'''
** [[ "It's a Type of Boat"]]
--->'''Lien:''' This is your junk.\\
'''Hinjo:''' But why aren't there any citizens aboard it yet?\\
'''Lien:''' Your uncle was a very private person, sir. He forbade anyone from touching his junk.\\
'''Hinjo:''' Well, that ends now. My uncle may have kept his junk to himself, but my junk will be for the people!\\
Are there still evacuees waiting to board a ship?\\
'''Lien:''' Oh, yes, sir, I imagine I'll have no trouble finding people willing to get aboard your junk.\\
It should be able to hold many passengers.\\
'''Hinjo:''' I agree, my junk appears to be quite long...\\
'''Roy:''' Wider than I would have expected, too.\\
'''Hinjo:''' Very well, Lien, you hold my junk here until it is fully loaded.\\
'''Lien:''' That could take some time, Lord Hinjo...\\
'''Hinjo:''' I don't care how long it takes, I don't want my junk to launch prematurely.
** In [[ "The Name of the Windy"]], Durkon omitted to prepare ''Control Winds'' although they were going to the WINDY Canyon, because he thought it was called the '''Windy''' Canyon, as in full of winding passages. Vaarsuvius lampshades the fact that it shouldn't have happened because the words are heteronyms with different pronunciation.