Characters: The Order of the Stick: Azure City

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Azure City

Elan: Did you guys know that Azure City is the largest trading port in Southern lands?
Thousands of ships come from all around the world to barter for fine Southern goods like silk, spices, and video games.
The average temperature for this season is 63° F, with average yearly precipitation of 26.43 inches.
Roy: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a successful Bardic Knowledge check.

    In General 
  • Citadel City: Azure City was built to guard Soon's Gate, so it looks like a fortress.
  • Descriptive Ville: Azure City is entirely azure.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Miko has never heard of this "Japan" Roy speaks of.
  • Far East: Lots of Japanese influence here.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: It's basically Japan in the D&D setting. There's samurai and ninja and Sabine wears white face paint as a disguise.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Several of the names, probaby to parody the random use of the language "because it's cool" (Lord Shojo being a case in point, since Shojo is Japanese for "girl"note ).
  • The Paladin: The Sapphire Guard notably features the archetypical Lawful Stupid paladin juxtaposed with several much more positive examples of Paladins. They work for the Southern Gods to smite evil.
  • Please Select New City Name: After nearly one year of occupation by the hobgoblins, Azure City is renamed Gobbotopia City.
  • Single Palette Town: It's all varying shades of blue.
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: The soldiers of Azure City use Japanese Katanas alongside Chinese Ji and Greco-Roman tower-shields.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Sapphire Guard Paladins may be various shades morality, but they won't spare even children in one of their crusades, as shown in Start of Darkness.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: For all of Azure City's denizens, it's either this or the black-gray-white spectrum, with a few aqua green exceptions.

    Soon Kim 

    Miko Miyazaki 

Miko Miyazaki

"By the Twelve Gods and in the name of Lord Shojo, I demand to know: Who removed the tag from this mattress?!?"

Race: Human
Gender: Female
Class: Monk/Paladin
Alignment: Lawful Good

A dutiful and powerful paladin of the Sapphire Guard whose conviction is, perhaps, too great. Reared in a monastery, she'd taken a few levels of monk before becoming a paladin.
  • Action Girl: Paladin who took out the Order singlehanded.
  • Alliterative Name:Miko Miyazaki.
  • Anti-Hero: She's willing to kill evil beings in cold blood, but only evil beings. Her ability to define Evil beings, on the other hand, is somewhat... warped.
  • Anti-Villain: After she goes insane and kills Shojo.
  • Badass: With all the other entries in this section, it's easy to forget that Miko has definitely earned her status as the most powerful (living) paladin of the Sapphire Guard. She defeated the entire Order (albeit without Durkon) twice, with only her horse. She single-handedly defeated Redcloak, who would have died without Xykon's intervention — Redcloak, who curb-stomped Hinjo, the second-most powerful paladin in the Sapphire Guard, and according to Durkon, could have done the same to Elan even when low on spells. And even without her paladin powers, she manages to put up a good fight against both Roy and Hinjo.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: One of Miko's critical flaws is she makes up stuff to justify her actions and can't see the errors in her own logic. This is, predictably, what causes her Fall; she would rather kill the defenseless Shojo rather than accept even for a moment that she's fallible.
  • Black and White Insanity: Miko built on this trope, growing increasingly delusional over the course of the story arc. As her insanity increases, it changes her from a mere Knight Templar into a total Windmill Crusader — handwaving even the fact that the Gods have stripped her of her paladin powers.
  • Broken Bird: Discovering her liege lord was faking senility and working behind the paladins;' backs and then losing her paladinhood hit her really hard.
  • Broken Pedestal: Miko's pedestal for Shojo breaks when she discovers he's faking his senility. She reacts... violently.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • "Fallsville, Population: 1"
    • In "Dirt Farm" too: "The proper term is 'smite evil'..."
      Roy Greenhilt: It's like she has that monk class ability that lets you jump as far as you want, only to her, it applies to conclusions.
  • The Comically Serious: She's serious as a heart attack about everything, even mattress tags.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Somewhat averted. She was specifically trying to gain redemption to be restored to the paladin class, and in her dying moments, Soon's spirit explains why and how she failed at this. However, he reassures her that her spirit will be reunited with her beloved horse, Windstriker, which suggests that wherever her soul goes in the afterlife, it'll be a Good place, or at least one accessible to such beings.
  • Deconstruction: Miko is intended as a commentary and deadpan parody on people who play Lawful Good characters as Lawful Zealous. This becomes especially clear when she's contrasted against other Lawful Good characters in the comic, such as Hinjo and Roy.
  • De-power: Her immediate punishment for killing Lord Shojo is to lose her status as a paladin and its associated bonuses.
  • Detect Evil: Tries and fails to detect any evil in the Order. Belkar, who is evil, blocks the ability with a lead sheet, and sues her for it.
  • Determinator: Never ever gives up in her eternal quest to smite evil (or rather, who ever she considers to be evil).
  • Dual Wielding: A dai-sho (katana and wakizashi).
  • Egocentrically Religious: She truly believes that the gods have a special purpose for her.
  • Fallen Hero: Literally, as she eventually loses her paladin powers. Played with it at the same time, as she never turns to evil. She keeps trying (and failing) to determine what's right.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Bisection.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Flanderization: Her jumping to conclusions. While her initial fight with the Order is arguably an example of this, and there are a couple of early gags of her Comically Missing the Point, it wasn't presented as an especially dominant trait during her initial extended period in the comic (strip #s 199-298), never cited as one of the reasons why the Order hated her so much during this period. Neither the phrase "jumping to conclusions" nor anything like it is ever even mentioned in connection to her during this period. When she returns to the comic (after an absence of 80 strips), she's jumping to wrong conclusions all the time, always in ways that seriously, disastrously affects the plot. From then on, it's the only way she affects the plot. This now dominant trait of hers is Lampshaded by Roy by implying that this has always been so typical of her.
  • Freudian Excuse: Reading between the lines suggests that Miko's parents may have been murdered in Azure City's extremely nasty noble power games (she reveals she was noble-born, but orphaned in an early strip). Given that There Are No Therapists, and lacking any information on whether Miko's demonstrated lack of friends is her own fault or not (did she have a swelled head to start, or was she still traumatized by her life's events and rejected by her peers due to any issues that derived from this, causing her to double down on her devotion to her gods?), and the fact that her own organization dealt with her issues by constantly sending her far away, and Miko's actions start to make a lot more sense. Even her Flanderization makes sense in this assessment, in that she encountered the Order, who were Good, but not in a way her deeply rigid idea of Good could understand, and the fallout from this encounter and the fact that life seemed to support them instead of smite them unhinged her even further.
  • Good Is Not Nice: She is whole souled comitted to the goal of smiting evil and protecting her home...and she is not nice.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: She gets torn in half by the explosion of the Sapphire. Ouuuch. Unsurprisingly, she dies. However, it's not all bad. See Death Equals Redemption above.
  • Ironic Death: She bisected Lord Shojo and later dies of the same cause.
  • Healing Hands: As a paladin, this is one of her skills. Belkar jokes that Roy would love to have her use that skill on him.
  • Hero Antagonist: In the commentary, Rich wanted to know if he could pull off a Lawful Good character who is an antagonist. Miko opposes the Order and hampers their progress, but she also helps the dirt farmers without hesitation, helps to organize an evacuation of the inn when the danger appears, goes back into the inn to make sure there were no stragglers, attacked them as harshly as she did because her information gathering had yielded information on their evil counterparts, extenuating circumstances (the crown causing its wearer to registers as strongly evil), as well as their genuine bad behavior (the flumphs, Belkar's actions in the barbarian guild, the weasel thrown down the troll/ogre's gullet). She's just obnoxious and overbearing.
  • Honor Before Reason: Played with. In the battle with the ogres, she looked like she walked into the ogre camp and alerted the entire group in order to have a fair fight, but it was just an excuse to clump them all together so the spellcasters could nuke them more easily. However, when Belkar was raising havoc in Azure City dungeons, rather than call a host of troops to track him down, she let him goad her into fighting him on his terms.
  • I Am X, Son of Y:
    Miko: I am Miko Miyazaki, samurai of the Sapphire Guard, loyal vassal of Lord Shojo, daughter of Eyko, and paladin of the Twelve Gods of the South.
    MitD: Neat! It must be hard to fit all that on your business cards, though.
  • Inspector Javert: For the entire Order. Borderline between Javert and Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist for Lord Shojo. She had him dead to rights, but went a bit Off the Rails in dealing with him.
  • In the Hood: Her initial appearance, until her face is revealed during her first fight with the Order.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Her conviction that she's always right escalates into outright delusion, to the point where she STILL thinks she's right after the Twelve Gods revoke her paladinhood.
  • I Thought It Meant: She thinks that "bump uglies" is an euphemism for Smite Evil.
  • Jerkass: Whatever your opinion of her is, it can't be denied that she has quite a few sticks up her ass. This is frequently lampshaded in the comic.
  • Killed Off for Real: She's bisected, Xs for eyes, when Soon Kim's gate explodes. Tsukiko passes her over when looking for corpses to re-animate. She's not coming back, either resurrected or undead.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Her introduction is the point where the story starts getting serious about its Myth Arc.
  • Knight Templar: Overzealous do-gooder that unwitting sails into antagonist territory.
  • Lawful Stupid: Believes she is chosen by the Twelve Gods for... something, and therefore everything she does is right. Miko is very quick at jumping to conclusions without ever slowing down to think first.
  • Magic Knight: As a paladin, she has both sword skills and a Holy Hand Grenade or two.
  • The Millstone: Vaarsuvius considers Miko to be this. Then again, Vaarsuvius sometimes thinks that anyone who is not Vaarsuvius is this.
    Vaarsuvius: As the shrew has perished, we are no longer bound by the anchor that has hung around our neck for weeks! Let her death ring in a new era of freedom for the "Order of the Stick".
    (pause)
    She is, naturally, directly behind me.
    Miko: Naturally.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Miko creates one out of her cloak and a bottle of dwarven brandy to escape from her force cage.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: She favors killing "evildoers" herself over bringing them to justice.
  • Never My Fault: Miko is so delusional about her (perceived) status as the Chosen One that she refuses to believe that she can make any mistake. When the gods strip her of her powers for killing Lord Shojo, she immediately decides it wasn't her own fault, but a product of a conspiracy by the Order. When she dies, the spirit of the paladin Soon tells her that her inability to admit responsibility for her deeds is one of the reasons she will die unredeemed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Twice; first when she kills Shojo, believing him corrupt, and then again by destroying the Gate and thus any chance of victory for the paladins during the Siege of Azure City.
  • Obstructive Zealot: She believes the 12 Gods have a "special mission" for her and utterly and vehemently refuses to listen anyone or anything that doesn't fit her delusion. Even when the 12 gods explicitly disapprove Miko by depriving her of her paladinhood.
  • Paint It Black: In her case, Paint It Tan after her Fall, since her Sapphire Guard uniform is magical and only works for a paladin. Sabine once suggests that she would look sexy in black leather, and gets her neck snapped (non-fatally) for her trouble.
  • The Paladin: This is her class; warrior in service to the Twelve Gods.
  • Perpetual Frowner: She's never happy.
  • Pet the Dog: She gets a character scene in a bonus strip where she tries to invite a couple of acquaintances to celebrate the New Year with her, but when they ask her to come with them to a bar, her Black and White Morality leads her to decry it as a den of sin, which annoys the others enough to withdraw the invitation. She goes back to her quarters, where we see that she has personally prepared a nice dinner for all of them. Which she ends up eating alone with her horse. It reveals a deeply lonely person whose abrasive judgmentalism pushes everyone away even when she tries to reach out.
  • Pride: Miko is so full of herself that she will never question her actions, her judgment, or her belief that she is "special" and has a great and prestigious destiny.
    Miko Miyazaki: The gods have a plan for me, I know it! I am special, the most powerful paladin in the Sapphire Guard! They wouldn't do this to ME without a reason.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: "Let's just say there's a reason Miko gets picked for long missions. In foreign countries. Which keep her away from home for months at a time." Unlike typical examples of this trope, she is given actual assignments of importance at least.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Sort of. Soon Kim explains that he's pleased that she kept the Gate out of Evil hands but true redemption means overcoming what caused her fall in the first place.
  • Samurai: This is her job, not her class. She makes that very clear.
  • Samus is a Girl: The mysterious blue-cloaked, hooded figure tracking down the Order is a girl. Roy knocks off her hood in their first battle and his reaction to the revelation is "wow". He is accused of wanting to "bone" her afterwards.
  • Sanity Slippage: She became increasingly irrational and impulsive after the Order of the Stick is brought to Azure City. After she killed Lord Shojo, she went into extreme denial and came up with crazy (and at times contradicting) theories about the Order of the Stick.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: In the words of Shojo, "Good gods, they can teach you how to detect evil, but not sarcasm?"
  • Sixth Ranger: For the Order of the Stick, temporarily, causing lots of tension in the process.
  • Smite Evil: One of her class abilities is extra damage to evil.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: For Belkar, after his jailbreak. Despite working with heroes, Belkar is an evil criminal who is on the run from the law. Of course Miko has to bring him in.
  • Tautological Templar: She is convinced that, being the most powerful member of the Sapphire Guard, she must have the Twelve Gods' favor. Therefore, anything she does is right by definition and anything that happens to her including falling from paladinhood is part of the gods' greater plan for her.
    • Later goes into Insane Troll Logic, when Miko determines that because the gods could easily stop her from breaking out of prison but don't, they clearly want her to do so.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Early on, she showed some clever strategy in defeating a band of ogres. She never does anything that clever again. Instead, the Flanderization of her jumping to conclusions, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, Unwitting Instigator of Doom, etc.
  • Tragic Hero: She tries to do what she believes is right but looses sense of herself due to paranoia and zealousness. Then she dies without being able to redeem herself.
  • Trauma Conga Line: In the span of a couple days she learned of an impending attack on her homeland, learned that her mentor had been lying to her her entire life, executed him for treason, learned he was innocent of said treason, lost her powers, lost her homeland, was thrown in prison, and finally died.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Lampshaded when she gives her I Am X, Son of Y speech.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Just as the ghost of Soon Kim is about to finish off Xykon, Miko comes in and destroys the gate, allowing Xykon and Redcloak to escape.
  • Warrior Monk: Because she was raised in a monastery, she has a few levels of monk.
  • Weapon of Choice: A katana and a wakizashi, although she loses the latter later on. Being a paladin, she is a frequent user of Smite Evil.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She gets hit by several of these speeches. By Roy, and also Redcloak, in a case of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Windmill Crusader: Her quest to smite evil takes strange turns indeed.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: A minor example, but being the most powerful paladin in the Sapphire Guard clearly went to her head, disconnecting her from reality. Always being far away from Azure City also helped.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Roy says she wouldn't be so uptight if she were regularly receiving "treasure type O."

    Windstriker 

    Lord Shojo 

Lord Shojo

"Paranoia? I rule a city where I have to fake senility just to avoid being assassinated. I took Improved Paranoia like 5 levels ago."

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Aristocrat
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Former Sapphire Commander and sovereign of Azure City. Shojo's father, Lord Ronjo, was the first sovereign of Azure City to also serve as commander of Soon Kim's Sapphire Guard. Shojo inherited both titles, but is in no way a paladin nor member of the Sapphire Guard himself (instead, he is a 14th-level aristocrat, a NPC class). He faked senility to keep the nobility from assassinating him while keeping them in check, and devised complex schemes to get what he wanted done without ticking off the paladins and violating their code of honor.
  • Anti-Hero: His goal is the perservation of the world, his city and his gate. He helps the heroes to make this happen, but has unsavory methods.
  • Apparently Powerless Puppetmaster: He pretends to be senile so to give the impression of being easily manipulated. If one noble or other fails to convince him of something then they assume some other noble got to him first.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted. Despite him being an aristocrat, Belkar states in one strip after Shojo died that he was most probably Chaotic Good. This fits with Shojo's actions in general, and Belkar had no particular reason to lie about it; he's not going to lie if the truth is more insulting, as was the case when he berated the random cleric for being too dense to realize why Shojo wouldn't want to be raised.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "What are you?", aimed at Belkar.
  • The Chessmaster: He arranged for the Order to come to Azure without arrousing suspicion that he wanted them for a job.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: He regularly pretends to consult Mr. Scruffy for advice.
  • Cool Old Guy: Belkar thinks so because he has paladins cleaning up after his cat.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His true persona is a dry-witted old man.
  • Decoy Trial: He staged one to have the Order traverse an entire continent on foot to offer them a job. The judge was Roy's father.
  • Dirty Old Man: Tells Hinjo in a bonus comic to "not forget to knock some honey up" and offers some racy scrolls if there are any problems. At Shojo's funeral Sangwaan comments that Shojo would often look at her breasts.
  • Famous Last Words: "It appears... not everyone... agrees with your analysis."
  • Fatal Flaw: His paranoia is a two-edged sword. It serves him well in avoiding assassinations by the city's daimyos, but it also gets him killed, in a roundabout way. His elaborate scheme to get the Order to Azure City relies on deceiving the paladins about his true motives and staging a fake trial. Miko finally loses it when she learns the truth, and murders him. One thinks he would have done better to just send them an invitation.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: How Miko kills him.
  • Helpful Hallucination: When he appears to Belkar; it is left unclear whether it was really Shojo's ghost, an illusion created by the Mark of Justice, or a figment of Belkar's feverish imagination.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Shojo's willful deception of the paladins gets him killed. It's confirmed in the commentary from "War and XPs" that, while Shojo is portrayed sympathetically, his death is his own fault.
  • Killed Off for Real: A cleric used Resurrection on him and confirmed the spell was working properly, but Shojo stayed dead. Belkar theorizes this is because he is at peace in Chaotic Good heaven, and he would have likely died of old age soon anyway. He's not coming back.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    Shojo: Hey! Who's the wizened old man dispensing valuable plot points here? You? Didn't think so. Now pipe down!
  • Obfuscating Insanity: He fakes senility to make others think he is easily controlled and thus avoid assassination.
  • Properly Paranoid: He took the Improved Paranoia feat 5 levels ago. It has served him well.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He believes that Soon Kim's oath is more detrimental to the Sapphire Guards' intended role than helpful. This is given further weight when it turns out that, for decades, the Sapphire Guard have been wrong as to the true position of Girard's Gate.
  • Spirit Advisor: When he appears to Belkar; it is left unclear whether it was really Shojo's ghost, an illusion created by the Mark of Justice, or a figment of Belkar's feverish imagination.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: An interesting take on the topic. In essence, Shojo's character arc in the story is based on the idea that he decided Good was more important than Law and that Soon Kim's oath was pushing the Sapphire Guard into Lawful Stupid territory. So he secretly hired the Order of the Stick to do what the oathbound paladins under him could not. This is helped by the fact that he has always been, as far as we know, on the opposite side of the Ethical axis to Law.
    Shojo: I don't have the luxury of putting Soon Kim's obsolete morality ahead of the safety of this city. It's all well and good for you paladins to stick to your convictions, but if I make a mistake, half a million citizens pay for it.
  • Unreliable Expositor: An apparently unwitting example; it's become increasingly clear as the strip has progressed that the information he gave the Order about the Snarl was at the very least heavily flawed and incomplete, if not outright inaccurate.

    Mr. Scruffy 

    Hinjo 

Hinjo

"Yeah, well, you probably shouldn't have discussed how you're going to beat the system in front of the guy charged with upholding the system. I still get to make Listen checks when I'm three feet away, you know."

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Paladin
Alignment: Lawful Good

Nephew and sole heir of Lord Shojo, and therefore the new Sapphire Commander and sovereign of Azure-City-in-Exile. After his uncle's death and Redcloak's conquest of Azure City, he and most of the city's civilian population have fled into exile, and have settled in an abandoned Elven settlement on the Western Continent. He hopes to one day reclaim his home, and leads the remnants of the Sapphire Guard with that goal in mind. A powerful paladin, he is considerably more easygoing and personable than Miko and prefers mounted front-line combat with his wolf, Argent.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: He refuses to retreat from Azure City after it has been overrun by hobgoblins, but is convinced by the Order.
  • Berserk Button: "NOBODY HURTS MY DOG!!!"
  • Can't Catch Up: While he stays back to oversee the refuge fleet, his paladins and the Order go on missions and earn levels.
  • Foil: To Miko. Commentary in the books remarks that Hinjo's presence contrasts with Miko's when Shojo is revealed to be deceiving the paladins. Hinjo's response is of someone "who believes in the law", while Miko's is someone who "believes herself above the law."
  • Guile Hero: Hinjo seems to be both intelligent and wise. When he overhears Shojo admit that he's lying to the Paladins, he puts all the pieces to together and isn't fooled by Shojo's back-pedaling. Later, he realizes Elan is lying about Kubota's death, but he has Lien search for the body and he doesn't arrest Elan because he lacks evidence. Earlier in the same arc, he promotes Daigo & Kazumi Kato to nobles. It is implied that one of the reasons he did this was because none of the other nobles were trustworthy. While not downright devious, he will bend the rules so that he can accomplish his goals.
  • Healing Hands: A paladin power.
  • Hero of Another Story: Cut-aways to him after the "Don't Split Up the Party" arc imply that he is having plenty of adventures of his own in the new home for the refugees of Azure City.
  • Honor Before Reason: Not like Miko, but Hinjo is still a stickler for the rules, and his uncle states in a bonus comic that he hopes Hinjo will grow out of this mindest by the time he takes command of Azure City.
    Shojo: Hinjo has grown up into a good, honorable man — which unfortunately makes him singularly unsuited to the task of governing Azure City and its territories. I'm not worried, though. Give him another ten years of instruction, and his naïve idealism will fall like kobolds before a high-level fighter.
  • In Its Hour of Need: Refuses to leave Azure City during Xykon's siege despite how far victory slips away. He is ultimately convinced of the foolishness of this mindset.
  • Innocent Innuendo: He never, ever notices the humor involved in his junk.
  • Magic Knight: Due to being a paladin, he has both fighting and magic skills.
  • Modest Royalty: After becoming the ruler of Azure City, he wears the same paladin armor he did before he ruled.
  • Nephewism: What happened to his parents? Who knows; maybe ninjas got them.
  • Nice Guy: He's always friendly and polite and when the Order is being taken to their trial, he tells them some funny stories. After Miko kills Shojo, he tries to offer her a second chance to redeem herself despite her just killing his only known living relative.
  • Only Sane Man: In comparison to Miko.
  • The Paladin: A holy warrior that is far more sane than Miko.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Hinjo is under no delusions. He knows that the nobles will try to assassinate him the first moment they are able. When he discovers Shojo's lies, his first order of business is to bring him in for trial. He stands in direct contrast to Miko who acted on impulse to the discovery.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He can't condone his uncle's backroom dealing but nevertheless recognizes that the Gates must be protected.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He is front and center for the Siege of Azure City and the later settling of the refugees.
  • Samurai: Like Miko, but he's closer to a Warrior Prince than a Warrior Monk.
  • Smite Evil: His duty and power as a paladin.
  • Supporting Leader: He's the leader of the forces opposing Xykon, but the Order are the main characters and heroes of the story.
  • Take Up My Sword: After Shojo's death, he takes over Azure City. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about it.
  • Weapon of Choice: A katana because of the fantasy counterpartness.
  • The Wise Prince: Hinjo knew that his paladins probably couldn't take on Xykon, but gave them the chance any ways knowing that Soon's spirit would bring them back for the final battle. He also refused to execute Shojo and wanted to bring him to the courts first. When Miko murdered Shojo in anger and lost her paladinhood, he tried to talk her into surrendering despite his anger. When she attacked him anyways, he arrested her when she was knocked out instead of executing her on the spot. Later on, he realizes that his uncle was right about the oath the paladins took to not interfere with the gate. He is unable to help the Order directly in their quest but he gives them his support and the resources to proceed.

    Argent 

    Tsukiko 

    O-Chul 

O-Chul

"Your life is much like this Go board, my friend. You have allowed yourself to be surrounded by enemy pieces — people who wish to bend you to their will, to remove your unique voice from the board and replace it with one of... of mindless subservience.
But as you correctly point out, you are still holding on two empty places in the center.
They are your heart, and your mind. They are the places that make you what you really are."

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Fighter/Paladin
Alignment: Lawful Good

A high-ranking and incredibly tough paladin of the Sapphire Guard, O-Chul was taken as a prisoner of war after the fall of Azure City.
  • Adopt the Dog: His friendship with the Monster in the Darkness leads to a Heartwarming Moment. Also see the quote.
  • And I Must Scream: He spends an unspecified amount of time paralysed by Xykon, while his fellow paladins killed themselves around him, Xykon took the gate, and Miko destroyed the gate when they were winning. Then he was blown out a window and taken to a tea party when he needed to be escaping.
  • Badass: Forget all the damage he did during the Siege of Azure City; he almost killed Redcloak with a prison bar.
  • Badass in Distress: He's put in a tank with an acid-breathing shark. It doesn't go well for the shark.
  • Bad Liar: Thanks to dump-statting Charisma.
    Redcloak: After all this time...I have finally found the very WORST liar in the entire world.
  • Brass Balls: "+5 Holy Cojones", as stated by resident Big Bad Xykon. He was genuinely surprised that O-Chul was going to fight him wearing nothing but his prisoner loincloth and wielding nothing but his paladin might.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: At the hands of Team Evil for fun and information. (And as a stalling tactic.)
  • Determinator: O-Chul manages to get a list of all (or at least most) of Xykon's spells. When asked how, he simply replies "One saving throw at a time." His Constitution score is in the mid-twenties. For reference, the average human has a score of ten and increases are not linear.
    Xykon: He's like the Energizer Bunny, a Rollex watch, and Jackie Chan mixed together!
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: He plays Go and other games with the Monster in the Darkness.
  • Does Not Like Spam:
    O-Chul: Well, I was going to express a dislike of squid, but I guess babies top my list as well.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After months of torture, he nearly kills Redcloak, and puts out his right eye.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: With Redcloak's holy symbol; catching the chain on his impromtu spear and pulling it off can't be anything but dramatic.
  • Dump Stat: Charisma. This comes back to bite him when he tries to dupe Redcloak.
  • Genius Bruiser: He has a mind for the military, and that's not all. Through months of captivity and torture, he created a running list of Xykon's spells by surviving them one at a time. Finally, he teaches Go and espouses a philosophy centered on it.
  • Go: Played it with the MitD, to whom he taught the rules.
  • Guile Hero: Extremely adaptable. When captured, O-Chul takes advantage of the situation to get Xykon's spell list, nudge the Monster in the Darkness away from evil a bit, and when released, is in position to try to break Xykon's phylactery (but is stopped at the last second). Also capable of using Exact Words when necessary, though usually not for manipulative reasons.
  • Healing Hands: A standard paladin ability. He uses it regularly on himself to heal the wounds inflicted by Redcloak's torture regimen.
  • I Gave My Word: He thinks it's obvious that Soon Kim kept his oath. After all, he's a paladin and it's the same thing he himself would do.
  • Improvised Weapon: He can and will use anything, from a broken cage bar to bare fists, highly effectively and often powered-up with Smite Evil.
  • Interrogated for Nothing: Redcloak suspected he was telling the truth even before their session on the tower, but wanted to keep Xykon in the city so the hobgoblins could solidify their position.
  • Irony: O-Chul's lie on how Girard's gate is protected was actually pretty spot-on. An elaborate maze (in the form of the canyon and Pyramid) and by answering the riddles (breaking through the Lotus-Eater Machine and recognizing the double bluff) can one reach the center indeed.
  • Japanese Honorifics: He calls the MitD "Monster-san".
  • Knight in Shining Armor: All the Sapphire Guards are, but O-Chul even more so. The Giant describes him as "everything right about the paladin".
  • Made of Iron: He survives a Castle-Shattering Kaboom, a tank of acid with a shark in it (multiple times, it's implied), being trapped in a cage filled with rabid dire wallabies, a staring contest with a basilisk (which he won, technically; he never blinked), along with months of torture. Some would argue that he borders on Implacable Man. He has a Constitution score in the mid-twenties.note 
  • Metaphorically True: He engages in some very specific wordplay when Hinjo asks him if he destroyed the Sapphire Gate because he would never speak ill of the dead.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: While his opinion of Miko is low, he doesn't speak ill of her after a stupid act causes a tragedy.
  • Not a Game: He explains to Haley, in detail, how full-scale war isn't like a dungeon.
  • Odd Friendship: He and the Monster in the Darkness are quite friendly. He refers to the Monster as "Monster-san". The Monster calls him Mr. Stiffly.
  • The Paladin: Holy warrior that is solidly more good than lawful.
  • Reconstructed Trope: Reconstructs paladins as a follow-up to Miko's decontruction of the class.
  • Samurai: Like the other paladins of the Sapphire Guard, except he is just as good (or better!) with his bare hands as a sword.
  • Scars Are Forever: Despite receiving healing magic regularly, he's been tortured for so long that his body is literally covered in scars. Even better, when O-Chul breaks out, he charges Redcloak with a metal bar ripped from his cage; Redcloak nails him in the forehead with a Disintegrate, showing off O-Chul's skeleton. Not only does O-Chul shake off the hit like it was nothing, if you look closely, his skull has a scar matching the one along his temple — meaning the cut that made it went all the way to the bone. (The goblins may not be responsible for that one, since he has the scar even before the Battle of Azure City.)
  • Smite Evil: He charges holy power into his bare hands to assault Xykon.
  • These Hands Have Killed: He refuses to let Redcloak blame him for not stopping him.
  • Weapon of Choice: A katana, like the others in the Sapphire Guard.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Why Did It Have to Be Sharks? Though in actuality he does not fear them, since being a paladin makes him immune to fear. It's more like they just make him oddly uncomfortable. The acid-breathing shark may have had something to do with this.

    Lien 

Lien

"It was pretty easy for me to put two and two together. Contrary to popular opinion, Good is not always dumb."

Race: Human
Gender: Female
Class: Paladin
Alignment: Intelligent Good

Along with Hinjo and O-Chul, a paladin and one of the only surviving Sapphire Guard officers. As the daughter of fishermen, her weapon and celestial mount keep a connection with the sea.
  • Action Girl: During the fall of Azure City, she defends Hinjo's junk for hours from attacking hobgoblins by herself.
  • Badass Boast: When fighting a group of hobgoblins:
    Lien: My parents were fishermen. When I was a little girl, I stood right here and learned how to clean the fish that they caught. I'm telling you this so that you know that when I say that if you take one more step, I will gut you like the catch of the day — IT IS NOT HYPERBOLE!
  • Blade on a Stick: Her harpoon.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Defied. When Durkon rescues her with Thor's Lightning, and she gets singed a bit by accident, it is he who apologizes, and Lien is simply grateful.
  • Cool Pet: A freaking shark that she rides into battle! She's easily the most Badass fisherman's daughter in fiction.

    Razor 

    Ho Thanh 

Ho Thanh

"Let us make hasty our escape, that we might live to fight the forces of Evil another day."

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Paladin
Alignment: Lawful Good

A low-ranking Sapphire Guard member who was out of town the day of the battle. Took over leadership of La Résistance after Haley left.

    Daigo & Kazumi Kato 

Daigo & Kazumi Kato

Daigo: (dying) Kazumi... is a pretty name...
Kazumi: (crying) Thank you. What's yours?
Daigo: ... ... Daigo.
(no longer dying) ... Uh? I, uh... I think I'm OK, now.
Kazumi: Wow. I guess having a name really DOES matter.

Race: Humans
Gender: Male & Female (respectively)
Class: Fighters
Alignment: Neutral Good

Regular soldiers in the Azure City army, Daigo and Kazumi refuse to be nameless Red Shirts like the rest of the army — literally, by mentioning their names. They escaped Azure along with Elan, Vaarsuvius and Durkon. Daigo and Kazumi are now married, with Kazumi pregnant, and have been given the status of nobility by Hinjo. The fact that their names are known also makes them significantly more competent than regular Azurite soldiers.
  • Action Mom: Kazumi "I'm a goddamn baby-making, life-taking MACHINE" Kato. She hasn't even given birth yet! Her quote, "Who cares how many people I have to kill? I can just make MORE in my tummy!" is now a T-shirt.
  • Alliterative Name: Kazumi Kato; plus when Daigo nearly revealed his last name, it started with "Da".
  • Badass Normal: They are regular Azurite soldiers, with no special abilities or magic whatsoever.
  • Battle Couple: They started the Siege as co-workers and became a couple in the midst of it.
  • Beta Couple: Unusually they have been a couple for less time than the alpha.
  • Butt Monkey: Daigo suffers a case of this during the Kubota arc, notably getting ninja-kicked in the face, then slammed by a door, and then broken glass is sprayed on his face.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Daigo's last name is as of stripe 830 unfired.
  • Chickification: Averted by Kazumi during her pregnancy. She tells three hostile ninjas that she didn't forget all her military training the moment she conceived, and she tells them this while kicking their ass. Her husband, on the other hand...
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Kazumi is prone to these when she's in Mama Bear mode.
  • Defied Trope: Red Shirt. They defied this trope, and saved Daigo's life, by mentioning their names. Daigo keeps his last name a secret in case of an emergency.
  • Flirting Under Fire: Their first lines of dialogue is a invitiation to coffee.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Kazumi, for her marriage.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: The time between them meeting each other and their marriage is three-and-a-half months. Not to mention that Kazumi is already eight weeks pregnant during their wedding.
  • Genre Savvy: Oddly enough, their savvy is that they don't believe in Elan's genre savvy. When he tells them they're nameless mooks who are going to die in order to buy time for the heroes to escape Kazumi basically says 'that's ridiculous', says her name and then survives.
  • Happily Married: Their marriage has withstood months on a refugee ship, ninja attacks, and relocation.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Their entire existence lampoons the concept of the Red Shirt, and Belkar refers to them as such by name.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Such a sequence serves as their introduction.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Neither appears to have taken the other's name, but they use "Kato" for their new noble house.
  • Mama Bear: Kazumi
    Kazumi: I'm a goddamn baby-making, life-taking MACHINE!
  • Mauve Shirt: They seem to be elevating themselves to recurring characters, near the same level as Hinjo.
  • Nominal Importance: Deliberately invoked by Kazumi so she can save her own life and Daigo's in "I'll Hold Them Off".
  • Playing with a Trope: The purpose of their existences, as noted within Defied Trope, Lampshade Hanging, Nominal Importance and Subverted Trope.
  • Pregnant Badass: Kazumi's the one pictured on the trope's page.
    Kazumi: You stupid pieces of @#!%. I was in the army, too, and I didn't forget four years of training the moment my egg's perimeter was breached. You think just because I can't see my feet right now that I can't put one of them up your cowardly ninja asses? Please.
  • Pregnant Hostage: The ninjas thought Kazumi would be this trope. They were wrong.
  • Rags to Riches: Technically, as Hinjo promotes them to nobility at their wedding.
  • Red Herring Shirts: They're more significant than they appear at first.
  • Subverted Trope: Red Shirt again, naturally, along with Red Shirt Army. Even before that, their class is fighter, a character class. The majority of the NPCs are warriors (which is basically the same class without the feats), making them Elite Mook by default.

    Daimyo Kubota 

Daimyo Kubota

"Well done, Therkla. You managed to weasel your way out of responsibility for your own actions like a seasoned veteran. I couldn't be prouder if you were my own flesh and blood."

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Aristocrat/(unknown prestige class)
Alignment: Lawful Evil

A scheming aristocrat and Therkla's employer, intent on assassinating Hinjo and taking over after Shojo's death.
  • Affably Evil: See his page quote. For an evil dude, he can be friendly when he's not sending ninjas after you.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: A noble in Azure City and part of the reason that Shojo had to fake senility; he's a scheming asshole.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Again, page quote. Also, he schooled Therkla in 'evil best practices'.
  • Carrying the Antidote: Averted and he tells Elan how stupid such a thing would be after he poisoned Therkla.
  • Color-Coded Characters: He and his minions wear purple while the others in Azure City wear blue.
  • Consummate Liar: Not only is he a good liar naturally, but he has an unknown prestige class (probably Spymaster) that makes him immune to lie detection.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: He's aware of minions Defecting for Love and planned for it, in addition to what heroes like Elan must do when faced with a surrendering villain.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: He planned to use it on Therkla after he killed her, but V wasn't having any of that.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: His death is fairly ignominious. Elan comments about it.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He doesn't understand why Hinjo promoted Daigo and Kazumi to nobility for their valor, and sees no value in peasants.
  • Evil Gloating: When Elan marches him to the magistrate he gleefully explained how futile Elan's efforts were.
  • Evil Plan: Assassinate Hinjo and become the ruler of Azure City.
  • Famous Last Words: "Now come along, bring me to your master so we can begin the Trial of the Century."
  • Filler Villain: He has nothing to do with the main plot of the gates. He's just there to fill time while the Order of the Stick regroups.
  • Karma Houdini: Defied Trope; Kubota plans to invoke this, by framing Therkla and using his aristocrat talents to turn around and use his trial to slander Hinjo, but Vaarsuvius defies this by simply disintegrating him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He manipulates the magistrate to avoid punishment for sending ninjas after Hinjo during The Siege, after that he uses Therkla and then his planned status as Karma Houdini.
  • Pride: In his status as a noble and his oratory skills.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: He cleverly realizes that an actual surrender is the best way to survive, since Elan will then be forced to bring him in for a trial that will most likely work in his favor.
  • Slimeball: Almost everything he does to try to usurp Hinjo's position is just plain hateful, culminating in him ordering the assassination of a pair of former commoners who were promoted to nobility. The wife is pregnant. When the plan fails, he murders his own number two with poison just to give himself time to escape.
  • Smug Snake: His status as a this is cemented by the fact that he just doesn't stack up against Xykon and Redcloak. He's also horribly naive, and thinks taking the city back from Xykon will be a trivial matter.
  • Take Over the City: His villainy is entirely geared toward usurping Azure City's rulership. Even when there isn't even much of a city to rule anymore.

    Therkla 

Therkla

"Actually, it's completely true. Our master DID order us to lure you here and kill you. I was just hoping... I was hoping you could be my boyfriend instead."

Race: Half-orc
Gender: Female
Class: Ninja
Alignment: True Neutral

Half-orc ninja, under the employ of Daimyo Kubota. She is poisoned by Kubota so he could escape and dies in Elan's arms.
  • Action Girl: Ninja/assassin and all-around strong.
  • Character Alignment: True Neutral.invoked She's an active, balancing kind of Neutral, as opposed to the disinterested kind. Her proposed solution to the fleet's struggle between good and evil is that the two groups and their respective followers split up and go their separate ways, and she seems genuinely confused that neither finds this acceptable. This becomes more explored, and more leaning toward Neutral Good, in the bonus comic. She intentionally avoids killing people, taking it as priority over her single day off in fourteen months, and the one person she does kill is trying to kill both her and the people she's trying to save. She merely wants to repay Kubota for helping her when no one else would, and Kubota's fatherly facade when around her fools her from seeing just how cold-blooded her boss is. She bonds with Sangwaan about this.
  • Child by Rape: Elan and Kubota think this is the only way a half-orc could be created but the opposite is true; her parents were Sickeningly Sweethearts. It's an allusion to what D&D says is often the case with half-orc children.
  • Cute Little Fangs: From her orc side.
  • Cute Monster Girl: The other orcs in this comic are ugly but she's cute as a button. Then again, she's only half orc.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: She was happy about it because she thought it was the only way she'd get into his arms.
  • The Dragon: To Kubota. She's his head ninja and the most powerful minion in his employ.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: She spies on Elan because she wants to watch him, not to gather information.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Half-orc/half-human.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Elan almost convinced her to join Hinjo, then Hinjo sprang an ambush and arrested her. Averted with her death, which only happened after she was forced to choose between her master and Elan, and switched sides for good.
  • Human Mom Non Human Dad: One of the incredibly few half-orcs to be an inversion.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Elan is clearly upset about letting her die and learns how to Neutralize Poison to prevent it happening again.
  • In Love with the Mark: Her introductory scene has her gushing about Elan's attractiveness.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Averted. Elan is in a relationship at this point and she wants him to break up with whoever it is for her.
  • Killed Off for Real: After being poisoned by Kubota, she says she would refuse to be raised unless Elan becomes her boyfriend. He couldn't betray Haley, so she decides to stay dead.
  • Love at First Sight: One-sided, later partly-reciprocated.
  • Ninja This is her class and she does a lot of sneaking and spying.
  • Satellite Love Interest: What would she be like without Elan? She was a subject of debate on the forums when she was alive and her detractors often used this as an argument.
  • Take a Third Option: She wants an outcome where her boss and her crush survive the arc. She tried to convince Kubota to separate from Hinjo and form his own kingdom somewhere else. Kubota didn't like that idea and poisoned her for it.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Satirized in "Half-Dragons Are Even Worse". invoked

    Niu 

Niu

"Yeah, what was I thinking, not advertising [I multiclassed to rogue] to the team's paladin."

Race: Human
Gender: Female
Class: Fighter/Rogue
Alignment: Neutral Good (probably)

A low-ranking soldier seconding Haley and later Thanh in the Azure City Resistance.
  • Action Girl: Double her co-workers; fighter and rogue.
  • Bring News Back: Thanh tells her to escape from the Resistance base and get word to Hinjo about its destruction.
  • It Has Been an Honor: To Thanh, when he prepares to give his life to cover her retreat.
    Niu: ... You're the bravest man I've ever met.
    Thanh: And you're the slowest woman! RUN!
  • Literal-Minded: Sometimes.
    Niu: So, wait, when you said that the prison would be guarded by a skeleton crew during the speech, you didn't literally mean a—
  • La Résistance: She prefers "Rebel Alliance".
  • Mauve Shirt: A minor and ultimately unimportant character but look at the size of this character sheet.
  • More Hero Than Thou: She tries to fight next to Thanh at the end, but he sends her away.
  • Number Two: To Haley, and later to Thanh.
  • Single Tear: After escaping from Redcloak's attack on the Resistance.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the Resistance.
  • Street Smart: Haley singled her out for this quality.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: To a degree with Ho Thanh; he doesn't approve of her more Roguish tendencies, while she finds him self-righteous. Nonetheless, they seem to work well together.

    General Chang 

General Chang

"Prepare to hold this breach at all cost, men"

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Warrior
Alignment: Lawful Good (presumably)

A general in Azure City's regular military.
  • Commander Contrarian: Criticizes V's plan to put only 13 guards at the wall opening, but soon withdraws his complaint.
  • Famous Last Words: "You'll never take this city while I'm alive, monster!"
  • Good Counterpart: To the Hobgoblin General. Both are commanding officers, the Hobgoblin General follows orders without question, but Chang questions orders that could result in casualties.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Courtesy of the Death Knight.
  • Mauve Shirt: A minor and ultimately unimportant character, but he has enough tropes to make his death more meaningful than a Red Shirt's.

    Sangwaan 

Sangwaan

"In the few hours since we learned of the threat, we diviners have done our best to scry the invading army."

Race: Human
Gender: Female
Class: Wizard (diviner)
Alignment: Lawful Good (presumably)

A blind seer who serves as an adviser to Shojo and later Hinjo. Aside from Shojo, she is the only known member of the Sapphire Guard who is not a Paladin.
  • Blindfolded Vision: Her mystic vision spells even come out of the blindfold.
  • Blind Seer: A seer with a blindfold.
  • Call Forward: In the Kickstarer reward Therkla comic, Sangwaan comments that she's tired of everyone pitying her for her birth defect that will leave her dead by age 30. She states that "I hope when it is my time, no-one will see it coming." Note that this comic came out well after we saw her killed by an invisible zombie dragon in the main story.
    Sangwaan: Heh heh, well played, Lord Rooster.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: She's apparently killed when Xykon's zombie dragon bit her and throws her off the ramparts of Azure City's outer wall.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has a particularly funny one in a bonus comic dealing with Shojo's funeral.
    Sangwaan: He never treated me differently for my disability. He tried to look down my shirt like any other girl.
  • Mauve Shirt: Like the generals.
  • Non-Action Guy: Seer, not soldier.
  • Telepathy: She uses it at a few points to answer people's questions before they finish asking them.

    That Guy with a Halberd 

That Guy with a Halberd

"Wait — was that oil hot?"

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Warrior
Alignment: Lawful Good (presumably)

Another soldier in the Azure City army. Shows up in one strip ordering boiling oil poured on the attacking hobgoblins. It turns out to be room-temperature coconut oil instead, but it drives the attackers off anyway. Turned into a Memetic Bystander by a forum thread.
  • Only Sane Man: In the single strip he appears in.
  • Only Six Faces: There's really no way to tell this Guy with a Halberd from any other male soldier in the Azurite army, which has led to a fandom running gag that any time one of them has a significant line, it's this guy.
  • Weapon of Choice: Go on — guess.

    Captain Axe 

Captain Axe

"It's my job to protect everyone aboard — especially Hinjo. And that means getting him far away from situations where he can die heroically."

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Unknown
Alignment: Lawful Good

The captain of Hinjo's junk. Very loyal to his lord, but knows when to disobey too.
  • The Captain: Of Hinjo's junk. This means he has great authority when on the ship.
  • Hook Hand: He has a small axe replacing his left hand.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: He takes advantage of Hinjo getting knocked unconscious to order the departure of the junk. This was necessary to save all their lives, because Hinjo insisted on waiting for Haley who was somewhere in the battlefield reclaiming Roy's corpse.
  • Perma Stubble: Adding to his rough sailor look.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: After Hinjo is knocked out, he disobeys orders for the ship to wait, realizing that the enemy is too strong to fight off for much longer.
  • They Call Him Sword: Axe in this case. Probably a Shout-Out to Captain Hook.
  • Weapon of Choice: Again, take a wild guess.