The Order Of The Stick / Tropes V to Z
aka: Tropes V-Z

Tropes A to C | Tropes D to F | Tropes G to I | Tropes J to L | Tropes M to O | Tropes P to R | Tropes S to U | Tropes V to Z

The Order of the Stick provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Vancian Magic: Magic in the world of OotS, naturally, follows official D&D rules... though how consistent these are is a matter of opinion. Indeed, even this is lampshaded with occasional references to "third-party supplements" and "non-core spells".
    Leeky Windstaff: Truly, more wizards have been laid low by the writings of Jack Vance than by any single villain.
  • Vegetarian Vampire:
    • Downplayed. Malack feeds on the runoff from all the executed prisoners, but not only are they in an All Crimes Are Equal state, but he's got no qualms against eating non-condemned people, aside from the problems involved in revealing his true nature to people, which would be disadvantageous. The excessive runoff is simply more than what he needs to survive comfortably.
    • After Durkon becomes a vampire, the party decides that Durkon can feed off of them, then use his Restoration spell to undo the damage.
      Elan: We can get stickers saying we donated, and drink orange juice after!
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Subverted. Haley realizes that no matter how much stronger she gets, her personal rival will always get just as powerful offscreen. Later on, said rival argues against her boss who just wants to kill her, because she'd like to gain a few more levels for free.
    Crystal: [playing poker] Sweet! Starshine gained a level!
    Jenny: I really need to pick a fight with a PC one of these days...
  • Villain Pedigree: From goblins to hobgoblins as Xykon's primary Mooks.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Tarquin begins to suffer one after the destruction of Girard's Gate, becoming increasingly frustrated at the realisation that Elan is not the primary hero of the story — and therefore, he is not the primary villain. Suddenly his carefully calculated Pragmatic Villainy devolves into an attempt to destroy the "superfluous" members of the Order at all costs, hoping to set Elan off on a revenge quest.
  • Villainous Friendship: Seems to be the case among the members of the Vector Legion—Tarquin refers to Malack as his "best friend" and Laurin is noticeably upset upon learning that Nale killed Malack.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Xykon's caught doing this multiple times. And inverted when Nale and Sabine dwell on what a terrible responsibility the heroes are under — cut to them playing Parcheesi.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Provides the page image. When the Banjo-worshiping orc tribe prepares to sacrifice Lien, she tells them that if they're looking to make a virgin sacrifice, they'd have to travel back in time to before her Junior Prom.
    Shaman Vurkle: no, banjo like girl with some experience.
    Chief Grukgruk: better if been around block few times.
    Lien: Damn it, how does my mother keep being right about this stuff?
  • Visible Silence: Plenty often, like in "It's Not a Gaming Session Until Someone Quotes Monty Python" or "O-Chul's Razor".
    Nale: And finally, our team wizard, Zz'dtri.
    Zz'dtri: ...
    Nale: He doesn't speak much.
  • Visual Pun:
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Roy & Elan
    • Roy & Julia are Vitriolic Siblings.
    • V & Belkar, as seen for example in "Free Experience".
  • Voiceover Letter: Julio Scoundrél's farewell letter to Elan implies that's he's already left, causing Elan to lament that he didn't get to say goodbye. This, despite the fact that the guy is clearly standing directly behind him and had been reading the letter out through a tin can.
  • Volleying Insults: Julia and Roy having a friendly brother-sister spat.
    Roy: Why you little spoiled child—
    Julia: Hero complex.
    Roy: Attention seeker.
    Julia: Martyr.
    Roy: Brat.
    Julia: Jackass!
    Roy: Bitch!
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • Roy getting airsick while Xykon's dragon steed is doing "evasive maneuvers".
    • Belkar gets a good few dozen of these after breaking the terms of his Mark of Justice.
  • Vomiting Cop: The rookie cop in Cliffport. Understandable, since he just walked in on a serial killers massacre (secretly commited by Thog).

  • Waking Non Sequitur:
    • Elan, after being stabbed by Nale and healed by Belkar from the brink of death, mumbles "Mommy... I don't wanna go to school today..."
    • When Redcloak hits Hinjo with a Disintegrate spell, it's enough to knock him out but not kill him. When he's healed, he wakes up mumbling, "I'm sorry, Uncle, I'll never take a drink from your private stash again..." Probably related to the fact that his uncle Shojo apparently has a taste for Dwarven brandy. Which happens to double as a high explosive.
    • Blackwing, after being hit by a trap, wakes up in "The Pit of Despair".note 
      Blackwing: I'll be back for supper, Ma... Me an' 23 friends are gonna see if we fit into a pie...
    • Haley, shortly after being stunned by a psychic attack.
      Haley: What is the... Where? The whuh?
      Roy: The answer to your question fragment is: Time to get the hell out of here.
  • Wall of Blather: Vaarsuvius blathering to a dozen of goblins about the power of magic in "Like Enthrall, Only Boring", putting them to sleep... without even using a spell.
  • Wall of Text: Compare the first comics to the later ones. Also gets lampshaded and driven to extremes.
  • "Wanted!" Poster:
    • Haley has one of these as a resume, as seen in the prequel book.
    • "Nale" — WANTED FOR MURDER, CONSPIRACY, TREASON by Empress of Blood
    • Ian Starshine gets his own when framed for Gourntonk's murder by Tarquin.
  • War Is Hell: Well said, O-Chul.
    O-Chul: This isnt the dungeon. In a war, people on the winning side still die. You might want to consider taking it somewhat seriously.
  • Watch Where You're Going!: In "When Plotlines Collide!", Roy and Haley smash into each other while fleeing, respectively, from a trio of ogres and a group of goblin ninjas.
  • The Watson:
    • All of Redcloak's disposable hobgoblin assistants.
    • The Monster in the Darkness, quite frequently, although he doesn't understand much of the explanations.
    • Qarr for the IFCC.
  • Weapon Jr.: A young Roy had a toy mockup of his family's ancestral sword, as seen in a flashback when the real one is broken.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Played straight. After the hobgoblins under Xykon overrun Azure City, three resistance groups spring up. Haley leads one, but isn't working with the others, because, as she explains:
    Haley: One group believes it was the evil influence of the Order of the Stick that corrupted their righteous leader, Hinjo, and led to his ruin in battle. The other group thinks that Hinjo orchestrated Shojo's assassination personally, and that anyone who worked too closely with him can't be trusted. Neither group is therefore at all keen on the idea of working with me. We've spent more time fighting them over supplies than we have battling hobgoblins.
  • Weasel Mascot: Averted.
    "Hors d'oeuvre": Can I be your familiar?
    Miko: No.
    "Hors d'oeuvre": C'mon, it will be fun. You'll be Mysterious Cloaked Avenger, and I can be your wisecracking sidekick.
    Miko: No.
  • We Have Forgotten the Phlebotinum: In "Because They Got Lonely in the Bag", Elan sends his and Roy's magic items to be cleaned.
  • We Have Reserves: Redcloak feels this way about his hobgoblin army, up until he realizes My God, What Have I Done?.
  • Weird Moon: "Monkey Do" has an impossible crescent moon. [The Giant] WENT TO ART SCHOOL, OK?
  • Weird Sun: In "Dropping the Ball", the sun appears bigger as we zoom in on the Linear Guild. That's impossible for a celestial object.
  • Weird Trade Union: The Slavedriver Union Local 934, apparently in the middle of a labor dispute over the construction of the Empress of Blood's lavish palace.
    Plackard: We'll Do Even Less Work Than Before!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
  • Went to the Great X in the Sky: In "A Blissful Marriage", the wife of a dirt farmer, when reunited with him, states that she was afraid that he had gone to the "Great Dirt Pile in the Sky".
  • We Were Your Team: When Roy was unavailable to lead the Order for several months due to being dead, not only was the party split for unrelated reasons, but the half of the party that was not actively working on getting Roy resurrected spent their time dithering around doing sidequests and was already breaking apart by the time Roy returned to the field.
  • Wham Episode: Enough of them to have their own page.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Roy is talking to his grandfather.
      Horace Greenhilt: Roy... You've been dead for three and a half months.
    • When Tarquin reveals the grand history of old names for the Empire of Blood:
      Tarquin: ... Tyrinaria...
    • The elf ambassador introduced as Polozius suddenly attacking Haley.
    Elan: You?!? Why? Are you working for my brother??
    Zz'dtri: [transforms back to his normal drow skin] Never stopped.
    • Malack fighting Belkar.
      Malack: [speaking in the undead black text bubble] Perhaps I SHOULD make more children.
    • Roy announcing his plan for Girard's gate.
      Roy: I'm going to destroy it.
    • The IFCC observing V trying to alert the rest of the Order from below the gate chamber.
      Cedrik: Now.
    • And again in this arc, Tarquin after realizing that Elan is perfectly content following Roy and playing the supprt role.
      Tarquin: Kill the ones in the crater
    • The High Priestess of Odin convening the Godsmoot and opening a binding resolution:
      High Priestess: The statement upon which we shall convey our patron's Yea or Nay is as follows: Whether or not, at the conclusion of this binding referendum, the gods of the three pantheons should immediately thereupon destroy the world.
    • Haley does some spitballing about the spell Vampire Durkon was actually trying to learn, if not "Protection from Sunlight".
      Haley: I'm just saying, if I knew my Evil Doom Plan might hinge on invading a subterranean country, I might not worry too much... [the corpses in the tunnel begin to rise, pale and red-eyed] about the sun.
  • Wham Shot:
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Meatloaf seems to be Serious Business in Azure City.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • In "Unexpected", Elan celebrates when the Allosaurus eats the anonymous soldiers instead of two Jerkass bounty hunters. "Hooray! The people whose names I know are saved!" Tarquin is the only person who seems to object to their deaths, because mooks "don't grow on trees, you know."
    • Crossing over with What Measure Is a Non-Human?, the Dark One's entire scheme is built on the fact that the gods explicitly created the entire goblin species to serve as XP fodder for clerics. He and Redcloak are less than happy with this arrangement.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Deliberately invoked in-universe. The Gods created the Always Chaotic Evil races to serve as XP-fodder for human (and humanoid) heroes, so it would be possible for their clerics to reach high levels. Unfortunately, they didn't actually make all those species, such as goblins, orcs, etc., Evil, it's just a cultural rule of thumb. As a result, the humanoid species have been conditioned to slaughter them at any opportunity, and the Evil races have been conditioned to hate humanoids, even when it doesn't make any sense. This has led to some very understandable resentment on their part, at least from the Evil characters who are high enough level to know what's really going on.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...:
    • The wizard Vaarsuvius initially prefers arcane magic as the ultimate solution to everything — redundant subplots, villains seeking to escape justice, giant devils from hell, or relationship problems. Vaarsuvius also originally has a blaster mentality — despite the wide range of spells available to wizards, V's preferred solution to anything is a proportionally sized explosion. V later briefly tries to remedy their attitude by limiting themself to support spells, but all bets are out the window once Elan gets involved. V is getting better about this, though; for example, in a recent thread where a rival caster had tailored his build to defeat Vaarsuvius, V eventually realized that brute force was not going to work in this case. V got around it by using a Dominate spell on the rival's archer ally. Thanks for the advice, Xykon!
    • Xykon is another interesting example, since he makes a huge point of this trope. Sorcerers like him are born with arcane power, as opposed to wizards, who, by his own words, have to study and crib it off of "Magic for Dummies". Mechanically, sorcerers have more spell slots and thus more blasting power but with a far more limited and static spell selection. Also, the best wizards tend to be brilliant thinkers and tacticians, while Xykon's most complicated strategies involve randomly blasting things until they die (though he sure loves to dish out the psychological manipulation). With a huge grudge towards wizards for looking down on him, Xykon makes a point of proving that he's so ridiculously powerful that he doesn't need strategy. According to him, all a caster needs is "force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide", because there's a level of raw power no amount of tactics can overcome. Xykon also subverts this because his interpretation of "power" is in no way limited to raw damage, and his maneuvering to make sure that he's always the most powerful guy in the room, while it ends with him blasting his enemy in the face with fire, usually begins with creative use of utility spells such as level drains and self-buffs and mechanical advantages like undead type immunities and racial bonuses. It's less that all he has is a hammer and more that in his hands, even the most innocuous flavor text becomes a hammer.
    • Elan, when all he can create as illusions are girls or puppies. Though he runs once into a situation where girls work quite well. Interestingly, in that situation puppies would probably have worked just as well.
    • Not surprisingly at all, it is also the case with Thor, for whom Lightning Can Do Anything. As Durkon notes, this makes "What Would Thor Do?" less relevant than it should be for his non-omnipotent worshipers.
    • When Elan is plummeting to the ground, Durkon saves him with the "Cleric's Feather Fall". That is, do nothing and let Elan smash into the ground at full speed, then heal away the falling damage.
  • White Sheep: The teenage goblins in Dorukan's dungeon. Except the one in the blue shirt who kidnaps Hayley and claims being Good was just "a Phase". And that Xykon promised to write a recommendation letter for a good Evil college.
  • Who Dares?: The huge greater devil summoned by Qarr on the island, after a mighty roar, starts bellowing "WHO DARES TO—", before identifying his summoner.
  • Who's on First?:
    • The first iteration hinges on the two definitions of level (the floor of a building vs the experience of a D&D character). It's worth noting that this exact example is invoked in no less a book than the 1st Edition D&D Player's Handbook.
    • "Who's on the Throne?" has the strangely named countries of Somewhere, Nowhere and Anywhere (and the democracy of Someplace Else). The confusion over the King of Somewhere with a hotel employee leads to Roy being mistaken for a king.
    • In "Negative Feelings", Xykon and Recloak have a little trouble discussing a paladin leader named Soon.
      Xykon: So, any ideas on how we should fight 'Stache boy, whoever he is?
      Redcloak: Soon.
      Xykon: I'd prefer to know now, thanks.
      Redcloak: No. I mean, that's his name.
    • Start of Darkness has an exchange between Redcloak and Right-Eye, with Redcloak talking about the werebears his goblins are fighting and Right-Eye wanting to know where the bears are.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Durkon's fear of trees.
    • While O-Chul says the line, he isn't actually afraid of sharks despite his captors repeatedly trying to feed him to them for their personal entertainment. Justified as he is a paladin, and therefore his class features render him immune to fear.
    • Thog is scared of pretty girls. Haley is offended to learn she doesn't count.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?:
    • During O-Chul's imprisonment in Xykon's tower, Redcloak interrogates O-Chul in front of several civilian prisoners he intends to throw from a tower if O-Chul doesn't cooperate. When O-Chul doesn't talk, he leaves, saying he's going to let them all stew in the knowledge that O-Chul didn't care enough about the people to talk before he comes back to do the actual torture. It backfires, though; the prisoners are instead impressed by O-Chul's resolve in not faltering in his duty even at the expense of his principles.
    • Later, when Gannji and Enor are imprisoned along with Roy and Belkar;
      Gannji: You! We wouldn't be here if you hadn't—
      Roy: —asked you an entirely reasonable question, to which you responded with violence?
      Gannji: Yes! Exactly! What were you thinking?
    • When Elan makes it clear he's not interested in General Tarquin's Archnemesis Dad narrative, Tarquin decides to railroad him into it by murdering his friends. He becomes increasingly unhinged as the Order refuses to die, and repeatedly insists that Elan has brought it all on himself.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Xykon in the Azure throne room.
    Xykon: Why won't you DIE AGAIN, you stupid friggin' ghost-things?!?
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Haley satisfies any guilt she might have felt for killing her former colleagues in the Thieves' Guild by reminding herself of their less salubrious personality traits. One of them is a wife-beater.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent:
    • Roy is forced into a Gender Bender once. Roy is bald, and in his own words, "The lesson here is, if the magic item doesn't specifically SAY it grows hair, it probably doesn't." So he gets forced into a literal Wig, Dress, Accent, minus accent 'cause it's a webcomic.
    • And then there's the time Vaarsuvius' raven familiar Blackwing disguises himself to buy materials from a store where they've been banned. Yes, the raven disguises himself. With a moustache.
  • Wingding Eyes:
  • Winged Humanoids: Celia, Sabine, Enor, and a few miscellaneous Celestials from time to time. Also Kilkil the kobold.
  • With Due Respect:
    • In "Learn to Play it Right", persuading Hinjo that he should leave, his city having already passed In Its Hour of Need, even though...
      Daigo: Sir, I know it isn't really my place to say, but...
    • The Bureaucratic Deva to Eugene in "Their Concierge Service is Heavenly".
      Bureaucratic Deva: With all due respect, sir, we have a system for deciding such things — One presided over by ACTUAL beings of pure Law and Good!
  • With Friends Like These...: Most of the characters to some extent, but Roy and Elan have a one-sided version of this going on.
  • Wizard Duel:
  • The Worf Effect:
    • As it turns out, none of Miko Miyazaki's attacks have any effect on the Monster In The Darkness, but his weakest attack is enough to send her flying.
    • This trope is discussed by Roy in the last panel of comic #736.
  • World Limited to the Plot: The comic lived by this trope until the foreshadowing at the end of book one (strip #120 in the online version). Only then, when the dungeon in which the entire plot has taken place is destroyed, do the plot and the dungeon turn out to have some relevance outside of itself. Of course, one can argue that it starts falling apart already when the heroes encounter the Linear Guild, or even when Roy's father is introduced.

    Later heavily deconstructed when it turns out that characters who aren't relevant enough to the plot to be named actually don't even have names... at least not until they become relevant to the plot.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech:
    • Recloak delivers a particularly memorable one to Tsukiko.
    • Roy makes one when he finally realizes that even if Vampire Durkon was ever Durkon, he's not now.
  • World of Snark
  • Worse with Context:
    Veldrina: Oh, don't mind the tiger. Little Whiskers wouldn't hurt a fly.
    Wrecan: On the plus side, that was more Giant Monstrous Fly experience points for the rest of us.
  • Worst Whatever, Ever!:
  • Worthy Opponent: Tarquin is very impressed by Roy's strategy and combat skills, and looks forward to fighting him. One of the reasons he joins the Linear Guild.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Referenced in "Mean Girl" while Haley is speculating all-too-wildly about why Roy is currently a girl (it's really just in disguise, albeit with a Belt of Gender-Changing).
    Roy: You know, technically, it's now OK for me to hit a girl.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Nale boasting to Tarquin about how he killed Malack:
    Nale: I killed Malack. I made him scream for his god under the desert sun. His ashes smelled like burning leather. He suffered.
  • Wrecked Weapon:
    • Roy's react badly to Xykon destroying the Greenhilt Greatsword with a spell.
    • Following Bozzok's tactical advice, Crystal sunders Haley's bow.
      Haley: You bitch! That was a +3 bow!
  • Wretched Hive: Greysky City
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Invoked by the MitD to save the Order of the Stick. By convincing Xykon and Redcloak that the Order can't be the main heroes they're facing because they're led by "some random fighter guy you already snuffed once", he convinces Xykon that they must rush to the final gate before the "real" heroes — O-Chul and co — get there first.
    • Tarquin's Genre Savvy is generally impeccable, but falls down on two fundamental blind spots. He's convinced that Elan is the primary hero and himself the primary villain, and therefore defeating Xykon must just be a sidequest to keep Elan occupied while he broods over how to confront his Archnemesis Dad. Elan calls him out on this, countering that it's only the actions and character of the heroes that decides what kind of story they're in.
  • Wutai: Azure City. Characters from the Southern Lands have Far-East Asian skin coloring and names from various Asian countries. "Lien" is a Chinese name. "Miko Miyazaki", "Shojo", and "Hinjo" are Japanese. "Soon Kim" is Korean, and "Thanh" is Vietnamese.
    Miko: What is this "Japan" you speak of? I have never heard of it before.

  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • The Dark One's, which has been pretty successful so far. If Redcloak succeeds in taking control of the Snarl, the Dark One can use this to blackmail the other gods into giving goblins a better place in the world. If the Snarl unmakes the world, the Dark One will have a hand in making the new world, where goblins will have a better place from the start. And even if the Order of the Stick stops Redcloak, Gobbotopia is doing pretty well.
    • Nale pulled off one in Cliffport. If the Order tried to rescue Julia and failed, then he would be in a position to kill them all. If they did rescue Julia, then he still would have captured Elan and been able to take his revenge on him. But, because the Order managed to rescue Julia and also realized that Nale had been trying to kidnap Elan in the confusion, they run off to rescue their teammate and give Nale the chance to switch places with Elan and attack the Order from the inside.
    • Tarquin has his adventuring buddies serve as advisors to rulers of three kingdoms. they stage invasions, revolutions, and liberations in order to unite the western continent under three super powers. And he knows that eventually, Elan's going to fight him and he will be defeated, and as long as he can accept that, he wins and he'll be part of a great story and his name will be immortalized. "If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend."
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: As shown in "The Cost of Freedom", Tarquin is also a master of this.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: "Gordium called — they have a knot that you may want to take a look at."
  • The X of Y: The Order of the Stick
  • X on a Stick: Not that frequent, considering the title of the comic...
  • X-Ray Sparks: The Disintegrate spell shortly makes the target's flesh transparent and highlights the skeleton, whether the victim survives afterward or ends up a pile of dust.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: There's a reason Big Bad Xykon is called, well, Xykon. He even goes as far as to make sure people use the right spelling when they speak to him (though how he can tell they're spelling it wrong is anyone's guess).


  • Zerg Rush: This is what happens to Azure City, utterly and totally Zerg Rushed by Xykon and Redcloak's army of 30,000 hobgoblin Mooks, plus a number of other creatures including various undead, titanium and chlorine elementals (Redcloak's knowledge of chemistry is not to be underestimated), and three decoy Xykons (a Huecuva, a Death Knight, and an "Eye of Fear and Flame"). That particular Zerg Rush was made possible by two things: first, Redcloak's Titanium Elementals ripping a gigantic hole in Azure City's walls, and second, a Death Knight of a far higher CR than any of the soldiers at the breach — including Vaarsuvius — could realistically handle. When Redcloak makes decoys, he plays for keeps.
    Ghast: Sir, we finally have enough corpses to serve as a ramp for your horse.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: Roy attempts to pull one to clear out some innocent bystanders, in the most lampshade-worthy way possible. It works.
    Roy: I'm a big scary gladiator with permissive ideas about individual rights! BOO!
  • Zig-Zagging Trope: Seriously, how many different ways can one play with Always Chaotic Evil?!
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Try Vampire Apocalypse instead. The High Priest of Hel didn't learn to cast Protection from Sunlight as he was about to invade a subterranean nation where sunlight is a non-issue. He learned to cast the spell to instantly complete the vampirization process instead of the usual 3 days.
  • Zombie Mooks: Employed by Xykon and Tsukiko.
  • Zombify the Living: What Redcloak did to Xykon in Start of Darkness. The sorcerer was old and sick, true, but he wasn't dead yet when turned into a lich.
  • Zorro Mark: In an early strip, Elan carves "The Order of the Stick was here!" in fine, calligraphic style on a wall.