Nightmare Fuel / The Order of the Stick

Don't let the simple art-style fool you. The Order of the Stick has many a terrifying moment.

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    Start of Darkness 
  • On the VERY FIRST PAGE, we see Xykon as a little boy crying over his dead dog, and accidentally bringing it back to life with his necromancy. It then proceeds to kill a bird and visibly eat its brains. That's just the first page. Even worse: Five-year-old Xykon's reaction is gleeful excitement and a desire to find it some more brains.
  • A couple of pages later, Xykon's a teenager. He snuffs out a man's life on a impulse and just because he was condescending about Xykon due to the teen's being a sorcerer. Then he takes his first two zombies, ready to begin a career in evil... which he starts by gleefully watching as they eat his parents alive.
  • Xykon's transformation into a lich causes his face skin to crack and decay until he eventually rips off his flesh on panel. Worse yet, his flesh decayed so much that he ripped it off like styrofoam.
  • Xykon's reaction when he discovers that the undead can't taste anything.
  • Xykon's plan to lure Dorukan out of his castle by having his zombies eat Lirian's undead corpse. While her soul watches, causing the image to be burned into her consciousness for eternity. Thankfully, things turn out relatively for the better.
    Xykon: I mean, that's just not the sort of thing you're EVER gonna forget seeing, especially when your spirit is trapped with nothing else to think about... Could drive a soul crazy.
  • If the Dark One and Redcloak are telling the truth, the state of the world and the existence of "monster-races". "Your life holds no value and you can be killed on a whim. That is how it's supposed to be and how the Gods made you."
    Dungeon Crawlin' Fools 
  • A small one, but the second-to-last panel of strip 40. Poor villagers
  • One of the bonus strips from the book has the Order looking for Xykon's throne room. They keep opening doors marked "Xykon's Throne Room", with results varying from snakes jumping out and arrows firing. However, one of the fake doors was actually animated, grew arms and legs and started attacking Haley. Another one contained something so terrible that Belkar immediately closed it. The only thing seen of it are the dozens of arms and hands trying to claw their way out of it.
    No Cure for the Paladin Blues 
  • The Snarl unmade a world and killed a pantheon of gods in the first twenty-seven minutes of its life. If it kills you, that's it — you can't even get resurrected. It exists to kill. And it's right below the feet of everyone on the planet, four of its five seals are broken with almost no way to fix them, and there is a very good chance that it will get released and destroy everything if the heroes lose — as in, it's practically guaranteed.
    Don't Split the Party 
  • The rift above Azure City was the smallest (according to the Giant, the size of a raisin-ish). If it's grown that much in a few months' time, what's happened to the other, larger, rifts?
  • Vaarsuvius entering into a triple Soul Splice to save his famil. Taken even further when Vaarsuvius casts the Familicide spell on the dragon that threatens his/her family.
    Blood Runs in the Family 
  • In-Universe, the infamous "ELAN" scene.
  • The Implosion strip was enough for several GITP forum-goers to question the PG-13 rating of the comic.
    • That rating was questionable a while before that, when Mr Scruffy disemboweled a commoner.
  • Tsukiko is a cute girl, who loves her undead minions like they're her children... But that couldn't last. When she says to Redcloak that she's going to reveal his big secret, Redcloak turns her undead creatures against her (the effect we saw him use when entering his room that looked like he was preparing his spells? Command Undead). He then orders said creatures to drain her (levels and Hit Points) to death, and to devour her corpse, which they do (offpanel thankfully, but it's quite unsettling). What we do see is pretty creepy in its own right: Redcloak calmly watching, as Tsukiko begs for her wights to let her go, saying she loves them and finally showing she at least realizes (if not understand) that they didn't love her back.
    crunch. crunch crunch crunch~~
    • The fact that in the same scene Redcloak also orders the wights to eat each other, in order of creation, then the last one set itself on fire (in the fireplace, please) mixes a particularly gruesome level of organized, remorseless evil with a dose of And I Must Scream.
  • V's acceptance of the Soul Splice, subsequent evil actions, then the revelation that the soul splice had no effect on V's morality, merely his/her power, and that was what V really wanted to do.
  • The last panel of page 841. And it gets worse. The last panel of page 842 reveals that Vaarsuvius had killed them via Familicide...and the very next strip, it's revealed the effects were even more far-reaching than that. V is rightly horrified by the implications.
  • The revelation of Malack's true nature here, specifically the last panel, in which he attempts to "turn" Belkar- because Malack is a lizard vampire and Belkar has an overly large head/no visible neck, the turning involves messily biting down on Belkar's head! It doesn't help that Belkar is completely immobilized at the time by Malack's spell. And during the whole page, he's completely calm and thoughtful throughout — which just makes it worse.
  • Malack's plans for the Empire after his companions bite the dust. He plans to sacrifice 1000 citizens to his god on a daily basis. His idea of using special chambers to make the process more orderly isn't exactly pleasant either. And while he's explaining this, he's still as calm and thoughtful as ever.
  • Malack killing Durkon by draining all of his blood. And because that wasn't enough, he then had to go and turn him into a fellow vampire.
  • While the Order waits behind an illusion so they won't be discovered, knowing they could be at any moment and making sure to keep quiet and things are very tense, a little figure appears to Haley, who looks horrified. The you realize it's a magical message... and now Haley knows the Resistance has fallen.
    • Speaking of the Resistance falling... that is the scene where the aforementioned Implosion is brought out against some of its members. But even before any spells were visibly cast, there was the shocker of half the Resistance already being slain, with their corpses hung by their feet around the walls of the chamber.
  • Strip #900. Before we even see the goblin himself, Redcloak hits Roy with a serious blast.
    • Redcloak is just getting scarier and scarier. After several hundred pages of playing civil leader in Gobbotopia, Redcloak has gotten dangerous with the loss of his eye. Brutally crushing the resistance with both fiends and an Osmium elemental, murdering Tsukiko, and summoning a silicon elemental to wipe out the Order.
  • Everything about Malack's demise, particularly Nale's claim that he murdered Malack's children as a practice run.
    • Malack dies by being burned alive by the sun's rays, screaming to Nergal to save him from his true, final death. Whoa.
  • Nale may have deserved to die, but it's pretty frightening when Tarquin sticks a knife in his own son practically out of nowhere, annoyed and frustrated at his rejection of everything he'd been offered.
    • Maybe it's because of the art style, but the way Tarquin just looks down at the corpse of his own son that he just murdered without any real emotion...brrr.
      • The above is compounded by the fact that, even as bad as Tarquin's been up to that point, he's been nothing if not affectionate toward his children (if in his own, twisted way). The panel right before Nale's death is drawn in such a manner that it looks like he could be patting his son on the shoulder. Seeing that he's instead stuck a dagger in Nale's chest can come as a bit of a nasty shock.
      • Tarquin makes it deadly clear that his affection toward Elan extends as far as Elan is willing to play along with his plot. Nothing more. And on top of that, he only thinks people serve to play in a very specific story, with himself at its center... Tarquin is clearly not right in the head and he's in control of an entire nation. Yeah.
      • Tarquin's own teammates admit they see helping with his narrative-based plans for his sons as enabling and refuse to do it. Even they think something's wrong there.
      • Strip #927 has Tarquin looking furious as Elan continues to play support. This could be very, very bad...
      • Two strips later, he stabs through Elan to kill Roy, and he does so nonchalantly because Elan is at full hitpoints and so he knows Elan will survive being stabbed.
      • And then in the strip after that. Quite aside from everything else, it's the same Insane Troll Logic that real domestic abuse comes with.
    Elan: Didn't we... already do the scene... where you try to convince me to do things your way?"
  • The shot of the whole Order on the verge of death from Tarquin and Laurin's attacks. Durkon is burning in the sunlight, Haley is nearly unconscious, Belkar is still lacking blood, Roy and Elan have both been run through, and, worst of all, V is being strangled by a levitated whip. As Tarquin says, it's utter chaos. No theme, just pain.
  • Durkon's vampire hijacker gets serious.
  • Tarquin vowing to Elan that he will kill Haley and everyone he loves (and cut off his right hand), so that Elan will finally stick to Tarquin's narrative. By this point, it's safe to say Tarquin has lost it. To make it even more disturbing, the complete calm and the angle of the shot makes him look even more like a spitting image of Elan himself when he started out, showing a side of Tarquin that is not unlike the Manchild his son sometimes is, in the most horrific possible way.
    • And then the next panel has him descend into full blown psychotic fury.
    • Tarquin breaking Haley's arm is also pretty horrific, and her reaction is heartbreaking.
    • It certainly doesn't help that he uses the old "You forced me to do this" justification. That's never a sign of someone who is, how do you say, sane.
    • And on top of all that, just the sheer horror of realizing that there isn't any way to escape. The Order can't hide or run away, because Tarquin isn't going to give up, and he can follow them wherever they go. He will absolutely will not stop, ever, until he has accomplished his lunatic goals or he is destroyed.
    • It's pretty chilling in itself realizing that while Tarquin is scarily invested, to Laurin this is Just Business to get something from Tarquin.
  • While it's also awesome, it's pretty creepy to see Elan just admitting that he won't pull Tarquin up because Tarquin can survive the massive fall that awaits him. Elan's not usually that coldly practical.
  • The Snarl's tentacle beginning to break through Girard's Gate. It's so enormous that its nature is readily evident, and really steals the scene with pure Oh, Crap!.
    • Looking closely at Laurin's eyes as she is looking into the Snarl's prison, there is a horrific shot where its tentacles can be seen inside her eyes, showing just how much Mind Rape she is undergoing.
    • Also, if you look closely, you can see that one of the white-clad soldiers has been impaled by the Snarl's tentacle. Normally, you wouldn't bat an eye. Nameless mooks die all the time and are sent to some sort of afterlife. Then you remember that this is the Snarl. That mook isn't just dead, he's gone.
  • Durkon is trapped inside his mind while the new vampiric personality that has taken over is just pretending to be him, and is tricking the whole order while serving Hel. He's now going to destroy the dwarven homelands when he gets back so Hel can get revenge on Thor. So Belkar was right and it's not really Durkon anymore after all. Also hurts chillingly because it negates all the heartwarming moments Durkon has had since being freed of the thrall effect, it was all the vampire acting to keep on Roy's good side.
    Current Storyline 
  • Crystal is back from the dead. Let's just say that she's seen better days.
    • Even worse? Haley notes she left Crystal in a state that would have merely required a Raise Dead spell, which costs maybe seven grand. Turning Crystal into what she is now would have been much more expensive when Bozzok simply could have rezzed her and spent the rest on items to ensure Haley's demise. She was brought back like this on purpose.
      • This also means that Bozzok squandered the money that was meant to raise the other dead members of the Thieves Guild on creating this grotesque abomination for his own petty revenge.
    • And then, when Crystal confronts Bozzok, she kills him relatively quickly...but then continues beating his corpse, screaming that she hates him. And in the next panel, as Haley waits silently outside the house, Crystal is still screaming as she bludgeons him. Again and again and again.
  • The High Priest of Hel at the Godsmoot. He has drained one dwarf's blood, is about to do it to another, and thrown the only person who knows what's going on, Belkar, down a chasm. Not even Belkar's anti-evil brooch slowed him down for long. And the kicker? Feeding on the dwarves is useless to his plan, he just does it because he wants to. Just a reminder that undead evil alignment is not there for show
  • The Godsmoot itself. The very first proclamation made is whether or not to ask the gods to destroy the world, likely due to the influence of the Snarl. The idea that all of the gods, even the nominally Good ones, would be willing to destroy the world just to contain the Snarl is chilling.
    • The first statement has Heimdall, a Good God, being for the destruction of the world. To top it all both Gods don't even dare calling the Snarl by name, that's how frightening the Snarl is.
    • Even worse, the Snarl, as far as anyone knows, is just that bad that Heimdall's point about at least saving the souls of the current world's people instead of risking the Snarl doing even worse is actually a valid one.
    • Some of the Gods' speeches are awesome or heartwarming... but others are willing to vote for the world's destruction for trivial reasons such as wanting to try out a new coastline.
    • Roy's summation of the proceedings is itself frightening - based on their arguments, it's abundantly clear that when the chips are down, many of the gods are only thinking about their own wellbeing. Every follower is expendable.
  • Hel's plan is revealed: If the gods unmake the world, their followers' souls go to the afterlife. And as it would not be an honorable death, Hel would get the souls of every dwarf currently in existence (noted to be about ten million). This means when the pantheons are rebuilt with the world, she would be the most powerful god in the Norse pantheon and therefore be its ruler in the new world. She therefore not only votes yes for a tie, but has apparently already secured the votes of the demigods who will be the tiebreakers. The only thing that could stand in her way is if Roy kills vampire-Durkon before that vote happens.
  • The High Priest of Hel turned Exarch Gontor Hammerfell of the Creed of the Stone into a vampire, and his backup plan in case the Godsmoot plot fails involves Hammerfell infiltrating the Mechane with his mist form, the ship's crew completely unaware save for the animal companions.
  • And the High Priest of Hel has a backup plan for his backup plan: Hammerfell snuck onto the Mechane to steal the Order's Teleport Orb so they can teleport to the Dwarven Lands and manipulate the tiebreaker so that Hel gets what she wants. And they've also got a squadron of vampires ready to stop anyone who tries to stop them.
  • Grayview the worg of Episode 1037 can cause a mild existential crisis when he remarks that everyone and everything dies, and in the end, the only certainty in life is that, at death, there will not have been enough treats.
  • The fact that Kraagor's Tomb apparently has monsters so strong that they can give a team that includes a near epic level Cleric and an epic level Lich trouble is actually quite scary once you think about it.
  • Mr. Scruffy contracted the deadly Sphinx Pox during the Order's desert adventures, which involves spouting riddles and eventually the victim's brains bleeding out until they die. Hel uses her powers to infect the entire crew and passengers of the Mechane (possibly averted given the incubation period is five weeks and it is not made clear if the virus is one that is contagious while incubating or if the crew simply have five weeks before showing symptoms).
  • Durkon said he would be learning how to cast the Protection from Sunlight spell from Malack's staff. But we never got to see which spell he actually learned... Which Haley pointed out, if Hel's evil plan hinges on invading a subterranean nation, surely the sunlight would not be as big as an issue. The implication being, what he learned was how to instantly complete the Vampirization process instead of the usual 3 days. Cue the dead dwarves rising in the background.