Garland: And what kind of tactics do you tend to employ? Fighter: Oh, we usually murder our way to the top and claim victory whilst astride a pile of mangled bodies. Garland: I see... Fighter: But we're heroes so it's okay when we do that.
The "heroes" of the story, by virtue of the fact that they showed up to the recruiting station at the right time. Vary between stupid and evil (except for Fighter, who's always stupid), and usually solve their problems through sheer luck and/or excessive use of violence.
Amusing Injuries: All get hurt in various imaginative ways, rarely do the injuries last more than a panel.
And the Adventure Continues: For Black Mage and Fighter at least. The others had better things to do with their time than hang out with Black Mage. Or Fighter. Especially Fighter... but especially Black Mage.
Badass Crew: Fighter and Thief get to do badass things on a regular basis, but Black Mage and Red Mage have defeated multiple demigods.
Butt Monkey: Black Mage generally has it the worst, but all of the Light Warriors get their share of abuse at various points.
Nominal Hero: In-universe they are only considered heroes because King Steve appointed them to be the Light Warriors, and he only did so because they showed up first and tricked him into choosing them. Neither King Steve who appointed them nor Thief who became their leader cared much about the fate of the world they were supposed to save, as Thief explains in episode 336. As the story progresses it becomes increasingly obvious that the Light Warriors are the Villain Protagonists of the story.
No Sell: Fighter's more or less immune to all damage besides brain trauma (and doesn't have much brain left to traumatize), Thief can dodge (and then sue) nearly anything, and Red Mage often gets out of horrific injury by "forgetting" to record the damage on his character sheet. The only Light Warrior who doesn't have an easy out is Black Mage, to the universe's unceasing delight.
Prestige Class: They all eventually get one of these. Black Mage becomes a Blue Mage, Red Mage becomes a Mimic, Fighter becomes a Knight, and Thief becomes a Ninja.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: And they never really grow out of it. They're at least as destructive to each other as to their enemies.
Seen It All: By the end of the comic, except for Fighter. Well, technically he'd seen it all too, but was too busy thinking about swords to really pay attention.
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: With the possible exception of Fighter, the Light Warriors are completely unsympathetic, which is what allows their constant infighting and failures to be so damn funny.
Villain Protagonist: Early on in the story Black Mage kills a large number of old people in a nursing home, in the belief that one of them had conned Fighter out of his money. Things go downhill from there. When they do good it is purely by accident.
Black Mage Evilwizardington
If there was a way to get magic for free, do you really think I'd have spent so much time sacrificing children to my dark gods? For spells, I mean. Obviously there'd still be sacrifices. A hobby's a hobby.
Blessed with Suck: He becomes this kind of character after his class change. At first he thought that Blue Magic grants its user the immunity to enemy attacks, as well as the ability to learn and use said attacks - so naturally, he was overjoyed after gaining Blue Magic. As he learned quickly (and painfully), it didn't grant him immunity to anything, and while he was able to learn attacks used against him, he had to survive them first. Plus, in the course of the series, he's learned only three spells through Blue Magic - one of which is the Goblin Punch, which has a mostly impractical range. The others include a spell specifically targeted at him, as he learns the hard way, while the third one rewrites reality according to Sarda's whim, which in practice also makes it targeted at him.
Brilliant, but Lazy: It's fairly easy to read him as this; over the course of the comics he's used the widest varieties of spells, displayed in-depth knowledge about magical theory (including magics he doesn't personally practice, such as ice and summoning) and history, and as mentioned elsewhere, so long as he's not particularly angry or close to White Mage, he's generally the smartest of the group. He just happens to be insanely lazy, commenting more than once that a battle would go their way if they all actually fought instead of just standing by to let Red Mage get mauled, and not acting on it because it's too much effort.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Sarda (rightfully) accuses him of slaughtering his parents, breaking his mind with a glimpse of his face, killing his foster family, killing his other foster family, and burning down his orphanage, Black Mage still can't seem to recall the exact set of events being referred to, and asks when he did it.
Butt Monkey: To the point where the universe itself was created to hurt him.
He loves evil so much that he fell for a trap that he knew was a trap just because the sign said the pie he'd be receiving would be evil.
How proud is BM of his own villainy? When given the chance to convince White Mage that he was really a nice guy worth dating who was just misunderstood all along, Black Mage told her his evil selfish reasons for feeling the way he did. Thus ruining any chances, he might have had with her, not that he's aware of that or anything.
Fake Ultimate Hero: All of the Light Warriors qualify, but Black Mage really takes the cake, stabs the cake, urinates on whatever's left, poisons it, gives it to an orphanage, and then Hadokens said orphanage for good measure. A full list of his atrocities would probably double the size of this page. At least.
For the Evulz: The reason for nearly everything he does in the series.
Freudian Excuse: Subverted. Technically he has one, in that the excessive amount of power that exists in his soul has driven him insane (confirmed in-universe)... but he realises this at one point, ignores it, and continues to go on to do so many evil things that there is literally no justification for what he's done.
I Love the Dead: Once expressed willingness to have sex with White Mage's dead body, considering it only slightly less ideal than having sex with her while alive. He did have sex with the corpse of his own doppleganger.
He managed to briefly take over Hell after being killed by Lich, then came back to the land of the living to kill Lich. This eventually backfired on him, as Lich in turn took over Hell in his absence and then brought Black Mage back to life... thus demoting him from the position of the all-powerful Hell King back to that of the universe's favourite Chew Toy.
That said, after Lich manages to bar Black Mage from Hell by getting him stuck on the corporeal plane, a lot of very powerful Eldritch Abominations make sure to keep him out of hell (such that whenever he dies, a God of Evil sends him right back to the overworld). If Black Mage ever gets back there, which he is still conspiring to do, the universe wouldn't be around for much longer (or it would, but it wouldn't be a nice place to exist). Let's just say this: there is a reason why all the legions of Hell were terrified of him.
Love Makes You Dumb: On a good day, he's smarter than Thief. Introduce anger or a proximity to White Mage, and his IQ and sanity will plummet so fast you'll swear you just witnessed it exceeding the speed of light.
Not So Harmless: Usually Black Mage is most threatening to his own person, with his teammates coming in at a distant second. But in the blessedly rare occurrence that his insanity, laziness, atrocious luck, and even worse aim don't take him out of a fight early, he steamrolls over nearly everything in front of him short of gods or Fiends.
Odd Couple: And no, not in that way (okay, mostly not that way...) with Fighter. No matter how many times he attempts to or successfully kills Fighter, they're still together, even three years after Chaos is defeated... probably so he can still make Fighter suffer, but it never works out that way.
The only person he doesn't want to kill is White Mage. Though if she did die (like say, from drinking "wine" that's actually paint thinner), he wouldn't be too upset, since the body would still be warm for a while at least. Ironically, he actually does end up impaling her on one of his evil tendril spike things, though she gets better.
Only Sane Man: When he's not killing everyone in sight or carrying the Idiot Ball, he frequently finds himself in this role.
Ping Pong Naïveté: He can be the smartest of the Light Warriors, barely smarter than Fighter (if not dumber than Fighter) or somewhere in between, depending on what makes for a better joke at the moment. In particular, his intelligence seems to rapidly decrease the closer White Mage is to him.
The Plan: A Dangerously Genre Savvy one he set up at the Citadel of Ordeals, where he knew he would have to "face his flaws"; as per the typical physical manifestation of fantasy metaphors, he would therefore have to kill off his evil side. Considering that there was no way in hell he was going to get rid of all of his evil, he managed to rig the situation so that after killing his evil side, he would re-inherent all the evil. It's a real pity that he has never attributed so much forethought to plans that could in anyway benefit the world. Not that he'd ever want to benefit the world.
Power Limiter: Without a weak fleshy body holding him back, he becomes powerful enough to take over Hell.
The Power of Love: Parodied; his Hadoken is powered by love. And by powered, we mean it uses it as a fuel: every time he casts it the amount of love in the universe decreases, and the divorce rate increases.
Psycho for Hire: as long as you can point him in the right direction and get out of the disaster zone, you can invade and destroy an entire country single-handedly. As Thief found out with the poor Dwarf nation.
Redemption Equals Sex: Discussed. He strongly suggests to White Mage that this might work on him but then fears that pillow talk might be involved.
Sanity Slippage: goes up and down the insane slope like a yo-yo. The way it works is this: if he's (relatively) sane, he will be Genre Savvy, smarter than Thief, and generally the level of violence will be restricted to a comparative minimum (or at the very least will be efficient); if he's gone down the insane slope, his IQ will reduce massively, he will lose all ability to reason, and carnage will ensue. Lots of carnage. With blood.
Token Evil Teammate: While the other Light Warriors aren't angels themselves, Black Mage is actively trying to be as evil as possible, and is quite proud of it, too. He's also the only that will freely admit to being evil.
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: While already listed as a trait for the entire group, Black Mage gets a special mention for being one of the least sympathetic characters ever conceived, and suffering the most for it.
Villain Protagonist: More than any of the others. He's only an adventurer because of the opportunities for destruction it offers.
Vitriolic Best Buds: With Fighter. Or, rather, Fighter is this with him. Black Mage wants nothing to do with Fighter.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: He's a nexus for the ley lines in reality and has the lowest sanity tolerance ever. Being born like this, his incredible power has warped his sanity considerably over the years, making morality seem increasingly irrelevant to him. Having an insane Ax-Crazy maniac running around with the forces of creation at his finger tips was probably not the best idea ever.
Berserk Button: Fighter will not tolerate the idea of someone talking about purposely harming Black Mage. Not even if that person is his ally. Which stopped both Red Mage and Thief from their idea. When Black Mage was killed by Lich, Fighter reacted... poorly.
Fighter: Get up, Lich. I'm not through hurting you yet. Lich: You have no idea the forces at work here, boy. If death himself cannot take me, what makes you think you can? Fighter:I SAID GET UP!
Childhood Brain Damage: Black Mage asks Fighter whether he was dropped on his head a lot as a child, to which Fighter answers, "Maybe..." This is immediately followed by a flashback to Fighter's childhood, with young Fighter exclaiming how happy he is to have power lines in his back yard and plenty of paint chips to eat.
Fighter: Don't lie to the poor lady, RM. You know exactly who we are and we don't look innocent at all. All I'd trust those two jokers with is a stab in the back and then the throat. And you wear a mask. I look okay and seem honest, but as far as she knows, it's an elaborate act. A ruse that works so well my own friends could never suspect - never consider - the evil I inflict upon innocents wheresoever we go. Red Mage: He's just kidding of... of course...
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Yes, he's the stupidest member of the team. He's also the most effective and dangerous. Red Mage and Thief are both completely aware of this fact and the mere possibility of having to actually fight him utterly terrifies both of them.
Dual Wielding: To a ridiculous degree during his fight with Kary, when he dual-wielded sword-chucks.
Dumbass Has a Point: Is quite prone to relatively intelligent suggestions that usually go ignored.
When it comes to swords, he's an innately talented genius. When it comes to non-sword related matters, his mind is a vast ocean filled with strange and paradoxical creatures that should never have made it past the design stage of evolution.
He is also able to look into the "Six hundred and twelve dimensional sphere" which forces a person to look at data so complete that the if it was transmitted byte by byte as a laser it would encircle the universe three times. Looking at it causes a headache while reading it drives sane men insane and drives insane men sane or kills them. Black Mage goes comatose from it while Fighter is able to read it just fine and determine that it contains every possible plan for every possible device that can destroy every possible thing in existance.
Horrible Judge of Character: He believes that Black Mage is his friend and that he's just a misunderstood helper rather than evil incarnate; Red Mage is a genius; Thief is a good leader with their best interests at heart and, in general, that the Light Warriors are heroes.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Will say this with utter conviction and (probably) lack of any kind of sarcasm. This is usually followed by Black Mage a) stabbing him, b) being so consumed by Angrish that he is immobilized, or c) using heavy sarcasm that Fighter obviously ignores.
Red Mage Statscowski
Red Mage: Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped. The success or failure of any given step will have no impact on the macro level. Black Mage: That's so stupid I can't even see straight any more. Red Mage: Now imagine what'll happen when physics tries to figure it out!
An Ice Person: Although he spent a large time trying to keep his spell use "neutral," he eventually started specializing in ice spells, including one that could destroy an entire universe.
Bestiality Is Depraved: He has to explain to a disturbed Black Mage that when he's talking about chocobo sex, he's not talking about sex with chocobos, that when he's talking about breeding the chocobos, he's not talking about breeding with the chocobos, and that when he's taking the matter of breeding into his own hands, he's not literally grabbing the chocobos by their genitals.
Even Evil Has Standards: The comic where Black Mage explains his Hadoken spell works by draining love out of the universe and converting it into destructive energy is part of a trinity where Red Mage writes up "real" versions of signature powers of the Light Warriors for use in Dungeons & Dragons (it's the third, after Fighter's Zodiackenshido and his own Ice-9). The last panel is the Hadoken's "statblock" incomplete and scribbled over, with a note from Red Mage that some things are too horrible to contemplate in the spot left blank.
Red Mage: All it required was a cocktail of dangerous experimental surgery and a willingness to ignore the unnecessary suffering of perfectly innocent beings. Also, I shot magic into their chromosomes until they turned inside out. Evolution is my bitch.
Insane Troll Logic: Each an every one of his plans operates on this. His explanation is that a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot fail due to flaws in its own logic, and is therefore cannot be stopped.
Black Mage:[seeing Thief with an enormous bag of loot] Didn't the pirates take everything already? Thief: They left everything that was nailed down. I did not.
The Miser Advisor of the Light Warriors, who constantly scams the rest of the team out of any rewards they might have earned. He also became The Leader due to similar wrangling.
Bad Boss / Mean Boss: Let his law-ninja die of starvation because he was too much of a miser to buy food for them. He's also this for the rest of the Light Warriors, as he constantly steals from them, tricks them into signing manipulative contracts, makes them do countless humiliating and/or life-threatening things for him, and physically abuses them.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He's an Elf, so this basically comes with the territory. He can and has abandoned the others to some horrible fate or other at the first opportunity.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Matoya and Raven use his legal trickery to their advantages, but they end up flogging themselves.
Impossible Thief: Among other things, he can steal secrets, souls, resolve, childhood memories, and most famously, his ninja class abilities from the future. One of the only things he apparently can't steal are things that are both nailed down and on fire.
Kid with the Leash: is one of the few individuals that can control Black Mage and channel his destructive impulses to a common goal (...most of the time).
Odd Friendship: He and Black Mage are... well, they still hate each other, but at least they're able to be honest with each other about how much they hate their teammates... including each other. When Black Mage thought Thief had gone insane, he was genuinely sad to lose the only teammate who would understand his Deadpan Snarker comments.
Only Sane Man: Well, other than being thoroughly evil, he's this compared to the other three. He still has his Stupid Evil moments, though.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: Via a Freudian Slip "Do you have any idea why every impoverished clump of hovels you people call towns are so impoverished, clumped, filthy, and hoveled?... Neither do they! So let's move before they catch on to me... Er...It. Because it's certainly not me." Lampshaded by Black Mage: "Saying that only makes me suspect you more."
Garland: We have failed to enact any significant revenge against the hated Light Warriors. Vilbert: Point of order: Nuh-uh! Bikke: Yar. Ye slam o' poetry be as significant as a pee in the ocean. Drizz'l: It's what we're all thinking.
The theoretical antagonists of the comic, they are even less competent than the Light Warriors, and significantly less evil. They spend most of their time involved in "evil" bake sales.
Fake Ultimate Hero: In the penultimate strip White Mage makes everyone believe that the Dark Warriors were the ones who defeated Chaos and saved the world.
The first Big Bad of the comic...in theory. In practice, he's such a Harmless Villain that the princess he kidnapped takes over his operation in order to inject some competence. Becomes the leader of the Dark Warriors when the group is formed.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Garland is actually pretty intelligent (relative to the rest of the world, at least)... when he's not trying to be evil. As a villain, this is kind of a problem for him.
Enemy Summoner: He has actually been shown to be fairly competent in monster summoning.
Our Vampires Are Different: He is more of an Emo Teen than an actual threat. Tellingly, he never has an actual "fight". He just gets whacked repeatedly, with his father taking the spot of his fight instead.
Heinz Hybrid: He's apparently 50% elf, 25% human and 12.5% orc. The remaining 12.5% is unknown, but presumably also human. Bizarrely, in his introduction, he claims to be half-elven and half-human. Later he says he's a half-elven ranger who is a quarter Lefeinish (human) and a quarter half-orc. This puts him anywhere from 112.5% to 125%, depending on what the other half of the half-orc is.
Just because I fly into a blind, homocidal rage at the tip of a helm doesn't mean I'm incapable of appreciating the finer things in life.
A dapper and polite gentlemanly dwarf who also flies into frothing rage in combat.
Dragoon: Muffin is a dragon. It all makes sense now. Like, when I'd say 'Polly want a cracker?" she'd say "No, Muffin want to rip a knight in half and suck out the pulp. Thief: That kind of thing happen often? Dragoon: Around here it does.
Supposedly the last dragon, and one of near godlike power. She played the part of Dragoon's pet parakeet, both to avoid suspicion and because she thought it was funny. Also acts as the guardian of the Air Orb.
Logic Bomb: Convinced Chaos that a universe without Order would lead to a vast nothingness of randomized particles... which would be totally non-chaotic... and therefore boring. Then zapped him with enough White Magic to kill a vile dark god of chaotic energy. Which is what he was. So that worked out.
Morality Pet: Averted. Black Mage may have a humongous crush on her, but her presence isn't enough to prevent him from being evil. At most, he tries to be evil without her noticing.
The most powerful mage in existence, he is older than the universe itself. In theory, he's supposed to guide the Light Warriors to their destiny. In practice, he just uses his omnipotence to screw with them.
Ascended Extra: Everyone is, but he is the comic's Most Triumphant Example. In all editions of Final Fantasy I, Sarda/Sadda is just a hermit who gives the heroes a rod to get past the Earth Cave. In 8-bit Theater, he is so much more.
He's technically the main enemy of the Light Warriors.
Unless you countthe Light Warriors themselves, as he is responsible for setting everything in motion. Besides, he's nearly as nasty as Black Mage, regularly abusing his power, screwing with Ranger for no reason and with the entire town of Onrac just to get revenge on White Mage. He even inadvertently killed Onion Kid's - AKA his own - adoptive parents when he was doing it. All because he can.
You could say he takes the place of Garland, the Big Bad from the source material, being a character scarred by the Light Warriors in the beginning, involved in a time-loop plot, planning on the Light Warriors to complete their quest, and becoming the vessel for Chaos. They're even both fought in the Temple of Fiends.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Smart enough to know that when crafting spells, make sure they can't be used against you. When Black Mage learns blue magic, he mimics two spells from Sarda: a spell to make someone puke out his own insides, and a spell to re-write reality according to his whim. When Black Mage tries to use them against Sarda, he finds out the spells were: "Make Black Mage puke out his insides" and "Re-write reality according to Sarda's whim."
No Sense of Direction: He has such a terrible sense of direction that it warps the fabric of reality. Like the time that he got lost in a straight hallway, and ended up following his future self from one second in the future.
Cloudcuckoolander: Hoo boy... He thinks he has invented imagination and eating, that he's running for election despite being a king, and against a lenght of string nonetheless, that a coffee stain on his shirt is his right-hand man... And that's not even the tip of the iceberg.
Crystal Ball: She's introduced to the story because she lost it. So she did the logical thing: waited in a monster-haunted cave in some very remote location to entrust its recovery to the first group of people too stupid to avoid a monster-haunted cave in some very remote location.
Evil Plan: If the Light Warriors were killed by Drizz'l or the assassins, he would have simply plunged Elf Land into a dark age under his kingship. When the Light Warriors attacked him, he was going to use that to create a civil war.
The people actually destined to save the world from Chaos, they got to the recruiting station a bit too late.
Butt Monkey: Whenever we see these guys, they're usually getting screwed over.
The Chew Toy: When you consider how they were supposed to be the heroes, their suffering is very disenheartening.
Cosmic Plaything: Even when the Light Warriors aren't screwing them, things rarely work out for these guys.
Evil Counterpart: Inverted; since the Light Warriors are the very definition of Villain Protagonists, they are very heroic. To drive the point home, while the RLWs use character sprites of Fighter, Thief, and Red Mage's upgraded classes from the first Final Fantasy game (Knight, Ninja, Red Wizard, respectively) Black Mage's is a White Wizard.
Missed the Call: They were supposed to be the ones to become chosen by fate, but because they were out level grinding, the main characters got the job.