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Xykon: [to the MitD] We're seriously evil badasses here. I'm a mighty lich sorcerer, Redcloak is high priest of his evil goblin deity, and you — well, we all know how powerful you are.
- Arch-Enemy: To the Order of the Stick. Played with in that they're Unknown Rivals as far as Xykon is concerned, while Redcloak recognizes they're a threat not to be overlooked, but not until the Empire of Blood Arc.
- In-Series Nickname: No, "Team Evil" isn't just a Fan Nickname; it's used in the webcomic.
- The Necrocracy: Xykon is a lich, his subjects are mostly a mix of undead, goblinoids, and undead goblinoids.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Monster in the Darkness notes that hardly any members of Team Evil use their real names.
"I think I just had an evilgasm."
Race: Lich (formerly human)An epic-level Chaotic Evil lich sorcerer with dire plans for the world and a serious lack of empathy for living things. He has a constant need for amusement, and often kills people or generally does evil acts to fulfill it, as he can't enjoy coffee (which he loved as a human) any more now that he is a lich. Don't let how at-ease he is fool you: he's stone-cold evil.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
- Accidental Misnaming: He thinks Roy's name is Bluepommel, Redblade, or Orangescabbard, when he can remember who he is at all.
- The Ageless: As an undead lich he's unaging and immune to most attacks affecting living beings.
- Artifact of Doom: Subverted; Roy and Eugene originally thought Xykon killed Fyron Pucebuckle and stole a crown Fyron possessed because it was a powerful magical artifact. But it turns out Xykon stole it solely because wearing it makes him look cool. However, Xykon's worn it for so long that some of his evil's rubbed off on it, and anyone else who wears it will register as evil when Detect Evil is used on them, regardless of their true alignment.
- Animate Dead: One of his favorite powers as a lich sorcerer is bringing his enemies back as slaves.
- Ax-Crazy: His idea of fun is torturing and killing everything that crosses his path just because he can.
- Antagonist Abilities: He can regenerate from his phylactery, has access to teleportation, can paralyze his foes with a single touch, and has access to epic-level spells.
- Anti-Magic: Xykon can use the epic spell Superb Dispelling to deal with enemy magic.
- Badass Grandpa: He was fairly old when he became a lich, but could still massacre a fort's worth of paladins with barely a scratch. Now he's an epic-level lich sorcerer who murders archmages and has the high priest of a dark god for a lackey. He's also quick at thinking on his feet and is completely unfettered.
- Bad Boss: "Sacrificing minions... is there any problem it can't solve?"
- Bad to the Last Drop: In his human days, he was something of a bad coffee connoisseur, explaining that bad coffee forces you to think of all the good coffee you've ever had just to block out the taste.
- Berserk Button:
- Xykon is big on being in control, so completely in control that he doesn't even need to bother to take things seriously. As a result, nothing infuriates him more than his control of things slipping away, especially due to a mistake. His reaction to the loss of his phylactery, which results from the fact that he was messing around with "harmless" prisoners who proceed to completely humiliate him, is a perfect example — especially considering his haste to hang all the blame on Redcloak.
- He didn't react well in the backstory when he discovered becoming a lich meant he couldn't taste coffee anymore. Here it was more a Tranquil Fury button, making it all the more unnerving.
- Don't call him "Zykon".
- Big Bad: The reason the Order of the Stick was formed is to take him down.
- Big Bad Ensemble: As the comic has progressed, it is now unclear who's the true Big Bad, and it seems to be a toss-up between Xykon, the IFCC, and Redcloak.
- Black Comedy: Just how he manages to be both the most evil character in the series and one of the funniest.
- Blood Knight: There are few enemies who are XP worthy at his level so he enjoys it when it happens.
- Book Dumb: Xykon failed math three times as a kid. Even as a lich, he's not too fond of academic knowledge and leaves this to Redcloak. This hardly means he's stupid, though, or even ignorant, since he gained lots of practical knowledge and experience over more than a century. He was, however, pretty stupid as a youngster, but since then has gotten an aging bonus (plus a racial bonus since he became a lich) to Intelligence.
- Boring but Practical: Big fan of Energy Drain. As he says to a hapless Dorukan:Xykon: All you need is power, in as great a concentration as you can muster, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide.
- Break Them by Talking: Occasionally tries to do this, sometimes almost playfully, other times not so much, and often successfully. Except once.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Is by all means an legitimate threat, but prefers to faff about until he's given proper motivation (or his Berserk Button is pushed).
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Why was that Bluepommel guy so mad at him, again...?MiTD: You killed more than one guy named Fyron in Cliffport?
Xykon: Five, actually.
- Call a Human a "Meatbag": He "went native" as a lich very quickly — he was calling Redcloak and Right-Eye "fluid-filled sacks of organs" a matter of hours after his transformation.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He's out to be as evil as possible and thinks that anybody with standards is a wimp.
- Casual Danger Dialog: In spades. When a superpowered Vaarsuvius makes a destructive, impressive entrance, Xykon mildly comments that V might have more entertainment value than the Teevo.
- Combat Pragmatist: Averted while he's toying with his opponents. If for whatever reason he gets fed up with screwing around, he plays this deadly straight. Sometimes he'll play it straight while toying with his opponents, like casting an symbol of insanity on a bouncing ball and tossing it in a room full of paladins.
- Contemplative Boss: Once. Then he lays down the law to Redcloak and reinstates their (as in his) true goal.
- Contractual Genre Blindness: He's well aware of the genres of being an Evil Overlord, but goes along with it anyway because he thinks it makes it more challenging for him to win, and thus more fun. However, he's still entirely capable of being a Combat Pragmatist if pushed and is far smarter than he acts.Xykon: Oh Redcloak. Don't confuse not caring with not knowing.
- Crystal Ball: Xykon's crystal ball has a wide-screen and gets picture-in-picture.
- Dem Bones: He's a walking, talking skeleton.
- Despotism Justifies the Means: Xykon is only interested in world domination because that's what villains are supposed to do.
- Dirty Old Man: Had shades of this in life. Not as a lich, though; he's not "one of those disgusting biophiliacs."
- Ditzy Genius: Failed math three times as a kid, and is highly lazy with a short attention span, but despite this, he's an extremely powerful lich sorcerer who can get very dangerous when push comes to shove, and is much more intelligent than he lets on.
- Draco in Leather Pants: In-Universe; Tsukiko seems to think he's a Not Evil, Just Misunderstood sex-symbol just waiting for the right woman (who would, of course, be her) to fall in love with so he can sweep her away in his arms. Words cannot even begin to explain how misguided this belief is. Xykon himself is absolutely disgusted with her, starting with the fact that she's alive, and he's... not. And neither he is one of those "disgusting biophiliacs" (a pun on "necrophiliac").
- Dracolich: He used a zombified silver dragon as a flying mount during the invasion of Azure City. After Roy decapitates it (which doesn't hurt it much), Xykon Meteor Swarms both Roy and the dragon.
- The Dreaded: He is a One-Man Army who enjoy massacring people. None of Hinjo's allied countries want to give him asylum out of fear of retribution from Xykon. Even the Monster in the Darkness drops his laid-back attitude when Xykon gets angry.
- Emergency Transformation: He undergoes the transformation to lichdom willingly, because Lirian inflicted him with a magical disease which saps his spellcasting power while he remains alive.
- Enfant Terrible: Was a Jerkass since he was 4. Killed his parents at 13.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Defied in the prequel comic. When Redcloak approached him with the possibility of becoming a lich so they could break out of Lirian's prison, he tells Redcloak that for all his horrible actions in life, he could never stoop to that level of depravity. Five seconds later, Xykon admits he was just screwing with Redcloak. At the end of the comic, he states that having standards is for pussies. See also Pragmatic Villainy.
- Played straight once in the main comic. Xykon isn't one of those disgusting biophiliacs.
- Eviler Than Thou:
- Start of Darkness ends up as something of a struggle between Redcloak and Xykon over who's the Big Bad and who's The Dragon. Xykon was The Dragon while alive, but once Redcloak gives him lichdom, things change: Xykon overpowers him, outmaneuvers him, forces/tricks him into killing his own brother, and tops it off with a speech whose end was that trope's page quote. Since Redcloak never told him that the gate ritual doesn't work the way he advertised, however, he's had a piece of leverage Xykon is unaware of all along.
- Also, he explains that the souls spliced to V are nothing compared to him, seeing as they couldn't achieve any form of immortality like he did.
- Evil Is Hammy: Xykon enjoys being an evil bastard and wrings it out for all it is worth.
- Evil Is Petty: In addition to the various horrific atrocities he's racked up, Xykon is also quite simply a prick. For example, during the attack on Azure City, he tells a paralyzed O-Chul that when re-animating his fallen paladin comrades, he's going to start with the women because he figures O-Chul is the kind of guy who would be offended by that. Invoked intentionally by the author: not only is it funny, but it's also an attempt to prevent the fact that his charm and charisma let people forget that he's a very bad guy, since he's clearly evil in big, apocalyptic "E" and little, petty "e" fashions alike.Rich Burlew: I mean, he's completely and wholly unapologetically Evil, but more to the point, he's kind of a dick.
- Evil Laugh: Averted. He decided to opt out of it because he can't do this decently without lungs.
- Evil Old Folk: Before becoming undead. Reminiscent of the Badass Grandpa when you consider that Xykon has no problem killing, maiming, or traumatizing anyone he meets, and yet the good guys never stopped him from racking up 80 years of age before his transformation.
- Evil Overlord: Sort of. He's on the move a lot and is less interested in ruling Azure City than in tormenting a paladin. He pushes that boring administration stuff on Redcloak.
- Evil Plan: Getting control over the Gates and use the threat of the Snarl to take over the world.
- Evil Sorcerer: Epic-level sorcerer and capital "E" evil.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Due to Voice of the Legion. The first thing he does after becoming a lich is use his new voice for James Earl Jones impressions.
- Evil Uncle: Played Claudius in an OotS retelling of Hamlet. Not only does the Running Gag of not remembering Roy or his father (who play Hamlet and the dead king, respectively) carry over, he also has no idea why he married Roy's mother the queen.Xykon: Maybe I got her pregnant?
Redcloak: Sire, you're an undead monstrosity and she's likely post-menopausal.
Xykon: And those two don't cancel each other out, right?
Redcloak: No, sire.
- Exact Words: Xykon promises not to put the paladin in any enclosure with with any animal, magical beast or aberration in an attempt to entertain himself. He plans on putting him in one with undead humanoids and an ogre, which is a giant.
- Excuse Me While I Multitask: "Redcloak: Check it out, I totally conducted a job interview in the middle of a battle. — Xykon"
- Expressive Mask: Or Expressive Eyesockets, at least; he has a surprising degree of facial expressions for a skull.
- Face Palm: Even though he doesn't have a face or palms, he manages.
- Fatal Flaw: Overconfidence; it would be suicidal if he was not undead. Xykon's first defeat is because he pretty much let Roy beat him (turning his back on him after shattering Roy's sword and still doing nothing when Roy knocks his head off) and the belief his phylactery's location is a secret leads him to almost die permanently during his battle with Soon. It never seems to cross his mind that he can actually lose control of the situation or actually lose something valuable, because to him it's more of a game where if he loses he can respawn and try again instead of a dangerous quest.
- Faux Affably Evil: Xykon is not only totally evil, but a complete tool, lording his power over all and continually acting like a massive prick. He only pretends to be charming for fun. He is, however, capable of being friendly (or at least seeming that way) with his subordinates when it suits him. And he seems fond of the Monster in the Darkness, even though he's basically enslaved an otherwise gentle person for nefarious ends, intends to force it to unspeakable evil, and already forces it to hide in the darkness.
- Finger Poke of Doom: He often makes his spellcasting look like that. Also literally: he's a big fan of the spell Finger of Death. Plus, his paralyzing touch.
- Flight: With the Overland Flight spell.
- Flipping the Bird: "Oh look, I regrew a finger. Guess which one."
- For the Evulz: Honestly, this seems to be Xykon's main motivation. Sure, he wants to Take Over the World, but that seems to be more like a long-term goal. In the here and now, he just wants you to suffer for his own amusement. Since he is immortal, he has a rather long time to take over the world, so why rush when you can plan everything out and make sure it works? Not like he has a set schedule or anything.
- From a Single Cell: Xykon, as long as his phylactery is intact, can regenerate from nothing but his soul. (This is standard Dungeons & Dragons behavior for liches.)
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Started off as just a Creepy Child with sorcerous powers in an "one-horse town" over a hundred years before the start of the series. Is now the prime threat to the continued existence of the planet.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Xykon's are red.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: One of Redcloak's hopes in turning Xykon into a lich was an attempt to gain additional leverage on him. It backfired and left him with less, as Xykon's new lich form left him with greater intelligence and a heightened capacity to foresee what Redcloak would try to control him. But he seems to be coping with it.
- Grammar Nazi: And not just about his name.Tsukiko: We need a new Head Executioner, you know. Xykon killed the last one for spelling "guillotine" wrong on his daily reports.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: After being caught in the explosion of Girard's Gate. Being a lich, and being able to fly and regenerate from nothing, however, means it barely slows him down. Though it does take him several minutes to find his pelvis.
- The Heavy: He's not the only Big Bad anymore, or even the most powerful, but he is the one the story is most concerned with.
- Hero Killer: Killed Lirian and Dorukan, along with most of the Sapphire Guard. He also killed Roy Greenhilt, though that one didn't stick.
- Hilarity Ensues: Though he likes to say this, he's usually the only one laughing.
- Immortal Immaturity: He's basically that creepy kid who amuses himself by tearing the wings off of flies and burning ants with a magnifying glass... except in the body of a 100-year-old skeleton with massive magical power.
- Immortality Inducer: Following his transformation into a lich, Redcloak's unholy symbol contains his soul and insure he can't be destroyed as long as this phylactery is intact.
- I Need You Stronger: To Roy, during the Battle of Azure City. Roy is so far below him at this point that the fight wouldn't be any fun.
- Inspector Javert: In the Haleo and Julelan StickTales PDF, Elan briefly portrays Xykon as Inspector Xavert in an OotS retelling of Les Misérables, but the story flounders on the fact that Inspector Xavert has no idea who Roy Valroy is.
- Jerkass: Not content with being evil on a truly grandiose scale, Xykon is also an unbelievable dick.
- Karmic Death: At the end of the first arc, Xykon is killed by a spell cast on Dorukan's Gate by Dorukan, the guy he killed to acquire the Gate. Being a lich, it doesn't stick.
- Kick the Dog: Xykon has a habit of torturing or killing people just because he's bored.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: While not technically a martial artist, and preferring absurd arcane power to brawling in combat, he has shown to be a very capable bare-handed fighter by relying on his inhuman lich strength and the occasional improvised weapon when the situation demands, or as a demonstration that 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.
- Large Ham: Xykon loves his dramatic flairs.
- Laughably Evil: Xykon gets some of the best lines and great comedic moments, which despite making him very entertaining does not detract from the very real and horrifically evil threat he presents.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Xykon seems very like any other crazed megalomaniac, who doesn't understand tactics and is in it all For the Evulz; then he gets serious.
- Level Drain: Energy Drain is his favorite spell.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: He only has one regret about becoming an immortal lich; he can't enjoy coffee. He enjoys the invulnerability, the regeneration, and the fact that he doesn't have fleshy problems anymore.Xykon: Be a vampire, or a ghost, or an immortal with a paint-by-numbers portrait in the rec room. Hell, even a brain-in-a-jar, in a pinch. Anything to avoid the Big Fire Below.
- The Loins Sleep Tonight: He wasn't particularly concerned about losing his fleshy bits because that part hadn't moved on its own in years.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: Xykon is a sadist, and watching the pain of others has always given him a thrill. The most on point example comes from Start of Darkness, when he wipes out a bunch of paladins just before meeting Redcloak.Xykon: I like listening to the sounds paladins make when they realize that all their beliefs in a just and caring universe don't matter for squat when they're on fire.
- Man Child: He's an insanely powerful undead wizard, with the patience and attention span of an 8-year-old on Red Bull. This causes Redcloak no end of frustration.
- Mundane Utility: The most dangerous benefits of Xykon's lich transformation weren't the near-immortality or undead powers. They were the racial bonuses to his intelligence and wisdom, because, collectively, they made him much more capable of snapping any tethers Redcloak has to hold him back. In addition, it gave him a sizeable strength boost, as well as a bonus to his Listen ability. He demonstrates this by catching an Invisible Vaarsuvius and then strangling them.
- Must Have Caffeine: He was incredibly fond of coffee when he was living. He had a speech on why he liked bad coffee. When he became a lich and thus unable to taste, this left him with the suffering of others as the only thing he could enjoy.
- Neck Lift: He's done it when pissed off (notably, to Vaarsuvius and Jirix). And don't try to change the subject with trivial concerns, like breathing.
- Necromancer: It's his forte; in fact, the very first spell he cast (at four years old) was necromantic. Though he also uses Evocation spells and others as the situation requires.
- Nice Hat: He considers his crown this; in fact, the reason he originally killed Fyron Pucebuckle, setting the entire plot into motion, wasn't because the crown was a source of magical power, but just because it upgraded his look from "Badass", to "Really Badass". However, he's now worn the crown for so long some of his evil has rubbed off on it, causing anyone else who wears it to register as evil regardless of their own alignment when Detect Evil is used on them.
- Nice Shoes: After spending the entire comic barefoot, he gets Boots of Free Movement in Kragoor's Tomb and really likes them, because his toe bones no longer hit things.
- The Nicknamer: He does this regularly because he rarely bothers to remember people's real names. Or just to be demeaning, which he does very well. For example, by calling Redcloak "Wrong-Eye" or "Red-Eye", to remind him of his brother Right-Eye, whom he (Redcloak) killed.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Underestimating Xykon because of his laid-back attitude would be a terrible mistake. Roy's first victory over him at Dorukan's Gate is a massive stroke of luck. One arc in particular provides a perfect example of this: he delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Vaarsuvius, and then when V and O-Chul nearly destroy his phylactery, causing it to fall into the sewers, he reacts by blowing up a huge part of the tower, attempting to execute the two of them by firing a Meteor Swarm directly into their mouths, and then punishing Redcloak for the incident by refusing to let him regenerate the eye he just lost.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Xykon acts the way he does because he's got a short attention span, is much more interested in satiating his whims than indulging in long-term planning, and because he is so damn powerful that he is (justifiably) confident that no-one is really a threat to him, and therefore he is willing to let tactics slide for the sake of style. However, he is far more clever than people give him credit for. As he once told Redcloak, "Don't confuse not caring with not knowing."
- Oh Crap!: Xykon gives an epic one in the last panel of #449.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Xykon" isn't his real name; he chose it because it sounded cool as a teenager while cutting every link to his family by murdering them all.
- Orcus on His Throne: So long as he has something to entertain or occupy him, he's content to just lounge around.
- Our Liches Are Different: He's a stick figure skeleton.
- The Paralyzer: His touch, as typical for D&D liches, can paralyze the victim indefinitely. Notably used on O-Chul.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Clearly and repeatedly stated.
- Pet the Dog:
- Subverted in Xykon's first appearance in Start of Darkness. We first see him as a four-year-old crying over his dead dog Barky; when his sorcery powers activate and resurrect Barky, he is overjoyed. The subversion comes when the newly zombified Barky eats a bird, which entertains the kid and makes him want to find more birds to feed to Barky.
- Played straight in strip #662, where he commands Redcloak to resurrect Jirix. But that could be just as much about riling up Redcloak as it was to reward Jirix.
- He once defended Jirix from Redcloak by saying he was the one that told Jirix to lay off the work so he can have fun watching O-Chul's death trap with him. Again that is more for Xykon's entertainment and putting Redcloak to his place than real friendship
- In the prequel, Xykon's love of coffee was one of, if not his only humanizing characteristics. He even loved bad coffee because it reminded him of the lifetime of good coffee he'd ever drank. When lichdom robbed him of that, he took it poorly.
- Pragmatic Villainy: When he was alive, Xykon had no interest in kidnapping virgins: it's much more interesting with someone who's had experience. He is also willing to let Roy walk away from their fight, because of how obvious the level difference is, so he could do some level grinding and come back later... Roy rejects that offer. Averted in his Undead form, his villainy is only for entertainment and the only reason he does not kill his minions once he can't bring with them is because he considers having them living in the former paladin order's city funnier.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: When faced against someone channeling the power of two of the most powerful spellcasters' souls to ever be damned to Hell, the lich reacts as if it is an Overly Narrow Superlative.Xykon: — you're channeling the "raw unlimited energies" of two chumps who didn't have the balls to stay in the game! So MAXIMIZED Energy Drain, dumbass.
- Primary-Color Champion: The "darker colors = equal" variant. Red cape, blue cloak, yellow crown and belt.
- Psmith Psyndrome: Don't call him "Zykon". He can tell the difference.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Not nearly as child-like as Thog, but Xykon states upfront that he spends 8 hours a day making magic items and fills the other 16 with entertainments of various kinds — including torturing O-Chul and arranging for gladiatorial contests.
- Resurrective Immortality: He can respawn if his body is destroyed as long as his phylactery is intact.
- Seen It All: It is rather hard to surprise him. Though the MitD's antics sometimes manage to do so, which isn't a mean feat.
- Self-Made Orphan: He got his career as a villain started by having the zombies of his grandmother and the parody of Professor Xavier he just killed eat his parents.
- Sense Loss Sadness: He was already pretty bad before being turned into a lich, but he became much worse after discovering he couldn't taste coffee anymore.
- Serial Escalation: If there was a comic strip where Xykon woke up and said "How can I top yesterday's evilness?", no-one would be surprised. Ever since he became a lich, he's been looking for worse atrocities to commit and new ways to be an asshole.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: When facing off against Lirian, or the soul-spliced Vaarsuvius. And then there's how he ended his second battle with Roy after the latter delivered a "World of Cardboard" Speech:Xykon: I should point out three factors that I think you failed to fully consider, though. Factor one: I can fly under my own power, thanks to the Overland Flight spell I cast this morning. Factor two: a zombie dragon that lacks a bite attack isn't especially valuable to me. Factor three: Meteor Swarm.
- The Sleepless: As a lich, he doesn't need to sleep. Though he can still only spend eight hours a day making magic items for some reason, so he fills the rest of his time by torturing prisoners or making the slaves fight each other.
- The Sociopath: He knows just enough about empathy to be a bigger dick to everyone around him, and no more.
- So Long, Suckers!: He very nearly gets defeated by the ghost-martyr of Soon Kim, but makes his escape as Miko intervenes.
- Sore Loser:
- In his backstory when competing for the role of head minion, he doesn't get the position. While he's not bitter about losing the position to the wizard, since she's got lots of magical powers and is great in the sack, he's understandably more bitter about losing to Keith Baker, a game designer with no magical powers or fighting skill (supposedly his knowledge of "combat simulators" makes him more qualified to train minions).
- When O-Chul and Varsuuvius almost drop his phylactery into the Azure City Rift, he gets incredibly pissed and tries to Meteor Swarm them at point blank range, before destroying the tower when they get teleported out and forces Redcloak to remain one-eyed as a personal failure tax.
- Soul Jar: His phylactery, which happens to be Redcloak's (un)holy symbol.
- Static Character: He is and always will be a bored, snarky kid who likes inflicting pain, and now that he is an undead that is the only pleasure he can have. The book 5 annotations call attention to this: while Redcloak and the Monster in the Darkness are both growing and changing, Xykon is a constant.
- Start of Darkness: The prequel book contains his and Redcloak's origin.
- Super Strength: Is capable of holding people up by the neck with one arm, and has used a large piece of rubble as a weapon before. Squishy this sorcerer ain't.
- Take Over the World: His end goal.
- Took a Level in Badass: By becoming a lich — not that he wasn't already very powerful as a human sorcerer. Oddly, the most badass part of the upgrade was in his increased Int and Wis scores, which made him vastly more dangerous than before, as Redcloak discovers to his horror.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: He was always an evil bastard, but it was becoming a lich that made him Capital E Evil. As Right-Eye put it, when he was human he killed goblins out of carelessness; after he became a lich he killed them for fun.
- To the Pain: After defeating Lirian, he traps her soul inside a gem, so she can't be resurrected, and then turns her body into a zombie, knowing how much she despises undead. He later plans to make her watch an ogre eating her zombified body, to lure out Dorukan.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Start of Darkness shows the first time his sorcerer powers manifested; when he was four years old, he found the corpse of his dog and childhood friend, Barky, and his grief caused him to accidentally cast an animate dead animal spell, resurrecting Barky as a zombie.
- The Undead: A skeletal lich.
- Unequal Rites: When he was alive, people tended to insult him in two ways: referring to him as a tactically inept dimwit far more concerned with self-gratification than forethinking (which was, admittedly, accurate), or... by proclaiming that, as a sorcerer, he was naturally inferior to wizards, due to the fact he has magic "in the bone" instead of needing to study and learn in order to acquire his powers.
- The Unfettered: Believes that along with overwhelming force, a good villain should be able to go as far as they need to go to achieve their goals, no matter how depraved.
- Unskilled, but Strong: To Xykon, all one needs are "Force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide."
- Unwitting Pawn:
- The IFCC want him to gain control of a gate, for some unspecified reason, and made their deal with Vaarsuvius as part of a Batman Gambit to "knock him out of his comfort zone".
- Meanwhile, it appears Redcloak has been pulling his strings for years. However, those who have read Start of Darkness know he's a lot more cunning than people give him credit for, and has at least one contingency for if/when Redcloak betrays him — the Monster in the Darkness is programmed to eat Redcloak if that ever happens.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Averted. He was evil since he was around four and killed his own parents and a handicapped man (albeit a very condescending one) when he was twelve.
- Victory Is Boring: Elements of this show up in Xykon's character, especially how he offered to give Roy a chance to level up and have the fight be a challenge. To imagine what might happen if he took over the world, just look at the games he invented with O-Chul to keep himself entertained.
- Villain Decay: Conspicuously averted by the author, who wrote his origin story, Start of Darkness, with the intent that the audience would not gain any sympathy for him. Writing a story centered around your main antagonist is sort of difficult, because you risk "devillainifying" them. Yes, I just made that word up. What I mean though, is that once an audience has read all about a character's life, with all of their personal struggles and trials and tribulations and such, it's more difficult to see the character as the Big Bad. My challenge here was to tell the story of Xykon's life without making Xykon even slightly sympathetic. I mean, he's wholly and unapologetically Evil, but more to the point, he's kind of a dick.
- Villain Episode: Start of Darkness is one for him and Redcloak since it's their origin story.
- Villainous Breakdown: Xykon loses his cool in a major way each time his phylactery is threatened. He drops what he is doing and goes into a dead rush for the darn thing if there's a chance it will be damaged, eyes wide and shouting all the way. If it is ever destroyed, we're probably going to get a shining example of a villainous breakdown in the style that only OotS can deliver. Justified in that as long as the phylactery is intact, Xykon is immortal.
- Villainous Friendship: Seemed to have had one with the wizard Yydranna, wishing each other luck with the role of head lackey for the Unholy Master, having respect for each other, and when she was promoted over him, didn't hold it against her (Keith Baker on the other hand...). When Xykon left, she gave him some genuine advice so that he wouldn't end up getting foiled (he probably ignored this advice until much later in his life). She also threatened that if she ever saw him again, she'd have to crush him ruthlessly, but his reaction indicated that's standard fare for being remorselessly evil and on different teams.
- Villains Out Shopping: Xykon's caught doing this multiple times. Including shopping, for a large-frame crystal ball (with picture-in-picture) and a Teevo.
- Voice of the Legion: In Start of Darkness, shortly after becoming a lich, he comments on the "nice reverb" of his new negative-energy-induced voice.
- We Have Reserves: Xykon will gleefully throw minions at a problem until he either runs out or the problem finds its way to him.Xykon: Sacrificing minions. Is there any problem it can't solve?
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Due to being evil since childhood, Xykon never really understood any kind of intimacy outside of a purely sexual relationship. He has two joys in life: Coffee, and killing people, and as a lich, he can't enjoy coffee anymore.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: As a sorcerer, Xykon has a relatively small selection of spells, but can cast those he does know as often as he needs them (more or less), and so he usually goes for an approach of blasting an enemy until they are crushed under the sheer volume of his spells. This "blunt force" approach is why wizards look down on him, but Xykon sees it as a strength — his whole credo is that there is always a level of force against which no amount of skill or tactics can stand.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: In Start of Darkness he gave an impressive one to Dorukan, demolishing his assertions of wizards being superior to sorcerors and noticing how it is entirely possible for overwhelming force to beat tactics and strategy.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Yes, that's why he's called "Xykon". Zs are for pussies.
- You Meddling Kids: He references it in "The Diary".
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Xykon looks down upon "disgusting biophiliacs". Whether this refers to living people sexually attracted to other living people (the normal/taboo) or undead attracted to living necrophiliacs is unclear.
(to his reflection in the mirror)
"It'll all be worth it. You'll see."
"It'll all be worth it. You'll see."
Race: GoblinA goblin cleric with a bone to pick with human society and a sympathetic backstory. Xykon's right hand man, and the guy who keeps the evil trains running on time. He is not as evil as Xykon, but is far more organised. He is presently the supreme leader of a large army of hobgoblins and undead. He is confirmed as newly level 17 in strip #826.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Alignment: Lawful Evil
- Affably Evil: In-comic, he comes across as neurotic and long-suffering, but pretty casual in conversation with a sarcastic sense of humor. He put himself through college, raises his baby brother on his own, and takes his niece and nephews to the circus. He's also murdered teammates in cold blood, including said baby brother and is prepared to accept unmaking everybody's souls if The Plan goes wrong.
- The Ageless: Thanks to the Crimson Mantle, he's immune to aging and disease.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Crimson Mantle was created by the Dark One and makes the wearer immortal.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: He seems pretty glad to be rid of Tsukiko.
- Animate Dead: Thanks to this magic, he's a big contributor to building Team Evil's partly-undead army.
- Antagonist Abilities: Though not as powerful as Xykon, he can kill his enemies instantly with Implosion, is an Enemy Summoner, and is capable of Villain Teleportation.
- Anti-Villain: He has a very good reason to hate the gods — which does not necessarily excuse setting up a scheme that might destroy the planet, but it makes it understandable. This begins to be deconstructed as time goes on. While Redcloak may have sympathetic qualities, it becomes apparent that he is, in fact, evil, and not in the anti-heroic way. Having noble intentions doesn't excuse everything, and Redcloak's "noble intentions" themselves are questionable, as Right-Eye said to his face before he died. It's clear that Redcloak cares about personal revenge and his ego at least as much as he cares about helping his race, to the point of killing his brother to avoid admitting that working with Xykon was a bad idea. Not to mention nothing justifying genocide and mass slavery, regardless of what happened in the past. Xykon himself refuses to believe Redcloak is this, instead preferring to paint him as a pathetic, whimpering child who snivels and hides behind his cloak of "righteousness" because he's too scared to be truly evil. As with all such things, it's up to the reader.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Attempted on Right-Eye right before he leaves. Right-Eye turns it around on him.
- Artifact of Doom: The Crimson Mantle may not have any direct control over Redcloak, but it does give him the knowledge of the divine half of the ritual to control the Snarl. It also halts Redcloak's aging, which has the apparent side effect of preventing him from maturing as well. Redcloak is, in many ways, still the angry vengeful teenager he was when he first took up the Mantle.
- Badass Boast: To Hinjo after the battle of Azure city.Redcloak: Your city? Oh, I'm sorry, I thought someone would have told you by now. See, this is MY city now, paladin! I figure you owe me one village plus 35 years interest, so this is a good start!
- Badass Bookworm: He's a cleric; it comes with the territory. He's the only spellcaster in the comic we've seen summon non-traditional Elementals, such as titanium, chlorine, osmium and silicon.
- Badass Cape: The Crimson Mantle, again.
- Badass Preacher: High Priest of the Dark One. Flattening the Azurite leader and Sapphire Guard commander, Hinjo, in one move made a statement. So did leading a Zerg Rush astride a War Elephant.
- Bad Boss: Will freely sacrifice any number of minions to achieve his goals. This trait remains even after his My God, What Have I Done? moment and after he resolves to be a Good Shepherd. Goblin or not, his minions are still resources to be expended in pursuit of his goals. However, he doesn't seem to enjoy it anymore, and will not indulge in We Have Reserves.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Redcloak constantly expresses frustration with the haphazard way Xykon runs the show (or doesn't, as the case may be).
- Benevolent Boss: Surprisingly, mixes this with Bad Boss: while he will sacrifice his people if he needs to, otherwise, he will do his best to ensure their betterment and try to protect them himself, if need be.
- Big Bad Ensemble: It seems to be a toss-up between Xykon, the IFCC, and Redcloak.
- Big Brother Instinct: Things didn't end well for the paladin who took out Right-Eye's eye.Redcloak: Get away from MY LITTLE BROTHER!!
- Brain Bleach: Interrupts Tsukiko during one of her monologues about Xykon.Redcloak: Not that interrupting that train of thought wouldn't be enough reason for me to speak—
- Brutal Honesty: Instead of lying about the fact he killed Tsukiko, Redcloak outright reveals to Xykon that he murdered her, brutally.
- Bullying a Dragon: Tsukiko did this to Redcloak repeatedly, and his lack of reaction fed her impression that he was a wimp. He let her run her mouth so Xykon wouldn't suspect anything until Tsukiko gets really cocky and declares she would tell Xykon Redcloak has been running the show the whole time. Redcloak kills her immediately after that to prevent her from doing so.
- Byronic Hero: Redcloak is driven to better his Goblin people and serve the Dark One no matter what it takes, even if it means defying the gods themselves. In the pursuit of such goals, Redcloak became unscrupulous to the point of murdering his own brother. As a consequence, Redcloak has to live with himself and the terrible decisions he made everyday, especially after he loses his eye and becomes the splitting image of his late brother whenever he looks in the mirror. He is also intelligent, has a wry wit, and is very charismatic.
- Celibate Hero: Well, Celibate Anti-Villain. In Start of Darkness, Right-Eye arranges a blind date with "an intelligent and sexy woman who shares his interests" but Redcloak is too focused on his Mission from God to formally meet her.
- Character Development: Went from being racist against hobgoblins and humans alike to being speciesist against humans when he realizes that he was acting more and more like Xykon (a thought that visibly terrified him). Also, following the loss of his right eye, Redcloak seems to have become more focused, actively working in order to create his goblinoid utopia, and overall acts more collected... and deadly.Redcloak: What I have lost in depth perception, I have gained in perspective.
- The Chessmaster: Strips #825-830 have him crushing the Azure City Underground, recovering Xykon's phylactery, and destroying his largest rival for the position of Xykon's Dragon. He follows this up by calmly admitting he's been playing Xykon since the beginning.
- Chessmaster Sidekick: The Man Behind the Man to Xykon, pulling his strings as Manipulative Bastard via being selective about what he lets Xykon know.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Most of his family was killed by the Sapphire Guard, and Xykon tricked him into killing his little brother, Right-Eye, to ensure his loyalty.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Doomed Home Town, no more family except for his brother, whom he later killed for the sake of The Plan... The man's got some baggage.
- Dark Messiah: Serves an evil god who wishes to bring equality to the Always Chaotic Evil creatures.
- Deadpan Snarker: Expresses his disdain for the rest of Team Evil (and others) with sarcasm and cutting remarks.
- Disintegrator Ray: Disintegrate is his favorite offensive spell.
- The Dog Bites Back: Most of his life to date has been spent pulling strings for a very long-term, very secret plan to bite back at basically everybody. Ever. The Sapphire Guard, however, are at the top of his list.
- Doomed Hometown: A quaint, isolated goblin village housing the (former) Public Enemy #1 of the Sapphire Guard. Perfect.
- The Dragon: He's Xykon's second-in-command of the evil plan and the one getting things done while he's off somewhere else. Ironically, their relationship was reversed before Xykon became a lich, and now he's a Dragon with an Agenda. Although #830 has him claim to Tsukiko that he's still pulling Xykon's strings; he's just doing so in a very subtle, complex fashion...
- Dragon-in-Chief: In terms of planning and administration, Redcloak is the true mastermind behind Xykon's Evil Plan.
- Dragon with an Agenda: He works for Xykon but his plan is different.
- The Dreaded: Among the resistance, judging from their reaction when he invades their base. Displayed by the Order of the Stick themselves in comic #901:Haley: Crap! It's Redcloak!!
Elan: Maybe it's just another illusion?
Belkar: Nah, that would mean we weren't totally boned.
- Driven to Villainy: Noted by Rich Burlew himself.Some people choose evil, and some are driven to it by what life has forced them to endure. Xykon is not one of these. Redcloak, however, might be.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Redcloak has several, which is one of the reasons that Xykon considers him a spineless wimp.
- Eviler Than Thou: When it comes down to it, he proves to Tsukiko that he's worse than she could ever be. In Start of Darkness, Xykon did it to him.
- Evil Genius: Xykon's a brute force kind of guy so Redcloak supplies the depth and breath of knowledge. He can be a smooth criminal — eloquent and intellectual. Kinda gives off the vibe he'd enjoy fancy cheeses and grapes over a book discussion. He's also become one of the most powerful pieces on this proverbial chessboard, packing some heavy punches and approaching epic level.
- Exact Words: Uses this to convince Xykon that Tsukiko was planning to betray them.
- Eyepatch of Power: After the below encounter with O-Chul. Xykon, at least, seems to approve of this development:Xykon: I like you this way. It's like we have a grumpy pirate on the team.
- Eye Scream: O-Chul does this to him in "With a Critical Eye". He could easily regenerate it, but Xykon has forbidden him from doing so.
- Fakin' MacGuffin: The ritual to control the Snarl doesn't do what Xykon thinks it does; Redcloak's been pulling the wool over his eyes for decades.
- Fangs Are Evil: Any time he opens his mouth, fangs are visible. Tusks protrude from his bottom lip, too.
- Fantastic Racism: As a goblin, he's a victim of it by humans, who assume his people to be Always Neutral Evil. (Going by the backstory, Goblins are Always Neutral Evil by definition and cruel destiny.) He also despises humanity, which he considers not racist but speciesist, since he hates all races of humans equally (an ironic statement, given he seems to have a particular hatred of Azure City). He himself was racist against the more warlike hobgoblins until halfway through the battle of Azure City (see My God, What Have I Done?).
- Fatal Flaw: Refusal to turn back, because otherwise, everything he's sacrificed will have been in vain.
- Freudian Excuse: When he was a teenager, the Sapphire Guard slaughtered his family and the Crimson Mantle revealed to him that the gods themselves designed his entire species to be cannon fodder for adventurers. All within minutes of each other.
- Foil: To Xykon, naturally. He's an Anti-Villain instead of a For the Evulz monster, a cleric instead of a sorcerer, and something of a nerd who prefers careful plans to brute force.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Started out as junior acolyte of the Dark One in a goblin village out in the sticks. Right now, the messiah of the goblin race and possibly the most powerful cleric in the story.
- Guile Hero: Well, Guile Anti-Villain. Manipulative, charismatic, and The Chessmaster.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Redcloak was the one who turned Xykon into a lich, hoping that holding his phylactery would allow him to control Xykon. He was horribly wrong, and the decision cost him his brother and a horrible lot of unnecessary goblin casualties. It also forced him into servitude (albeit a feigned one at this stage) to Xykon instead of being his partner.
- Good Powers, Bad People: As a cleric, he can cast healing spells. Most of the time, he just does this to heal his minions (or uses reversed versions to "heal" Xykon), but later on, he puts it to an evil use in performing Cold-Blooded Torture on O-Chul, as he can heal him after each session.
- Good Shepherd: For the goblin species he is a spiritual leader and connection to their deity. Failing to live up to this for all goblin races is part of his My God, What Have I Done?.Redcloack: I'm the high priest of the Dark One! I'm supposed to shepherd the goblin people — all goblins!
- Healing Hands: As a cleric, he can do this.
- He Knows Too Much:
- Crushes the Resistance by planting a hobgoblin infiltrator, disguised as a human with a polymorph spell. When the spy manages to recover Xykon's phylactery, instead of receiving the promised reward, he is sent to his death to cover up the details behind the battle. Redcloak considers this an unfortunate necessity, because he can't afford to have anybody alive who knows what he's done with the phylactery, especially considering the Dungeons and Dragons afterlife. Although the spy is technically killed by Resistance members, Redcloak doesn't raise him and admits he'd have killed him anyway. He then did it again, with Tsukiko.
- He also disintegrates the corpse of the craftsman who made a fake copy of Xykon's phylactery. That's definitely the kind of secret that Redcloak wants as few people as possible to know.
- High Priest: As Xykon's quote at the top of the page states, Redcloak is the high priest of the Dark One.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: To goblins, all the 'proper' races are the real monsters. Humans, elves, gnomes, halflings... To these races, goblinoid lives are cheap.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: If Xykon didn't have Redcloak around, the world would be a lot safer simply by virtue of Xykon being tactically stupid and having a hard time getting anything done.
- Hypocrite: In "Pot vs. Kettle", Redcloak proclaims Miko's lack of fear as comparable to Xykon's lichdom, in that they're both unnatural existences. This is ignoring how his own magical cloak has been letting him live an unnatural existence himself (by extending his life beyond the span of a normal goblin and keeping him young). This even makes him more like Xykon than Miko is, as Right-Eye points out, Redcloak may live forever, but he hasn't lived a life ever since he put on his mantle, just as how the Dark One has, and they both are too consumed by spite and petty revenge to know and do what's right for the goblin people.
- Major example in Start of Darkness. One is when Right-Eye asks him to help kill Xykon, and Redcloak responds by saying he can't let Right-Eye gamble with the lives of so many goblins. This coming from the man who led entire armies of goblins to their deaths and indirectly caused the deaths of Right-Eye's family. Right-Eye has to remind him to his face that his wife and children were his sister-in-law and nephews, and Redcloak's complete lack of reaction is what clues in Right-Eye on just how far Redcloak has gone.
- Ignored Epiphany:
- Pride and stubbornness kept him from ending his deal with Xykon before turning Xykon into a lich, or leaving The Plan behind during Xykon's disappearance, or helping his brother take Xykon out after Right-Eye tried to show Redcloak just how out of touch Redcloak is. May be more of a delayed epiphany than an ignored one considering later events. He admitted that's he's pulling Xykon's strings and seems to be taking steps to backstab him, such as killing Tsukiko and choosing to hide the fact that he's recovered Xykon's phylactery. But he still apparently intends to go through with The Plan first.
- Another example would be in Start of Darkness, where he eventually agrees to settle down and give up The Plan to build a better life for goblins instead of tearing down humans. But after Xykon extorts Right-Eye and his entire village into joining his forces, Redcloak becomes committed to The Plan again - so much so that he's willing to ignore his brother's accomplishment of building a peaceful goblin settlement and kill his brother to avoid the possibility of The Plan being wrong.
- I Lied: Slightly more verbose one from Redcloak when he tells Tsukiko his real plan for the Snarl.Tsukiko: That... that doesn't help Xykon at all!!
Redcloak: Yes, I know. That's why I kept it from him from more than 30 years.
- Immortal Immaturity: Right-Eye calls him out on a variant of this, claiming that since he hasn't aged in decades, he's basically frozen in the past and refuses to move on like he (Right-Eye) was forced to do. Unlike Right-Eye, who ultimately came to believe that life was too short to waste on revenge, Redcloak sees his time as infinite, and spends it on The Plan to tear down humans instead of trying to raise up goblins. Ultimately, Redcloak kills Right-Eye to avoid admitting that he made a mistake.
- I've Come Too Far: As Xykon points out to him at the end of Start of Darkness, he can't back away from The Plan now, because that would mean admitting that he did it all — including murdering his brother — for nothing.
- Knight Templar: He views his morally wrong actions towards humans as the right thing to do for his people. Xykon, being the sociopathic Eviler Than Thou Card-Carrying Villain he is, looks down on him for this.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Redcloak losing an eye — and being forbidden to regenerate it — just so he could remember his brother every time he looks at a mirror.
- Line-of-Sight Name: To avoid Xykon blasting him for giving him a long, complicated name, he uses "Redcloak" to introduce himself to the sorcerer when they first met.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Thanks to the Crimson Mantle he has all the time in the world to carry out his sacred duty.
- The Man Behind the Man: Well, the Goblin Behind the Lich. All that kowtowing and submissiveness to Xykon? Redcloak's just manipulating the lich in his own way by subtly guiding Xykon in the direction he wants.
- Metaphorically True: When he explains why he killed Tsukiko, strictly speaking everything he says is true — it's just that he skips a few details along the way. Details that would have gotten him brutally killed by Xykon, naturally.
- Mission from God: The Dark One in this case. It's to elevate the lot of the Goblin People from fodder for paladins and adventurers to something dignified.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: One of the reasons Redcloak killed Tsukiko was because she wouldn't stop disrespecting him and trying to undercut his authority.
- Moral Myopia: Redcloak really gets angry when people try to reanimate those he cares about as undead but he has no problem when it gets done (or indeed, doing it himself) to those he doesn't care about. Sadly, Xykon knows how to play him in such a way that he is unable to bring himself to defy it when it happens.
- Must Make Amends: Redcloak ordered thousands of hobgoblins that he was in command of into certain death without thinking or feeling anything because of the ancient grudges between goblins and hobgoblins. After a hobgoblin saved his life during the battle, Redcloak reacted with horror to everything he he had done and become, and promptly led the hobgoblins to a smashing victory, even putting his own life at risk in order to save those of his men.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- This happens after a hobgoblin sacrifices his life to save Redcloak from a catapulted boulder during the battle for Azure City. After that point, he becomes significantly more considerate for his hobgoblin army and personally leads them through the attack.
- Has another one in Start of Darkness after killing Right-Eye and having Xykon call him out on it.
- Never My Fault: His actions in serving Xykon, who kills anyone who happens to be in his field of vision at any given moment for fun (including a whole lot of goblins), are all "for the greater good of the goblins". But when Right-Eye suggests betraying Xykon, he refuses on the basis that it would be a waste of goblin lives. Right-Eye calls him on it, and what little good it's done. Xykon makes it pretty clear that Redcloak is completely aware of this fact, and taunts him with the knowledge that if Right-Eye had succeeded in killing Xykon it would mean having to admit that he (Redcloak) was wrong, and that it was his fault that all those goblins died. Serving Xykon gives him an excuse to look the other way and say it's out of his hands.
- Averted with his treatment of the hobgoblins. He's visibly horrified when he realizes that he was letting a childhood grudge against their kind justify his disregard for their lives.
- Non-Action Guy: Sorta; aside from epic characters like Xykon, the Order of the Scribble, and possibly the Vector Legion he's probably the most powerful character in the story, but he is never shown engaging in physical combat even when drawn into melee by another character. Instead he relies on magic despite the fact that his class has decent melee abilities.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Unlike Xykon, he uses military tactics instead of relying on brute strength; he refuses to rely on classic elementals as Giant Mooks, and instead uses stronger and rarer ones; after some Character Development, he refrains from using the We Have Reserves tactic. Finally, he uses La Résistance to get his boss's Soul Jar, before ambushing them with a group of summoned devils and giving them a Total Party Kill, and simply orders one of his aforementioned elementals to kill a Paladin trying to goad him into a duel. He even points out he's not taking stupid risks any more in doing so. He also kills everyone who knows that he has possession of the phylactery (and makes sure they won't be resurrected) to ensure the success of The Plan. He also made a perfect forgery of the phylactery, knowing that Xykon would no longer let him hold onto it. After realizing the Order of the Stick is protecting the gates, he simply decided to wipe them out himself as soon as he could. When Xykon tells him to drop it, he summons a high-level elemental to kill Roy.
- Not So Different: From Vaarsuvius. Both are Well Intentioned Extremists, both have a thing for avenging their families, both are Badass Bookworms, both struggle with regret over the blood of innocents on their hands. Both are Deadpan Snarkers, with a fondness for Stealth Insults. Both are the "smart guy" of their respective team, both are spellcasters, both were prone to Ignored Epiphanies before character development. Both have been subject to Never Live It Down, V over the whole selling their soul and savagely murdering an entire dragon subspecies thing and Redcloak setting fire to Lirian's Glade, and killing his brother.
- Offing the Offspring: Of The Choice of Abraham variety. After the destruction of their village and up until the fight that spurs Right-Eye to leave and start his own life, Redcloak and Right-Eye are the only family each other has. And as the elder brother by several years, Redcloak raises Right-Eye by himself.
- Older Than They Look: The Crimson Mantle stops him from aging. He's only 50ish, but by goblin standards that's 120, and he still looks like a teenager.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: He adopted the name of "Redcloak" after seeing Xykon kill a lizardfolk because of his long, hard-to-pronounce name. His real name is never given, and the only hint we know is that it's harder to use in the heat of battle, even by other goblins.
- Only Sane Man: Between Xykon (For the Evulz), the Monster in the Darkness (spacey wuss) and Tsukiko (Parody Sue), he's the only one in Team Evil that can pass a sanity check.
- Pointy Ears: Because he's a goblin.
- Promotion to Parent: When he and his little brother are orphaned.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The Plan in a nutshell. His Mission from the Dark One is a plan to blackmail the other gods into making the goblinoid races something other than XP fodder.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Jirix who is more laid back and likely to make jokes. Redcloak himself is all serious all the time.
- The Reliable One: Which he lampshades, saying that while everyone else is out having fun he's making sure the trains run on time.
- Religion Is Magic: Comes with being a cleric.
- Religion of Evil: The Dark One is Lawful Evil, and so is Redcloak.
- Scars Are Forever: Although clerical magic could have fixed his eye with ease, Xykon orders Redcloak to keep that particular wound as a reminder of what happens when they "sit on their lazy asses".
- Scary Teeth: Tusks and fangs and pissed off, oh my!
- Start of Darkness: The comic book containing his and Xykon's is the Trope Namer.
- Stealth Insult: He hands a few of these out; typically in Xykon's direction.
- Storm of Blades: The Blade Barrier spell.
- The Strategist: Unfortunately for the good guys he uses legit military tactics when invading Azure City, and isn't bothered by La Résistance.
- Summon Magic: Fond of conjuring chemical elementals and fiendish creatures.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: One of the primary reasons he's still following The Plan, though it's still possible (and, arguably, it's becoming more and more likely) that The Plan will pay off, so Redcloak hasn't yet fallen into the true fallacy (which only arises when you do something that has little or even negative utility based on the fact that you've already paid). He has certainly, however, done so with respect to Xykon, to whom he insists on remaining shackled when, theoretically, any reasonably high-level arcane caster should be able to handle that half of the ritual, and is less likely to kill him.
- Taking Up the Mantle: Redcloak takes up the Crimson Mantle of the previous High Priest of the Dark One in book #-1: Start of Darkness.
- Talking to the Dead: To Right-Eye in #701.Redcloak: It'll all be worth it. You'll see.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Redcloak Used to Be a Sweet Kid. Paladins brought the fight to him, because all goblins need to be exterminated. In retrospect, that was a bad move on their part.
- Throat Light: The first time he put on the Crimson Mantle, in Start of Darkness.
- Took a Level in Badass: Redcloak was always a powerful character, ever since he took the famous Crimson Mantle, but he's still taken more than anyone else over the course of the comic. Strips #824 to #827 demonstrate that not only has he become more powerful thanks to his 17th level, he also became wiser, refusing to let Thanh duel him, for very sound reasons:Redcloak: Stupid risks are just that: Stupid.
- Tragic Villain: Well-intentioned, tragic backstory, Fatal Flaw; yes.
- Turn Undead: As an evil cleric, he can bolster or rebuke undead, but he gets also the opportunity for a standard (sort of) turn undead against the ghost-martyrs of the Sapphire Guard.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Start of Darkness introduces him as a well-meaning teenage acolyte who "just wants to serve the community in some small way".
- Utopia Justifies the Means: He's putting the entire cosmos at risk on the chance that he can make a better world for the Goblin People.
- Villain Episode: Start of Darkness
- Villain Has a Point: When you look at the slaughter of the Goblionoid people, whom the gods literally made to be killed to give their followers XP.
- Villainous Friendship: With Jirix. The single normal, pleasant relationship with another person we have seen Redcloak HAVE since his Trope Namer prequel.
- Visionary Villain: Redcloak sees a world where goblins and humans would be on equal standing before the gods.
- We Have Reserves: His initial attitude toward his hobgoblin armies. He becomes more considerate during the battle of Azure City, though it's still applicable. Redcloak's still Evil, and sacrificing minions is still okay — wasting them is where it gets racist.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Xykon mocks him for his need of a justification for his acts, something that Xykon himself would never bother with.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Once you've read his backstory in Start of Darkness. Family and village, except his brother, massacred by the supposedly Lawful Good Sapphire Guard. Teamed up with Xykon, who took over Redcloak's own team and demoted him to number two after Redcloak himself turned him into a lich. Forced to kill his brother by Xykon as a twisted loyalty test. He lost an eye to one of the Sapphire Guard and was forbidden by Xykon (again) from healing it. He remains in service to a potentially world-destroying evil plan which is the only part of his old life that remains.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: To Tsukiko, right before he kills her.Redcloak: Because, let's be clear: if I tolerated your humiliating attempts to undercut my authority before, it was only because killing you would've upset the delicate puppet strings upon which "Lord Xykon" unknowingly dances. But if you're going to stand here, and tell me that you'll expose one of those strings to him? If you're going to be THAT stupid? There can only be one rational response to that.
[addressing her Wights]
Hold her until you drain the life from her. Then devour her corpse.
- You Are in Command Now: How he got the Red Cloak to begin with.
- Your Head Asplode: He has the power to invert this on enemies with the Implosion spell, probably the most Squick-tastic form of death yet seen in this comic.
The Monster in the Darkness
The Monster in the Darkness
"So... can I have some stew? [...] Can I get toys? [...] Can I be let out of the box?"Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a creature perpetually surrounded by darkness because Xykon wants to dramatically reveal it as his trump card... which hasn't happened yet. He isn't evil and has a childlike personality, but has incredible strength and can laugh off most attacks.
- And Call Him "George"!: He adopts the paralyzed O-Chul, using him (along with Roy's corpse) as a doll for a tea party — and calls him Mr. Stiffly.
- Anti-Villain: He's only considered to be on the side of Evil because he's Xykon's pet monster. And in #901, he tricks Xykon to avoid having his friend's friends hurt, officially sealing his Heel–Face Turn, if he ever needed one. As of #1041, he's begun to actively sabotage Xykon's efforts.
- Beneath Notice: Because his coworkers think of him as a childish idiot, his resolution to start thinking for himself and his resulting attempts to subtly undermine their plans have gone not only unnoticed but un-looked-for.
- Big Eater: He is frequently seen eating or looking for something to eat.
- The Brute: He's a trump card for Xykon and it's easy to see why. He's terrifyingly strong and just as tough. When he tried to play a genuine game of "Who Can Hit the Lightest" with a strong paladin, his first move was a Megaton Punch that sent said paladin hurtling over the horizon.
- Buffy Speak: Sometimes.MitD: ...everyone here tells me that I'm as dumb as things that are really dumb.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: His glowing yellow eyes are all that is ever seen of him.
- Characterization Marches On: In the first story arc, he's occasionally shown with a fondness for death and evil that seems pretty OOC for the MITD we eventually come to know. In particular, see the first two panels of this early strip.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: His mysterious magic powers seem to work that way. For a long time he isn't even conscious he could have them, but by wishing very, very hard that O-Chul and V would escape Xykon, he teleports them away.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Likes tea parties, Power Rangers, My Little Pony, Monopoly and watching dwarf porn.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: It's not just his incredible strength; if strip #700 is anything to go by, then whilst he may be The Ditz most of the time, he has the potential to be pretty damn brilliant beneath it. Definitively proven by strip #901.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: The Monster rehearsing his lines in "Practice Makes Perfect":MitD: Order of the Stick! Your broken corpses will taste delicious lightly seasoned with nutmeg!
MitD: Order of the Stick! I will bathe in your blood with lavender bath gel and a good loofa!
- Dark Is Not Evil: All he's seen as is a formless lump of darkness, but he's childlike and friendly to everyone.
- The Ditz: He doesn't have to be— when O-Chul challenges him to really and truly think for four seconds straight, he admits that he doesn't mostly because it's hard.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Demonstrated when he plays "Who Can Hit the Lightest?" with Miko. He punches her through a wall and a fairly great distance away. Her horse follows her through the air (due to the Monster hitting it too).
- Eats Babies: Defied; Xykon tries to make the MitD more evil by feeding him small children and babies, but the MitD just hides them and throws them out.
- Emerging from the Shadows: Under orders to first reveal himself this way, and has to stay in shadows until then.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "The Monster in the Darkness"
- Exact Words: Apparently bet on one of O-chul's escape attempts with two P and two G tiles from Scrabble, telling the demon roaches they were "two gp's".
- Extreme Doormat: He's a wuss that lets everyone walk over him because he doesn't like to think for himself. However, O-Chul's teachings have had him begin to reconsider this.
- Extreme Omnivore: Likes gruel and stew, but doesn't eat live babies. He has been known to eat other random objects, including popcorn, important letters, Scrabble tiles, and a months-old cheeseburger found behind a goblin's sock drawer.
- The Faceless: It's shrouded in darkness, like the rest of him.
- Fartillery: Not seen, but implied. Like the rest of him, his farts can be powerful.
- Finger Poke of Doom: Him "trying to hit the lightest" or "stomping his foot" can cause incredible damage. With a single stomp, and probably not a very strong one, he caused a tremor that Haley and Belkar mistook for an earthquake.
- Genre Savvy: Uses this to convince Xykon O-Chul is the real threat, not the Order of the Stick, by calling Roy some random fighter he already offed once, and O-Chul as the last of his people, full of revenge.
- Glowing Eyes: The only part of him that's visible in the darkness. He apparently has feet, though.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: You could think this trope applies on his very first appearance, but he gets much less threatening very fast.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Invoked by Xykon so he can be properly intimidating when he's released.
- Hidden Depths: His views on Redcloak's pan-goblinoid narrative are remarkably complex.
- Ignorant Minion: He works for Xykon and has no idea what's going on at any given time. He didn't even know what the Order of the Stick looked like until the Battle of Azure City.
- Lovable Coward:MitD: I don't wanna go! There might be something scary in there!
- Make Me Wanna Shout: His voice can be extremely powerful.
- Manchurian Agent: Xykon embedded a command in his mind in Start of Darkness to devour Redcloak and spit out his holy symbol if he ever betrays Xykon.
- Minion with an F in Evil:Xykon: Look, there's nothing in there any scarier than you are.
Redcloak: Sir, he's about as scary as musty styrofoam.
Xykon: Correction: any scarier than you SHOULD be.
- Monster Delay: Parodied. Circumstances constantly come up to make sure he isn't shown until it is dramatically appropriate. He was going to be shown early, but Roy defeated Xykon before he could be seen, and he's been defined visually by his darkness ever since.
- Morality Pet: O-Chul, which is why he helps him escape.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: He's very difficult to harm, which further implies that he must be a powerful creature. When Miko attacked him, his response was that it tickled, and he didn't even seem to notice Belkar was trying to stab him.
- No Name Given: Even he doesn't know what could be his name, or even what species he belongs to.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Monster in the Darkness may be playful and childish, but he's Nigh Invulnerable and has devastating strength. As well as unknown magic powers that even he may be unaware of.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: While most of his childishness is genuine, in strip #901 he deliberately amps up the tendencies while tricking Xykon and Redcloak so they won't suspect. He even makes sure not to refer to O-Chul by name after a slip.
- Odd Friendship: With O-Chul, a paladin.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
- The normally lazy and silly Monster gets seriously frightened for the fate of O-Chul, and even calls his friend by name.
- In strip #901 he grabs the Smart Ball to save "O-Chul's friends".
- Ostentatious Secret: His identity is so secret not even he knows it.
- Parasol of Prettiness: More to show his gentle nature than femininity, the parasol is also to keep his true form hidden from sight until the right moment.
- Pass the Popcorn:
- "Oh, I'm watching two dwarves having sex on Level Fourteen."
- Then again later while watching the fight between Miko and Redcloak.
- Poke the Poodle: His attempted acts of villainy tend to be more like this than anything.
- Running Gag: "Gate? What Gate?"
- Shockwave Stomp: He can cause an earthquake by stomping — without even meaning to. And he had no idea he could do that (a demon-roach directed him).
- Stock Yuck: Babies. He refuses to eat them.
- Super Strength: Even when he hits as softly as he can, he still sends PCs flying.
- Sympathy for the Devil: After Tsukiko is killed, he laments that it's sad: What she wanted (to be loved) wasn't that terrible, and not one of his companions cares that she's gone. Which is the real sad part for him.
- Token Good Teammate: He doesn't want to take over the world, wipe out paladins or partake in sadistic torture for entertainment. He'd much rather have a peaceful tea party or play Scrabble. As of strip #1041, he's gone from not remembering what the Gates are to undermining Xykon's efforts to find the last one.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Stew; he has very high standards when it comes to stew.
- That Came Out Wrong: Has a retroactive reaction along these lines when Oona mentions she almost caught two humans for a 'special dinner' because he "had one back in city and liked it best of all".
- The Unreveal: He's constantly waiting to get out of the darkness, but he hasn't had any luck so far. There will be an eventual Reveal, and it won't be an original creation, but rather a monster with abilities largely consistent with what's been shown in the comic. There is an ongoing thread in the comic forum dedicated to figuring out what he is based on the clues dropped in the comic. It's become so meta that Rich Burlew has taken to lampshading it via the Fourth wall-breaking demon roaches, as seen in this strip, where the Monster gives some well-thought-out critique of Redcloak's "appealing but ultimately specious pan-goblinoid narrative," and one of the roaches mockingly asks whether the readers can identify any monsters with "trenchant political analysis" as a special attack. O'Chul has a theory, but outright admits to Lien that she wouldn't believe him if he said it (nor would the Monster himself, apparently).
- The Watson: He often fulfills this role with Xykon and Redcloak, although they only answer his questions when hounded enough. Plus, he rarely understand or remember anything about the explanations.
- What You Are in the Dark: Puns aside, strip #901 shows just how not-evil he truly is. O-Chul would likely never know his friends had been killed, or even if the Monster had been involved, but he saves them anyway because their being friends of O-Chul means something to him.
- Wild Card: His friendship with O-Chul has weakened his partnership with Team Evil to this point. Acknowledged in strip #1041 "The Value of an Independant Variable" where he outright sabotages Xykon and Redcloak behind their backs.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
- He calls O-Chul "Mr. Stiffly" most of the time; when he finally addresses O-Chul by his real name, it's a sign he's finally starting to listen to what O-Chul's been telling him and thinking.
- By strip #901, he does it again, this time correcting himself with "Mr. Stiffly" when Xykon asks what he's talking about.
- Your Other Left: In Start of Darkness, he's shown having this problem because he's a dim bulb.
See Animal Companions.
"Besides, they were the ones who threw ME into prison for being different — for understanding that a pulse is not a prerequisite for being loved! They all got exactly what they deserved!"
Race: HumanA young mystic theurge recruited during the battle of Azure City to create undead Mooks. Her love of the undead (yes, in that way) and impressive spellcasting ability led her to become Xykon's top enforcer, much to the annoyance of Redcloak.
Class: Wizard (necromancer)/Cleric/Mystic Theurge
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Class: Wizard (necromancer)/Cleric/Mystic Theurge
Alignment: Neutral Evil
- Alas, Poor Villain: Dies telling her wights that she loves them and not understanding why they didn't love her in return. Gets this reaction from the Monster in the Darkness. While Redcloak is visibly happy, Xykon considers offing uppity minions a "cost of doing business" and the roaches are blasé, the MitD is upset about her dying.MiTD: I'm just really sad now, thinking about Tsukiko. She just wanted to be loved.
Demon-Roach: So what? Who cares?
MiTD: Exactly. That's why I'm sad.
- Animate Dead: Her main job for Team Evil is creating new soldiers. She passes over Miko's corpse.
- Better Living Through Evil: When confronted with selling out her civilization by Ho Thanh, she counters that she got a good price for it.
- Big Bad Wannabe: More like Dragon Wannabe — she thinks she has what it takes to be Xykon's Dragon. Unfortunately, the spot's already taken by Redcloak, who in fact had met him long before she had. When the two throw down, he shows her exactly how outclassed she is.
- Bullying a Dragon: Despite him being a more powerful cleric than her and having more experience, she still fails to give Redcloak any respect whatsoever, seeing him as a "spineless coward squirming under Xykon's heel". It didn't end well for her. Also see Underestimating Badassery. Though to be fair, Redcloak had been cultivating that image for decades.
- Common Mary Sue Traits: Heterochromatic eyes, great beauty, skimpy clothing, unusually skilled for her young age, Japanese name meaning "moon child", oppressed by a stuck-up society not understanding her greatness... check.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Life-drained completely by the wights she loved so much, and then devoured.
- Dark Action Girl: Her official job is reanimating corpses, but she can create the corpse itself just as easily.
- Dark Chick: The only girl on Team Evil's roster of main characters, and her overall contribution to the plot, not to mention The Plan, is fairly minimal.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Parodied. Since she thinks that the undead are the antithesis of the living, and that the living are all jerks, therefore the undead are caring and misunderstood — and Xykon will eventually grow to love her. Even the Monster in the Darkness tries to tell her that it doesn't work that way. Eventually Redcloak proves her wrong in a particularly cruel way by killing her with her own beloved minions.
- Death by Irony: In two ways: first because she is drained to death and eaten by her beloved wights, and secondly she is killed by Redcloak (who she considered a spineless wimp) using nothing more than his Command Undead class feature and a Dispel Magic to counterspell her Shout.
- Duality Motif: Tsukiko has a blue eye and an indigo eye. This reflects her dual-caster prestige class, the color of her aura when casting spells being blue for divine magic and indigo for arcane. As a joke, it carries over as a theme to her slippers too.
- Energy Ball: She uses a number of non-core "orb" spells (Electric Orb, Fire Orb, Lesser Acid Orb, Cold Orb) in order to counter Haley's evasion skill.
- Everything's Better with Plushies: Tsukiko sleeps with a Xykon plushie — and yes, the fans started begging for one as soon as they saw it.
- Evil Sorceress: Necromancer, mystic, and a hard on for evil.
- Famous Last Words: "I love you all! I love you! I love you! Why don't... you love... me?"
- Fatal Flaw: Her arrogance, pride, and complete misunderstanding of people's true characters. Specifically, all three of them lead her to gloat to Redcloak's face that she is going to expose his treachery to Xykon under the over-confident belief that he is too spineless to do anything to stop her, due to Xykon liking her. It also fools her into believing that her wights are children who would never hurt their "mommy" as opposed to easily-dominated drones who will instantly turn on her if someone who is also capable of controlling them overrides her orders.
- Flight: One of her abilities. Belkar thanks her for combining it with a short dress.
- Fluffy Tamer:Tsukiko: [to a newly-created undead] Hello, little one. I'm your mommy.
- Girlish Pigtails: Both for cuteness and immaturity.
- Goth: True to stereotype, she wears black and talks about her "dark allure". Haley (who had such a phase) mocks her for it.
- Grave Robbing: Two years experience as an intern graverobber on her resume.
- Have You Told Anyone Else?: When she realizes that the Ritual doesn't do what Redcloak says it's supposed to, she goes to confront (and taunt) Redcloak about it before telling Xykon her suspicions. She believes that she'd be able to bully him into silence again or teleport to Xykon if things went bad. That didn't work.
- Healing Hands: "Inflict Critical Wounds". More often than not she does this for the undead.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Her own wights drain her to death (and eat her corpse) after Redcloak steals control of them. It's also a Death by Irony since it's a combination of her arrogance, lack of character judgement and belief that her undead "children" are people who won't hurt her that kills her.
- Horrible Judge of Character: A significant flaw of hers. She believes that the dead are better than the living because she thinks the living are all bastards and the dead are their exact opposites. She thinks that Xykon is an Edward Cullen-style paranormal romantic hero just waiting for the perfect girl (i.e. her) to "heal" him and she thinks that Redcloak is an ineffective spineless wimp who is just going to passively let her get away with absolutely everything including outright informing Xykon of Redcloak's treachery. Redcloak brutally proves her wrong and Xykon doesn't really give a damn about her — he can't even remember her name.
- Humans Are Bastards: She believes this thoroughly and, in what may be an example of Insane Troll Logic, uses it to justify her belief that the Undead are really nice creatures, as they are "the antithesis of life". See "They Would Likely Both Disagree with That Sentiment" for the full conversation.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Toward Xykon, who doesn't just ignore her sentiments but actively avoids thinking about them ('cause he's "not one of those disgusting biophiliacs").
- I Love the Dead: Yes, she loves The Undead. In that way. *wink*
- Insane Troll Logic: Her "reasoning" behind preferring the undead to the living is so warped that even the Monster in the Darkness calls her out on it.
- Ironic Echo: During her battle with Haley and Thanh, she uses both their weaknesses against them, causing her to nearly succeed in defeating them both. She also attempts to goad Belkar into performing a Face–Heel Turn, which almost succeeds as well. Later on, Redcloak uses her weaknesses against her in order to destroy her once and for all.
- Just Desserts: Ends up being eaten by the wights she created.
- Karmic Death: She betrays Azure City for the reasons outlined under Dark Is Not Evil, and later tries to do the same to Redcloak, and eventually the latter commands her own undead minions to kill her, while explaining how deluded she was to think they were anything more than tools. She dies begging them to stop and wondering why they don't love her.
- Killed Off for Real: After Redcloak uses her wights to level-drain her to death, he then instructs them to devour her corpse, thus preventing a resurrection.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: The Shout spell.
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Tsukiko acts like this to her undead minions. From her perspective they're only a few days old and need looking after. Consequently, the elite squad of wights is organized like they're on a school trip, complete with whistles and a buddy system.
- Mistaken for Gay: Her... flustered reaction to an Accidental Innuendo by the Monster in the Darkness.
- Naďve Newcomer: A teenager who wanted in on the latest evil organization.
- Necromancer: Animates the dead as her main job and chief passion.
- Nightmare Fetishist: More literally than most; Xykon is her definition of "a hottie".
- Panty Shot:Belkar: Oh, and hey, Tsukiko. On behalf of all the men in the city: Thanks for wearing a short skirt while flying. You've given me a lot to think about. Heh.
- Parody Sue: She has Common Mary Sue Traits (see above) and acts as if in her own self-insert fanfic. It's all to better point out how Wrong Genre Savvy she truly is.
- Perky Female Minion: Far more upbeat and happy than her evil coworkers or boss.
- Pet the Dog: The motherly way she treats her creations. (Given her proclivities, that may be even squickier.)
- Prestige Class: Mystic Theurge.
- The Quisling: She sells out her entire city to Xykon and the goblins, and is thoroughly unapologetic about it. Her comeuppance is suitably horrible.Thanh: You have sold out our entire civilization to outsiders!
Tsukiko: Yeah, but at least I got a good price for it. What can I say? It was a seller's market.
- The Red Mage: Being multiclassed allows her to cast both divine and arcane spells which gives her a wider breadth of casting ability and spellcraft knowledge than a single-classed character would have, but neither of which are at the depth a single-classed caster has.
- Religion Is Magic: Due to her levels in cleric, Tsukiko possesses divine magic.
- Sanity Has Advantages: As a Mystic Theurge, Tsukiko has high scores of both Intelligence and Wisdom. However, she doesn't benefit of those as much as she should... because she's also utterly insane, leading her to make foolish mistakes, like underestimating Redcloak.
- Smarter Than You Look: Don't let the pigtails, her love for the undead or her Xykon doll fool you: she's dangerous. She found some creative ways to counter Haley's evasion, and unlike Xykon she discovered that Redcloak's ritual doesn't have the intended purpose that he led them to believe it had (although with some unexpected help from the MitD).Tsukiko: I was expelled from some of the best wizard academies in the South, you know.
- Smug Snake: She orders Redcloak to do as she says, justifying her demand as an order from Xykon, as the basis of her first conversation with him (remembering that, up to and beyond this point, Redcloak is Xykon's second-in-command).
- The Starscream: Not towards Xykon, but Redcloak. In fact, her behavior sometimes may resemble the Trope Namer — despite that Redcloak is higher than her in the hierarchy, she constantly disrespects him, tries to undercut his authority and mocks him, and her attempt at taking his position backfires spectacularly. Too bad for her that Redcloak doesn't have any tolerance for betrayal.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: When you think about it, she acts like she's the heroine of one of those Twilight-esque books, where evil creatures are really Not Evil, Just Misunderstood and Xykon is this perfect guy whose heart she is destined to win at the end. Suffice to say, she's incredibly wrong about this, and finds out the hard way.
- Too Dumb to Live: She thought that Redcloak would stay idle while she crushed his decades-long plan, that gloating about how she were going to usurp his place in front of him was a smart move, and didn't make sure that his personal sanctum wasn't barred against teleportation despite the fact that he's big on pre-planning. Redcloak himself lampshades it:Redcloak: Because, let's be clear: if I tolerated your humiliating attempts to undercut my authority before, it was only because killing you would've upset the delicate puppet strings upon which "Lord Xykon" unknowingly dances. But if you're going to stand here, and tell me that you'll expose one of those strings to him? If you're going to be THAT stupid? There can only be one rational response to that.
- Token Human: She is the only human member of Team Evil, unless you include Xykon, who formerly was a human.
- Underestimating Badassery: She probably thought that, if nothing else, that between her wights, her ability to teleport and her huge spell selection, she could escape Redcloak before he could do anything to stop her — which is why she spent so much time taunting Redcloak and spelling out her plans. Unfortunately, Redcloak nullified all her advantages in short order (he had warded his sanctum against teleportation apparently for some time, used Control Undead on her wights, having them grapple her, and counterspelling the few spells that she could cast while grappled) and Tsukiko soon found herself in way over her head.
- Weak, but Skilled: While she has both arcane and divine spells, she doesn't have any of the bonus feats, or the same spell level as she would have if she focused on just one.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: She thinks she's the Mary Sue heroine of a Twilight-style supernatural romance. Oh, how wrong she is.
- Zombie Advocate: They're not evil in her opinion; just misunderstood. They should be cared for like children. About that...
Species: ChimeraA chimera sent by Xykon to kill the Order of the Stick early on in their adventures. They were jokingly supposed to be a recurring plot-relevant villain, but Belkar killed them before they could finish their "I'll be back!" speech.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
- Breath Weapon: Their dragon head breathes fire.
- Meaningful Name: Their name indicates the sound the three heads make upon dying.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: As normal for a chimera, Trigak is a three-headed monster that is one-third lion, one-third goat, and one-third dragon.
- Multiple Head Case: Each of their heads appears to think independently (they use plural pronouns like "we" to refer to themselves), though they don't fight amongst themselves.
- Psycho for Hire: Xykon describes them as "discount mercenaries"
- Starter Villain: Trigak is the first villain with a name that the Order goes up against.
MitD: How did you get them to look exactly like Xykon?Three skeletal undead — a Death Knight, a Huecuva, and an Eye of Fear and Flame — created by Redcloak for the battle of Azure City, to sow confusion within the enemy ranks by having them look identical to Xykon.
Redcloak: I didn't. They're human skeletons. I put a blue robe on them and called it a night.
Heck, I had to put those colored pendants on them just to tell them apart.
Redcloak: I didn't. They're human skeletons. I put a blue robe on them and called it a night.
Heck, I had to put those colored pendants on them just to tell them apart.
- Anti-Magic: The Death Knight has some serious Spell Resistance, to Vaarsuvius's great annoyance.
- Badass Boast:Death Knight: THEN LET THE REAPING BEGIN!!
- Battle Strip: The Death Knight rips its Xykon robe, revealing its heavy armor, before charging at the breach.
- Blood Knight: The Death Knight. See its Badass Boast. It cuts his way through four giant soldiers, blasts through several normal soldiers, kills General Chang, and nearly defeats a weakened V.
- Body Doubles: Skeleton Doubles at least. Redcloak made them for the "Shell Game" at Azure City. He didn't actually do anything to make them look like Xykon, though, since they were all skeletons. He just gave them robes and called it a day.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The pendents Redcloak gave them so he could tell them apart; dark green for the Death Knight, purple for the Huecuva and orange for the Eye of Fear and Flame.
- Dem Bones: All of them are animated skeletons.
- Deus ex Machina: The Death Knight getting crushed by a falling dragon head, from Vaarsuvius's viewpoint, is exactly this because it falls from the sky at the last moment.
- Dirty Coward: Skullsy — ahem, the "Eye of Fear and Flame".
- Eviler Than Thou: The Huecuva gets in a scuffle with Kubota's ninjas over who gets to take out Hinjo and manages to kill one of them before Durkon intervenes.
- Evil Is Hammy: The Death Knight is clearly enjoying the theatrics that come with slaughtering an army.Death Knight: The ground will hungrily lap up the spilled blood of the righteous this unholy day!
- Expressive Mask: Or Expressive Eyesockets in this case, like the original.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Belkar intimidates Skullsy to serve him and fight off Hobgoblins. Skullsy continues to do so, until Belkar mentions keeping it and using it for many different things. When he mentions a chamber pot, Skullsy snaps and says that it has finally found something worse than death, and promptly betrays them by screaming for the hobgoblins and setting off a Fireball. Haley smashes the skull on a rock and they run from the guards that were attracted by the commotion.
- Fearless Undead: Defied by Skullsy, who is still scared of destruction, but played straight by the two others.
- Fireball Eyeballs: Trails of flame shoot from the Death Knight's eyes when he charges at the breach.
- Fireballs: One of Skullsy's two powers, to Belkar's delight.
- For the Evulz: Both the Huecuva and Death Knight's main motivation; they don't care that they're just decoys.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: All of them due to their respective natures.
- Ignored Enemy: The Huecuva being distracted from killing Hinjo by a pair of ninjas.Huecuva: Well, you got your contract killing in my hatred of all that's good and pure!
- In-Series Nickname: The Eye of Fear and Flame is soon called "Skullsy" by Belkar.
- Kansas City Shuffle: What they were created for in the first place: distraction. Haley even refers to it as a shell game.
- Kill It with Fire: All three undead have fire powers used to lay waste on their enemies.Death Knight: Choose your doom, then, chicken-mage: Original Recipe, or Extra Crispy?
- Losing Your Head: Skullsy's fate two rounds after meeting Belkar.
- Our Liches Are Different: Technically not liches, but unfortunately not visually different from one.
- Power Crystal: The Eye of Fear and Flame's gemstones.Skullsy: Stay back! I can shoot Fireballs and Fear beams out of my magical eye gems!
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: The Death Knight quips one to General Chang (and to V, almost).
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Not what they were made for, but they serve the purpose by fighting Red Shirts and keeping PCs busy.
- Religion of Evil: The Huecuva is basically an undead priest and has access to cleric magic.
- Sinister Scimitar: The Death Knight's weapon is fitting for a grim blood knight like himself.
- Touch of Death: The Huecuva uses various damaging contact clerical spells, like Poison.
- The Undead: Like Xykon, but different forms.
"Truly, there has never been a more impressive display of magic in the annals of warfare."
Race: HobgoblinThe General of the hobgoblin Forces, and second-in-command of Redcloak.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Alignment: Lawful Evil
- Beard of Evil: His white goatee marks him as different from the beardless warriors charging into battle without him.
- Deadpan Snarker: The above quote was his reaction to the underwhelming battle between the head Azure Cleric and Redcloak.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: When Miko destroys the gate, a hobgoblin reports that the General was in the Courtyard, and presumably died.
- Evil Counterpart: To General Chang (though they never meet). Chang questions detrimental orders, while The Hobgoblin General follows through on them, if reluctantly.
- Mook Lieutenant: For Redcloak. He's only a little different than the mook goblins.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Goes along with Redcloak's careless slaughter of hobgoblins because he is the Supreme Leader.
- No Name Given: Unless that really is his name, the guy has no name.
- Number Two: To Redcloak, which makes him Number Three overall.
- Pointy Ears: As a goblin.
- Undying Loyalty: To Redcloak, like all hobgoblins. Cemented when Redcloak stops wasting troops, and leads them to a smashing victory.
- The Watson: Redcloak explains his plans to the General. After his death, Jirix takes this role.
"Thank you, thank you. And thank you, Supreme Leader, for those kind words. I didn't mind the Resurrection spell, either."
Race: HobgoblinRedcloak's hobgoblin second-in-command, following the conquest of Azure City, and now Prime Minister of the newly-formed state of Gobbotopia.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Alignment: Lawful Evil
- Aerith and Bob: On two levels. Most hobgoblins have names like "Goblin Cleric #2". Also contrasts Redcloak (who presumably has a more golbin-esque name, but we never hear it).
- Affably Evil: Normally upbeat and polite, complimenting Redcloak, and wishing him luck when he leaves the city. Invoked during his speech to the Goblins, where he's quick to make jokes and praise their efforts, later telling Redcloak that he did so to project a more relaxed image to help transition to a more peaceful time.
- Ascended Extra: Jirix being the nameless cleric who fought beside Redcloak in the Azure City throne room.
- Back from the Dead: At least once by strip 700.
- Custom Uniform: Originally he was indistinguishable from other Hobgoblin clerics, save for having a red belt. Later appearances have him trade in his black and blue uniform for the grey and blue one pictured, making him easier to distinguish from the other Hobgoblins.
- Fangs Are Evil: Possesses quite a pair of chompers, like Redcloak and other goblinoids.
- It Is Not Your Time: Jirix is sent back from the afterlife by the goblinoid god, The Dark One, because he has more work for the hobgoblin in the mortal realm.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Happened twice already. Jirix: Trust me, we're a LOT safer staying right— *POW!*
Jirix: XYKO— *splurnkth!*
- Then, roughly 200 strips later...
- Mauve Shirt: One of only two properly named Hobgoblins (as in, not named something like Hogoblin Cleric #2), and one of the few ones with significance. Also one of the few still-living members of Team Evil outside of the main three and the roaches.
- Mook Lieutenant: Technically a Mook Prime Minister, he acts as the leader of the hobgoblins (and later, of Gobbotopia) after Redcloak.
- Number Two: To Redcloak, another Number Three.
- Pointy Ears: As with all hobgoblins.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Literally, with Redcloak.
- Punch Clock Villain: Although a member of Team Evil, he is not shown to be particularly malicious, although at one point he decides to step on a demon cockroach.
- Scary Teeth: But he hasn't made scary faces.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Jirix steps on one of the Demon-roaches once Xykon, Redcloak and the Monster teleport out of the city. It's probably to strengthen the goblins' hold over the city.
- Turn Undead: Like Redcloak above, he attempts using negative energy to turn the ghost-martyrs. However, being lower level it doesn't work since he can't overcome the consecration of the throne room.
- Villainous Friendship: He and Redcloak genuinely respect each other, and he is seen taking bets on O-chul's battle with a shark.
- The Watson: Jirix serves largely for Redcloak's exposition on things he would not be able to talk about to the other members of Team Evil.
The Booted Wight
The Booted Wight
"...Can I have his shoes?"
Race: Wight (formerly human or goblinoid)Tsukiko's sidekick and the face of her undead army.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Alignment: Lawful Evil
- Infant Immortality: Probably the reason it was kept "alive" was because it has the personality of a child (and was only four weeks old when it was first introduced). Until Redcloak orders it and Tsukiko's other wights to self-destruct after killing and eating her.
- Irony: Tsukiko gives a speech to her newly dominated paladin about having to walk a mile in her undead's shoes. Instead it takes the paladin's shoes and puts them on.
- Killed Off for Real: Redcloack orders him and the other Wights to kill themselves after eating Tsukiko and each other with the last one burning his body in the fireplace.
- Level Drain: By touch.
- Literal-Minded: Why it's wearing shoes in the first place — from not understanding Tsukiko's metaphor.
- Mook Promotion: He ended up becoming slightly more prominent than his non-booted friends after taking Thanh's footwear.
- No Name Given: Worth noting, it has the most appearances out of all unnamed characters.
- Person with the Clothing: It took the dominatedgag Thanh's shoes, hence the name.
- Turned Against Their Masters: More specifically, against its mistress — not on his own volition, but under Redcloak's control.
- The Undead: A wight.
- Uniformity Exception: Stands out from his fellow Wights by having boots.
- Zombie Mook: Created by Tsukiko to fight her battles.
"You know what your problem is, Big Brother? You never seize the moment."
Race: GoblinRedcloak's younger brother and, for the lack of a better term, conscience. While Right-Eye only appears in the Start of Darkness prequel and doesn't survive to be in the main story, he's one of the original founders of Team Evil and very important to Redcloak's backstory.
Alignment: Neutral Evil initially
Alignment: Neutral Evil initially
- Anti-Villain: More so than his brother because he's more focused on living a happy domestic life, focused more on bringing his people up to the level of the humans, rather than tearing humans down. So he doesn't approve of The Plan, at least later on. Soon before his death, he gives a brutal deconstruction of The Plan to Redcloak's face, calling it spite and pettiness from two beings who are too focused on revenge to know and do what is truly best for the goblin people. And judging by how many goblins Redcloak has caused the deaths of, he may have been right.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Redcloak says he can't let Right-Eye gamble with the lives of so many goblins in a gambit to kill Xykon. Right-Eye just asks, why doesn't Redcloak help? This reveals Redcloak's true motivation for not wanting to kill Xykon — not out of fearing for the lives of his fellow goblins, but out of an unwillingness to admit how he screwed up and got goblins killed by his deal with Xykon.
- Armor-Piercing Response: His reply to Redcloak's query about whether he'd considered himself responsible for their sister's death.
- An Axe to Grind: His favorite weapon is the axe. As he himself states, when they were young and their mother distributed chores, he always picked chopping wood. And then he demonstrates on a treant.
- Badass Pacifist: The amount of achievements he accomplished without violence eclipses his violent ones, and arguably those of Redcloak as well. Redcloak is at least a 17th level cleric, but Right-Eye managed to create a huge goblin settlement peacefully coexisting with humans, without the help of Xykon or a hobgoblin army. Also, unlike Redcloak, he never threw lives away, or constantly endangered his species.
- The Brute: Complicated case. Before Xykon, he was more or less equal with his brother. After Xykon's lichification, he was pushed into the "evil strongman" role because he didn't have Redcloak's intelligence.
- Calling the Old Man Out: A variant, when Right-Eye lashes out at his older brother, who has been the oldest family member in his life. Overlaps with Armor-Piercing Question.Redcloak The risk to all of us is too great if you fail.
Right-Eye Shouldn't you make sure I don't fail, then?
Redcloak I'm sorry, I can't let you gamble with the lives of so many goblins.
Right-Eye: I can't believe you! You hypocrite! All you care about is your stupid Plan!
Redcloak My Plan is for the betterment of the goblin people!
Right-Eye You don't even know the goblin people. You think this is what they want? To be ruled by an insane lich? To be killed by poor planning, or mood swings? ... You don't even know what you're trying to better, because you don't know what it's like to not serve an undead overlord, or a petty spiteful god.
- Character Development: Spells this out for Redcloak, who he thinks needs some in spades:Right-Eye: Life is about growing — growing older, growing wiser, growing closer to your loved ones. But you, you're frozen in time. You're still the same angry kid who took that artifact off of your master's corpse that day.
- Defector from Decadence: He abandons Team Evil because he feels it has sunken into For the Evulz depravity and lost touch with the original goal of bettering the goblins. He has a very good point.
- Dying Declaration of Hate: Delivered an unusually subtle and downplayed example to his brother as he lay dying. He considers the title of "Redcloak" to be demeaning, essentially a slave name. So when the final exchange between the brothers, is Redcloak saying "Goodbye, brother." and Right-Eye responding with "Goodbye... Redcloak..." there's a definite Stealth Insult in his final words. And Redcloak may not have even noticed because he was so used to being called Redcloak at that point.
- Eyepatch of Power: He lost an eye during the paladin attack that wiped out their village, and has always worn an eyepatch since then.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: He tried to be a family man but Xykon vetoed that and made him be an evil minion again. And when it looked like he was going to kill Xykon, Redcloak vetoed that too.
- Famous Last Words: "Goodbye... Redcloak."
- Fatal Flaw: His impulsiveness, according to Redcloak. From what we see of him during the comic, it usually (with one very, very, VERY big exception) works out for the better for him. Ironically, the first well-formulated plan we see him make kills him, although it was no fault of his own. Of course, since this is Redcloak we're talking about...
- Foil: Could be seen as this to Redcloak. Redcloak is a caster, Right-Eye is a melee fighter. Redcloak is a planner, Right-Eye is impulsive. Right-Eye was the Token Good Teammate, while Redcloak is well intentioned, but still Evil. Right-Eye lived roughly 50 years, the average goblin's lifespan, and Redcloak is eternally a teenager due to the Crimson Mantle. Right-Eye died trying to kill Xykon, and Redcloak works with him, at least, for now...
- Genius Bruiser: In his later years he develops a tactical mindset to complement his muscles. Justified because growing older gives you mental ability score bonuses in D&D.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: He was the one who suggested allying with Xykon in the first place, although to his credit he realized what a bad idea it was much sooner than Redcloak.
- I Have No Son: Rather, I Have no Brother — Right-Eye's last words aren't a sad farewell to his brother or anything like that. It's his rejection that Redcloak is his brother at all by calling him "Redcloak" where previously he always called him "brother".
- In the Hood: To meet with Eugene and hide his identity.
- Killed Off for Real: When Redcloak killed him, he planned on burying him. Thus, the only person with any motive to revive him is not interested. Since his body was reanimated for a guard in Dorukan's Dungeon, it was probably destroyed when the gate exploded. Although, you don't see any zombie with a broken arm, or any other distinctions, so who knows, maybe Redcloak ended up burying him after all. The point is, he's dead and staying dead.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Unlike Redcloak. Especially noticeable with his refusal to keep investing in Xykon, even though he suggested allying with Xykon in the first place.
- The Morality/Mortality Equation: He's ultimately the victim of this. Redcloak can't die because it's a prequel, so his brother ends up paying for their evilness instead. Only Right-Eye isn't evil, so he ended up dying due to someone else's evil.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Just like Redcloak, his real name is never revealed.
- Pointy Ears: As with all goblinoids.
- Posthumous Character: He's dead by the main narrative.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Plays the role of the impulsive, emotional red oni to his brother's blue.
- Scary Teeth: The ridiculous amount of sharp things in his mouth; shown off when angry.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Pulled it on The Plan, and by extension Redcloak and Xykon. It worked for eighteen years too, and he was successful enough to create a peaceful goblin settlement that lived alongside humans, until Xykon stumbled across him by accident and enslaved him and his entire village.
- Token Good Teammate: To Team Evil. While it isn't quite crossing the Moral Event Horizon, his death marks a major Ignored Epiphany for Redcloak.
- Walking Spoiler: For a prequel comic, Right-Eye reveals a massive amount about Redcloak and Xykon's agendas, Team Evil's relationship with "The Thing in the Box," as well as a possible Chekhov's Gun in his smuggled daughter.
Race: BugbearA female bugbear whose tribe lives next to Kraagor's Tomb. They either tame the monsters in the dungeon or harvest them for useful materials, and also enjoy protection from other humanoids thanks to its existence driving them away. She is hosting Redcloak and Xykon, theoretically because her tribe is part of the Dark One's congregation, but mostly because she wants the Tomb to remain well-stocked with useful monsters after they're done.
Class: Unknown (probably Ranger)
Alignment: Unknown (probably Chaotic Evil)
Class: Unknown (probably Ranger)
Alignment: Unknown (probably Chaotic Evil)
- Action Girl: Oona prefers action to preparation.Oona: Time for doing! Less talky-talking with Dark One!
Redcloak: [communing] It's not really "talking," per se. More of a nonverbal spiritual link.
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Does this to Redcloak of all people, which catches him by surprise.
- Alien Lunch: Her definition of someone's wildest dreams hinge on the dreams she had when she fell asleep after eating a kebab made from a Remorhaz.
- Affably Evil: Oona may or may not be evil, but she sure is friendly.
- The Beastmaster: A self-described "beastmistress," with at least two animal companions.
- Book Dumb: Despite her limited vocabulary and unfamiliarity with clerical tradition, she has a very clear-eyed and practical view of what is actually going on with Team Evil.
- Bullying a Dragon: Played for Laughs; she bugs Redcloak to hurry up with his communing. He's only mildly annoyed, however.
- Cool Mask: With antlers. Made from the hide of a cold-resistant beast, and thus protect her from the frigid winds of her arctic habitat. In her own words, "stylish, yet functional!"
- Dumb Muscle: Her mind is mostly focused on hunting and taming monsters. She doesn't understand that the Monster in the Darkness is more a servant than a beast for Xykon, or how clerics work, and she pets Redcloack the same way she pets her beasts.
- Fluffy Tamer: Has at least two extremely dangerous magical beasts perfectly trained. The 2016 Order of the Stick Monster Calendar features her playing with a gigantic remorhaz using a cat teaser.
- Item Farming: Oona's clan does this with the denizens of Monster Hollow. The only reason they are able to survive in the ice (where they are safe from Dwarf patrols) is because the monsters in the hollow respawn after a certain amount of time, allowing them to hunt them for meat and clothing over and over again.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Expresses huge admiration for whatever the Monster in the Darkness is, and offers to "adopt" it should the rest of Team Evil die.
- Literal-Minded: Oona persists in calling Kraagor's Tomb "Monster Hollow". That's also how she refers to people, like Redcloack being bald man in a red cape.Oona: Do not know Kraagor. Is hollow, has monsters. Is Monster Hollow.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: She may be friends with her animal companions, but she does not see these friendships as relationships between equals, and instead as binding partnerships of servitude between parties, with the stronger partner looking after the weaker in exchange for the weaker's service.
- Nay-Theist: Considers the Dark One only a so-so deity that isn't good for much in her culture, other than for funerals and weddings.
- Pet the Dog: After O-Chul and Lien fake their deaths, she returns home and pulls out the bolt that Lien hit her mount with, petting it as she does so, and proceeds to pet her worg (a wolf-like mount) upon arriving. Later, it turns out she has become a close friend of the Monster in the Darkness, and attacked the paladins primarily to try to feed them to it after misinterpreting its relationship with O-Chul.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Casually calls out Redcloak and the Dark One for caring mostly about goblins and hobgoblins but leaving out bugbears and other less-common goblinoid species like norkers and nilbogs.
- You No Take Candle: She speaks with somewhat odd grammar and choice of vocabulary (e.g. referring to Xykon as "Bone man with shiny hat"), but expresses complex and/or philosophical thoughts on politics between goblinoid races and her intention to keep Monster Hollow's population sustainable for her settlement.