For a webcomic starring stick figures, The Order of the Stick has quite a lot of these. For the sake of the servers, please refrain from marking everything that happens as one of these.
Also, expect massive unmarked spoilers.
Vaarsuvius: Bah!! You are clearly only hiring me because I intimidated you intellectually, to the point where your masculine pride requires you to establish your dominance over my superior mind. Roy: Maybe. Or maybe I'm hiring you because I require the creation of a managed spherical energy release with a thermal signature no less than 1850° Kelvin, which can be manifested at specific X, Y, and Z coordinates from verbal cues. I require this specific temperature because it is the minimum level at which necrotized epidermis has been proven to combust and I have reason to believe that my mission will require the incapacitation of multiple post-organic hostiles. Vaarsuvius: So... you need Fireball spells to toast the undead you expect to fight? Roy: Did I stutter? Vaarsuvius: A pleasure to serve under you, sir. Roy: Welcome aboard. Now get me a new table.
After he beats Sabine, she tries to seduce him by saying that he can do "anything [he] wants" with her. Roy looks at her as she strips, cocks an eyebrow, and says "anything I want, you say?" and proceeds to knock her out the window.
Roy: You're right; that did feel better than before.
"Rematch". Yes, he failed; yes, Azure City was taken; and, yes, this still counts as a CMOA. Roy risked (and lost) his life to avenge a man he never knew for a father he never loved, but more importantly for the lives of friends and thousands of innocent people. He did this from a sense of courage and honor that makes most Paladins seem like cutthroats in comparison, and even though he lost, we'll always know that he tried.
Roy: I'm not going to change who you are as a person by shouting a few insults at you, no matter how clever they might be. I used to think that I could; that if I could just deliver the perfect retort, it would open your eyes a little. But if everything you've been through with Mom and Eric and Grandpa and the literal forces of the cosmos hasn't made you want to be a better man, I doubt a one-liner from me is going to do the trick now. You are who you are, and every time I stoop to the level of engaging you with an angry tirade, I'm a little more like you and a little less like Mom.
Just to be perfectly clear: Roy goads Thog into using Roy's own body as a battering ram to damage the pillars supporting the roof...
This fight is so awesome that Elan's father congratulates him on it even though he destroyed part of the arena. One of the guards asks for an autograph.
It's worth pointing out that, right before Mr. Scruffy knocked Sir Scraggly into the arena, Roy was overpowering hulked-out Thog.
His ambush of the Linear Guild. With just a smoke arrow and a holy word, he manages to separate one member with a trap, flat out defeat another, and deafen most of the rest including one spellcaster that requires exact pronunciation, incapacitating half the guild in one swoop and disorienting the rest. As if that wasn't enough, when Nale rushes to get his sword, he gets ambushed by Belkar, and immediately attempts to put the latter into a suggestion spell... and fails because Belkar was also deafened by the holy word.
Roy: It's not a bug, it's a feature.
Realising that Girard's Gate was being hidden in a pillar that was marked SORRY, YOUR GATE IS IN ANOTHER PYRAMID and, upon finding it, deciding to destroy it so that no one can try to control it. Then you realize that Roy came to that conclusion thanks to investing skill points in a cross class skill. Knowledge [Architecture and Engineering] once again proves to be useful for the fighter. It demonstrates that his smarts are more than just for show.
Page 917. With an entire army bearing down on him, two allies, and a single summoned outsider, Roy quickly and calmly comes up with a plan to survive for as long as possible. The outsider goes on the front lines (its damage reduction means mook weapons aren't going to do much) with Roy (who can carve through anything in reach with Great Cleave), Durkon works on hypnotizing enemy soldiers (while the turned ones get killed quick, that means less people trying to kill them), and Belkar (who currently has the Constitution score of a half-dead field mouse) kicks up sand for concealment. And he comes up with all this in seconds, as he's getting pincushioned by crossbow bolts. He may not have the intelligence to match the comic's Chessmaster-level villains, but in terms of adaptability, Roy is unparalleled. Cutting a dinosaur and its rider in half in one swing was pretty awesome too, as Belkar himself admits. The whole scene is humorously lampshaded by Tarquin in that he meant for a tragic execution scene but ended up making Roy look badass in a climatic battle instead.
Elan's very first Awesome Moment, chronologically, is when he meets Roy in On the Origin of PCs. Roy's having trouble recruiting adventurers, so Elan sets him straight by having him dress as a Mysterious Stranger and sit in the corner of a tavern. Just when Roy's ready to pack it in, a line of adventurers are at his table! That's right, if Elan hadn't used his Genre Savvy to help a complete stranger, the Order of the Stick might never have been formed.
Elan gets one in "Death from Above" after Taking a Level in Badass. Directly after that entrance he starts cutting up his brother, who wasn't expecting a fight at all. When his brother regroups and attacks him with reinforcements, Elan manages to duel his brother (an accomplished swordsman who handily beat Elan last time they fought) and creates an illusion to scare Thog (a Teletubby!) at the same time.
Elan might be a bit smarter at using his skills than we've been led to believe. Bonus points for having done so on a succubus, of all creatures.
Elan breaking the party out of their Lotus-Eater Machine by doing what he does best, being Genre Savvy. Even more awesome if you think about it. He showed real emotional maturity by being willing to accept that his perfect world is so unlikely as to be functionally impossible. A real change from his usual childish "the heroes always win" optimism. Not long ago it took burning people alive to make him see that his father was Evil. Not only that, he shows his growth by acknowledging his wishes were "childish ideas that never should have happened" and his family is "screwed up and broken". His maturity allows him to face reality, even at the cost of the happy ending he always wanted. And despite all that, he doesn't break. Quite the opposite; he's even more sure that things will work out in the end — and his optimism pulls Roy out of the funk he'd been in since Durkon died.
Elan:You're wrong. You're wrong about everything. You only think you know what's supposed to happen. But we get to decide what sort of story this is and what role we play — hero or comic relief. Or both at the same time.
In #927, Elan, of all people, comes up with a brilliant plan on the fly to save Roy's life and strike a telling blow against his father and his father's backup. And then, to rub salt in Tarquin's wounds, he immediately turns authority back over to Roy, trusting him to have a better idea to solve this mess.
Elan literally stands between Roy and Tarquin, and tells his father that:
Elan: If you want Roy dead, you'll have to kill me first.
The plan he made before finding Girard's Gate: to combat his Evil father, he called in a favor from his Good father-figure: Julio Scoundrél.
And he did so by convincing Scoundrél to do what Elan was already doing: making a more interesting story by defying traditional tropes like the Mentor-always-dying cliche.
Elan: Tell him... tell him this: the hero of any story can defy danger - but only a special hero can defy stories themselves. And wouldn't that make a cool story anyway?
Vaarsuvius: Belkar is a horrible, loathsome, supremely selfish creature, who behaves contemptuously, laughs at the pain of others, has no manners whatsoever, and whose mental acuity would be compared unfavorably to that of a table. And yet I find I still prefer him to you!
V recognizes that Kubota is evil and blasts him away in one shot, thus saving the crew time in dealing with yet another villain. Also, that mustache did not do him any favors.
V versus the elder dragon. It may have been brutal, it may have been evil, but it was undeniably awesome.
V's second chance: although terrified beaten nearly to death, and with no spells that can help against an Epic-level Lich... giving up a chance of Feather Falling out of the tower to safety to go back to heal O-Chul. Also doubles as a CMOA and somewhat Big Damn Heroes moment for Blackwing, as he shows up exactly when his particular skill set, as a super-advanced flying stealth dinosaur, is exactly what O-Chul and V need to save the day. The fact that he wasn't able to drop the phylactery into the rift doesn't detract.
Immediately following that: "Guess what spell I cast before giving this to the bird." and the strip after it. Bonus points for the fact that V actually takes Xykon's advice to heart and uses it against him — it's not how powerful your spells are, it's how you use what you've got. Fittingly, Xykon is clearly impressed, when he realizes V has given Blackwing his phylactery.
This is even more apparent in V's rematch with Zz'dtri, who's tailored his entire build to defeat V. After spending the majority of the duel blasting away to no effect, V realizes that by focusing on V exclusively, Zz'dtri has exposed a huge weakness to archers. So V brainwashes the Linear Guild's current Belkar counterpart (since Haley was Taken for Granite), who has dual crossbows and has him go to town. Keep in mind Vaarsuvius starts the counter attack with Haley's threefavoritewords and finishes by keeping calm and resisting Zz'dtri's taunts.
Double-teaming Qarr with Blackwing to get the information that yes, V was responsible for everything V did during the soul splice (which the audience already knew), who Qarr is really working for, and that Roy and the others are no longer in the same location they were in when V fell down the hole. All in one page.
Durkon: I'm on the balcony because it be tea time.
Durkon finally gets to use a holy word. Even more awesome now that the consequences of the Holy Word are clear: Sabine gets sent back to her plane and both Nale and Zz'dtri have gone deaf... as well as Belkar.
In a non-physical example, Durkon's stubborn refusal to back down in the face of honeyed words, biased offers and the unspoken threat of death before him... to save Belkar, of all people. Sometimes that dwarven attitude works.
And then he tricks him into talking so he can find him. And then mockingly compares him to Nale.
Durkon: Mebbe — but at least Nale keeps movin' around when 'e starts with tha pontificatin'!!
When the Linear Guild tries to recruit him after killing Malack. Doubles as a He's Back considering he's a vampire but still loyal enough to the Order to beat up the LG.
Durkon: Aye... mebbe I haf changed. But tha two o' ye're still tha same old dicks! (brains them both with a single swing)
Followed immediately by snapping Zz'drti's neck, thus additionally banishing one of the LG's summoned fiends, sending the other to fight the Silicon Elemental, scaring off Nale and Qarr and diving into the fight alongside his comrades once more.
Nale: What are you doing? I helped you! Durkon: An' I'm helpin' ye back. By cuttin' down on yer employee overhead.
Just when you think he couldn't top it, he undergoes a fullblownVision Quest, and recovers from his coma just in time to kick simply ungodly amounts of ass. In short order: he slaughters half the Thieves' Guild (aided by Mr. Scruffy and the cleric), seduces the Guild's bard/rogue/sorceress mid-battle, saves Haley, and shows a more refined level of cruelty by not killing Crystal or Old Blind Pete (instead leaving him to the cleric who Pete just betrayed). In Belkar's own words: "Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." Also shows himself capable of being a fantastic team player, perhaps the most important development.
It was Belkar's idea to save bounty hunters Gannji and Enor from being executed in the gladiator arena by unleashing the Allosaurus normally kept to devour gladiators to shield them from the arrows fired at them. But he lets Ian, the one who picked the lock to the dinosaur's cage in the first place, take the credit.
It's him, of all people, who snaps Roy out of his Heroic BSOD over Durkon's death (in his own way, of course). On an interesting note, this may be Belkar's first CMoA that doesn't incorporate any violence at all.
Despite having recently been drained of most of his blood, Belkar thinks quickly enough to hide in Girard's sarcophagus to protect from the collapse of the pyramid. Even more unbelievably, he brings the rest of the Order with him. Considering the circumstances, that means it had to be a reflexive response. He reflexivelysaved the lives of Roy, Elan and Haley. Even if he could excuse it as just trying to save Mr. Scruffy (being carried by Haley), that's still remarkably quick thinking for Belkar, especially regarding the circumstances.
Belkar: Flee! Flee before me, worms! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
In Start of Darkness, Xykon defeats Dorukan while giving an evil "World of Cardboard" Speech, followed by his brutal crushing of Redcloak's will. One line that stands out in light of some of Redcloak's claims of being the one who is manipulating Xykon:
Xykon: Oh, Redcloak. Don't confuse not caring with not knowing.
Xykon: I used to think spells equaled power too, back when I was alive. I've learned a lot since then. You know what does equal power? Power. Power equals power. Crazy, huh? But the type of power? Doesn't matter as much as you think. It turns out, everything is oddly balanced. Weird, but true. For example... (reaches out and puts the currently invisible Vaarsuvius in a choke hold) ...right now, power takes the form of a +8 racial bonus to Listen skill checks. So, Uncle Xykon, what's the moral of the story? Vaarsuvius: Unnh... gllch... Xykon: A big pile of spells isn't enough when the other guy has a big pile of spells AND the strength to crush your windpipe with his bare phalanges. Vaarsuvius: ... Xykon: And they died happily ever after. The end.
Redcloak: Oooo, I'm sorry, this party is invitation only, and you? You're not on the list. If you have any questions, you'll have to take it up with my assistant. His name is "15d6 Points of Whirling Death for Humans". Tsukiko: Fine. Where can I find him? Redcloak: Right here. Blade Barrier. Tsukiko: AAAH! HEY! I am SO telling Xykon about this! Redcloak: Yeah? Don't forget to mention the elemental. Tsukiko: Huh? Mention what about the elemental? Chlorine elemental:kill all humans.
Handing Hinjo his ass with one spell is a huge heads up, not only to the party but also to the readers, that for all the bowing and scraping he does for Xykon, Redcloak is not someone to underestimate.
Redcloak's effortless defeat of the resistance, with "implode" as additional Nightmare Fuel.
Directly followed by his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Tsukiko and the Nightmare Fuelthat follows. And the real kicker here? Redcloak controls Xykon. Not the other way around like the entire rest of the comic would have you believe. Every insult, humiliation, and frustration Redcloak has suffered is one he allowed to happen so he could maintain his subtle control over Xykon's actions. And then he goes and proves it by outright telling Xykon he killed her and basically manipulating the truth so that he leads Xykon to the conclusions he wants him to make without even having to lie.
MitD: Which of these sounds like the hero you need to worry about: The last paladin of a conquered city, beaten but never broken, sworn to stop the evil lich who wiped out his holy order — or some random fighter guy you already snuffed once? Redcloak: Yeah, but you're forgetting that Greenhilt has some... thing... about his father, I think? Crap. Xykon: Weird as it is, I think the dim bulb has a point.
O-Chul's performance in the episode of "Dead or Alive?" made an instant Memetic Badass out of the last survivor of the Sapphire Guard. On top of the events in that comic, his captors have apparently been doing this to him for months, and upping the ante each time — and he's still going.
Redcloak: Logic dictates that the simplest solution is the most probable. O-Chul: And you find the idea that I have some sort of secret knowledge implanted in my brain by the elders of the Sapphire Guard that has been so deeply suppressed that no magical effect can unearth it to be SIMPLER... than the idea that I just don't know anything? (beat) Redcloak: ...I like the way I phrased it better. O-Chul:No doubt.
His ability to inspire friendship in the Monster in the Darkness, and his speech to it/him. The demon cock roaches were desperate to shut him up because it was working! O-Chul was on the verge of inducing a Heel-Face Turn for Xykon's most powerful minion.
O-Chul: It's Xykon's spell list. Or most of it, anyway. Roy: Are you kidding?!? How did you get this?? O-Chul:One saving throw at a time.note Meaning that O-Chul has seen or experienced every single one of those spells and lived to tell about it. Or, to put it another way, he was tortured for months on end, and still managed to collect and retain all this information in case he managed to escape.
Kazumi: So what are the rest of you spineless mother%$@ers waiting for? I'm a goddamn baby-making, life-taking MACHINE! Why should I care how many people I have to kill? I can just make MORE in my TUMMY!
More importantly, he distracted Redcloak long enough for Niu to escape. Sure, Redcloak killed him, but the taunt did make Redcloak pause long enough to monologue at Thanh about how the taunt won't affect him, not realizing that Niu is escaping.
Nale manages to lure the Order to Cliffport under the pretense of kidnapping Roy's little sister, while in reality the whole trip and ensuing battle is an elaborate plan to isolate Elan, switch places with him, frame him for the mass homicides Nale himself had been committing for several weeks prior, have him imprisoned, and supplant him among the Order as they leave town for another country. Just so you know, it's executed to perfection. Here's the definitive scene.
And he was going to kill Haley too, after seducing her. He almost pulled it off, even after Elan came crashing back to save the day, by magically manipulating Elan to think that she was the Linear Guild's spy, temporarily turning them against one another.
Rarely, just rarely, those convoluted schemes of Nale's actually work, such as when he kills Malackin #906, and reveals that he's finally gained some Dangerously Genre Savvy. Ya do your old man proud.
Nale: You may have been thinking about killing me for the past two years — but I've been thinking about killing you since I was nine years old! I murdered your children as a practice run!
Tarquin laying it all out: even if Elan defeats him, overthrows his empire, and slays him, Tarquin still wins, by sheer virtue of the awesome story that will result that will immortalize him as a legendary villain remembered for all time. And the real kicker is that once Elan runs away in horror at the realization, the final panel is of Tarquin calmly sipping his drink, basking in the moment.
Tarquin: If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend.
"Parental Insight" contains two: First is him revealing he knew the Order was an adventuring party all along, but put the band back together for his benefit... but not for catching Nale, since he would never leave the city. How does Tarquin know this? As the strip's title says, parental insight...and because he got a Ring of True Seeing for his birthday. Cue an invisible Nale shitting himself as Tarquin smiles at him. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny too.
Tarquin: Hello, Nale. Walk with me. We have a lot to talk about.
"What did you think the price for killing my best friend would be?" Made even more awesome by the fact that he let Nale walk right into this, and gave him every opportunity to stop himself. After all, if Nale didn't want nepotism, charity, pity, protection, or anything from Tarquin, what was left?
One word: HARM. That single spell completely changed the dynamic of his fight with Nale. Also, notably he follows it up with another damaging spell in what is considered one of the best cleric combos in the game. Guy knows his stuff.
Then, during his duel with Durkon, he uses his gaseous form to escape a losing battle, allowing Durkon to free Belkar... who has been affected by Malack's vampiric Hypnotic Eyes and immediately attacks Durkon, causing Durkon to waste a couple spell slots and allowing Malack time to heal himself. Seems that Tarquin's Dangerously Genre Savvy rubs off.
It also turns out that as he is a vampire and will live much longer than any of his teammates, he will control all three empires once they die. Tarqin's actually fine with it since it means his empire will continue, all he asked was that Malack get him a bigger statue later on.
Malack also put a backdoor in the Death Ward he and Durkon created together that allowed him to dispel it with a single word, just in case he'd need to fight Durkon. He promptly helps himself to Durkon's blood.Dangerously Genre Savvy doesn't begin to cover it. And his staff can speed up the vampirification process so he doesn't have to bury those he turns for three days and wait when he's in a rush. Just WOW. The guy is officially as Crazy-Prepared as his boss.
In strip #903, he gets this with a simple "No" as a supreme jab at Nale's mistake (and his own minor betrayal of Nale for not mentioning that he noticed the Order behind an illusion earlier). Malack is clearly over working with his hated enemy by now.
Roy: You're not a cleric, scaly. You couldn't banish me if you tried. Oracle: True, I'm not a cleric... but ain't it funny how I always seem to have just the right magic item here in my robe? Dismissal!
When Celia intimidates members of Greysky City's Thieves' Guild... into legally reinstating Haley into the Guild.
Ancient Black Dragon: I am curious, however... what would happen if we turned the magic off? Anti-magic Field. Fascinating. It appears you cease to be a mighty wizard and become a fragile pointy-eared monkey. While I? [seizes V in mid-fall and slams the elf into a cliff] I am still a dragon.
V's mate, after seeing him/her/it take down a dragon with ease, stands between V and the children armed only with a stick.
The IFCC (Inter-Fiend Coordination Commission)'s entire lineup so far. Basically singlehandedly getting a character to cross the Moral Event Horizon, have him/her know (s)he's doing so by taking this, and generally reaching full Magnificent Bastard status in a rather short time... And while the temptation itself is all about a very nasty goal, they then proceed to pull out an interdimensional TV set and watch what transpires — revealing how deep their Magnificent Bastard status really is, while quickly becoming a comic foil to the very dramatic scenes to follow.
A super-pissed off Thog giving Roy a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the gladiator pit. He may have lost in the long run, but he did beat a high-leveled main character so bad that it actually made Roy, Determinator that he is, give up and try to surrender... and then Thog beat him even more.
Thog: STOP TALKING!
Strip #894 is a posthumous awesome moment for Girard Draketooth. The final room of the pyramid contains nothing but a huge stone block with the inscription "Sorry. Your Gate is in another pyramid." Which of course means that the first reaction of someone who finds it will be to go and look elsewhere. Instead, it's a double-bluff. The Gate is actually within the block, encased in lead so as to be undetectable by magic.
Strip #923 has the entire Order working together to escape on the back of Belkar's Allosaurus.
Elan: See? SEE? I told you dinosaur rides were awesome!!
In two strips Laurin first knocks out almost the entire Order with one blast, then reveals to Durkon (who was immune to her previous spell) that "[She] recognizes her friend's staff. And knows how to dispel its projections."
Even some of his crew get their own, preventing Tarquin from getting back on the ship through some rough handling.
"ROUGH SEAS AHEAD, PEOPLE!"
Sabine gets one for while cleaning up the broken TV in Hell, quietly telling V all she can about Tarquin, Laurin, and likely Miron. That also means when V told everyone to attack Miron first earlier in order to trigger his contingency spell, it was likely because Sabine told zir about it. Not only is it great revenge, it doesn't put her at risk to get it.
Kickstarter Project a.k.a.: The Fans
Rich Burlew wanted to do a fundraiser on Kickstarter to see if he could raise enough money to fund the reprint of War And XPs. He wasn't expecting much, thinking that he wouldn't even get the $57,750 he needed, and joking that at least he'll have an excuse as to why he doesn't do another print run. What happened instead blew him, and countless others away. He made the $57,750 within a day and a half, before finally coming to a grand total of $1,254,120 by 14,952 backers. Put in perspective:
That's an average of about $83.87 per person.
That's an average of about $40,455.48 per day.
That's 2,127% funded from the initial goal of $57,750.
That's only the third project to surpass a million on Kickstarter.
That's the most funded project by a single person (rather than a company), ever, on Kickstarter.
That's enough to fund a size increased print run for 7 books (whatever a print run is, plus 2000 extra), plus all the included swag.
That's enough that after taking into account all the swag funding, the print costs, the local taxes, and the postage, Rich actually ran out of ideas on what to spend it all on. He opted for site and comic maintenance, plus some extra for funding assorted projects.
At the time, that was the second most amount pledge to a kickstarter project. Admittedly, it has since been surpassed so many times it's not even in the top 10, but it was an accomplishment.
During the last hour of the kickstarter, fans checking the progress of the kickstarter actually brought down the entire server for Kickstarter.