Please put latest guesses at the end if they don't fit in the above categories.
Vaarsuvius will join with Redcloak in a Face-Heel Turn after Xykon is defeated.Redcloak's plan to use the Snarl to blackmail the Gods into remaking the world requires a powerful divine spellcaster (who can be Redcloak himself) and a powerful Arcane Caster. Currently, the role of Arcane Caster is allocated to Xykon, whose defeat the heroes are concentrating on. Once he's out of the way, Vaarsuvius (a powerful arcane caster who has been prophesized to gain complete and total ultimate power by "saying the right four words to the right being at the right time for all the wrong reasons") may join with Redcloak to remake the world in a way that benefits elves. He's been shown to be amoral, though not as obviously so as Belkar, and so this makes for a good Shocking Swerve.
Elves are hermaphrodites.Vaarsuvius' gender is a big mystery, and in the incident with Girl-Roy s/he only noticed the fake wig, not the sex change. This'd make sense if elves don't have sexes, so they wouldn't really understand them in other races.
The Next Prequel Book......which Rich has already alluded to, will be about The Order of the Scribble. Whether or not it will be told in crayon remains to be seen.
The Kobold Oracle wasn't always a Kobold.Kobolds are classified as mini-dragon/lizard creatures. In The Start of Darkness, the Oracle talks about getting to Second Base with his date, which wouldn't really be possible with a reptile. In this comic, he talks about his balls, when reptiles don't really have external testicles. Perhaps he wasn't always a Kobold and at one point he was a humanoid of some kind. Maybe he was turned into a Kobold in exchange for his prophecy powers, perhaps in an unpleasant deal or with odd wording. He occasionally slips up though, and forgets what exactly Kobolds have. It could also be that he's so surly about dealing with the customers because he's jealous about them being humanoid. He could also use the mind-wiping charm in the Sunken Valley so that any old friends won't find him.
Shojo planned for Hinjo to battle devils in some capacity.The flashback in this strip shows Hinjo having to get his mount's teeth filled due to Shojo feeding him a "20-lb. bucket of strawberry frosting". Normal, wacky Shojo antics, right?... Wrong. Remember, Shojo was not senile; he was actually a Chessmaster with Obfuscating Stupidity, and everything he did in his "dementia" was actually to serve a purpose that he wouldn't be able to get the paladins to go along with if he were completely honest (or to amuse himself, but that's just Comedic Sociopathy at work). Shojo wanted to make sure his nephew had another weapon in his arsenal that he could use against
Daigo will, letter by letter, reveal his last name. Then, he will die.Compare 501 to 589. Like an cosmic game of H-O-R-S-E, he'll continue this joke until he runs out of letters and thus dies. And, giving the fact that Daigo is saving his last name to use as an emergency death-prevention, it'd be deliciously tragic if the reason he became a Mauve Shirt ends up being the impetus for his death.
The Shojo in Belkar's hallucination wasn't actually a hallucination - it was Shojo himself.Shojo's spirit returned to Belkar's mind to give him advice at the right moment to recover properly. It has to be a spirit, as the Shojo in Belkar's head talks about things that happened after he died. To do this, he would need a focus to return to the material world as a ghost-spirit, and that focus is quite clearly Mr. Scruffy.
The whole party is controlled by giant space cats, and Xykon is from modern Earth.Word of God says so...◊
Redcloak (and maybe the rest of Xykon's crew) will visit the Oracle for information on the next gate.Sure, torturing O-Chul will stall Xykon, but he's going to need some idea of the illusions they'll face. The Oracle is within walking distance of Azure City. While the Oracle is a jackass, (and probably not too sympathetic to his cause, given how he tried to tell Roy about their real target) he's a good source of information...provided you phrase the question right.
Vaarsuvius is Pompey's mother/fatherThey never actually meet. They look reasonably alike. And having an illegitimate bi-species child while you're married to someone else seems like a very good reason to make yourself scarce for a couple hundred years. Backed up by V stating that they're not a virgin in the recent strip.
Julia (Roy's sister) will get married to RedcloakA Crack Pairing to end all crack pairings, Julia's wizarding school will close. As she has no living family members, she will set out on her own, and somehow end up being captured by Xykon's forces. She and Redcloak will meet/fall in love/etc, egged on by The Monster in Darkness, who wants some Happily Ever After. Roy will eventually find out and approve, despite some reservations. The happy couple will elope, making another Happily Married couple in the Order of the Stick universe. Eugene will then attempt to rip Roy's vocal cords out.
Soon's wife Mijung is not an Azurite.Completely based off the fact that her sash is red. I have no clue why this would affect anyone in any way, but there you go.
The Ancient Black Dragon is working for the IIFC.Her question to the Oracle actually was: "Who would be willing to revive my son?". He answered to go to the archfiend, who made a deal: she would be reunited with her son if she made all the scene she did to V. Then, V would have the deal with the IIFC and the dragon would have escaped. The thing she didn't know was that she would be killed and reunited with her son in death.
Rich Burlew is pimping the CMOA section.Seriously, that damn thing gets a new entry for every goddamn action, and even a friggin' inaction. It's undergoing CMOA inflation.
In response to Elan and Haley's Relationship Upgrade, Nale and Sabine are going to break up.They are evil opposites, so now that Elan and Haley are an item, we're going to start seeing the relationship start to fray. In fact, I'd say it's happening already. Nale seemed distressed at the revelation that Sabine routinely has sex without him.
Shojo didn't die.He transferred his soul into Mr. Scruffy's body. Belkar's hallucination was Shojo communicating with him via magic.
Haerta will find a host and join Xykon.And inevitably betray him when it becomes necessary.
Vaarsuvius will join the Linear Guild.Nale was talking about how they need a new spellcaster. Sabine works for overfiend guys, who think Nale has lots of evil potential. V and the Linear Guild have no particular animosity towards each other (V probably hates Elan more by this point) and V also seems to want to find Durkon and Elan for some rather unpleasant reasons. More little stuff like that. Perhaps the four words for the wrong reasons are a second deal granting actual dominion over V's soul in exchange for power like he had before Haerta left permanently.
There is an epic-level monster in the abandoned fortress.V merely assumed the only monsters present were weak enough to be destroyed by the Azure City refugees. He could leave before they're attacked, then teleport some or all of the scattered team and/or his family back to find everyone but a few (named) characters slaughtered, and permanently imperil his soul, mind, elven status, etc. from guilt.
Vaarsuvius and Inkyrius are not both "married" and of the opposite sex.It will turn out that they adopted the last surviving members of their family, and may be as much as fraternal twins. Twincest and/or Ho Yay may ensue, but it is more likely that they are Heterosexual Life-Partners or the one-sided version of Romantic Two-Girl Friendship (the second sentence assuming neither explicitly used the word "spouse" in common).
Thog and Therkla are brother and sister.
The necromancer's first act of evil was killing off her own family.Since Familicide means killing one's own family, it seems to make more sense this way. This could also be her Start of Darkness, and this would make sense of why the spell leaves the target alive.
Everyone lives......for a while. In Xykon's dungeon. Well, except for the named Azurites. All gates but the one in Azure City are destroyed, Xykon makes a deal with the gods that they each make him an epic-level cleric in exchange for not letting the Azure City gate open any more than it already has, he uses his new powers to capture the Order from afar and puts them in solitary confinement, and the last page shows them getting progressively less hopeful- Vaarsuvius, still soul-spliced, joining with Xykon voluntarily. The last panel is Xykon, with the burning world superimposed across his image, holding a gazing sphere showing the remaining Order dying of old age, and going to their own, separate afterlives, except for Durkon. Or not. Hopefully not.
The Neutral afterlife is to act as a monster and/or sex slave in one of the Good afterlives.The archons are companion spirits, of course, but where do they get the women for the "bars of endless one-night stands" or the enemies for the "dungeons with monsters just strong enough to challenge you"? Presumably they're not Evil, or Hell wouldn't be much use. It would make the most sense for them to be Neutral, either from the respective afterlife or just shuffled around by assignment (since there would doubtlessly be a greater demand in the enlightenment-free Chaotic Good zone); sure, it's a bit harsh, but in a cosmos where evil adventuring parties periodically ransack Heaven...
Xykon will fuse with the SnarlSo O-Chul is about to throw the phylactery into the tear in reality (or V's familiar carries it in, whatever). When it enters the rip, the phylactery will shatter and Xykon's soul will be released. What happens when a creature that is a tangle of reality encounters a soul? Nothing good, to be sure. But I imagine that either: Xykon will fuse with it somehow, or his soul will cause the snarl to at least get more powerful/irritable.
The Stone that stores Lirian and Dorukon's souls will be made into jewelry......And given by Elan to Haley. Possibly as an engagement ring, assuming we ignore that fact it's black and the size of Xykon's whole hand. I don't know why it would be mentioned in Start of Darkness at all if it didn't make an appearance eventually. Plus it would be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for all involved.
Even if/when Roy defeats Xykon, Eugene will not get into Lawful Good heavenEven in life, Eugene seemed like a self-centered jerk, but in death he's even more so, possibly slipping into Lawful Neutral or even True Neutral territory. The most recent strip, where he indicates that he wouldn't care if Roy sold his soul or fell to evil, provided he defeated Xykon kind of clinches it for me. When Roy kills Xykon, Eugene will indeed move on, but to the LN or TN afterlife.
Kraagor the Barbarian and Serini Toormuck of the Order of the Scribble had a relationship, and possibly a child.This just comes from me thinking how broken up Serini is over Kraagor's death and how she chose to guard her gate based off of him and his physical strength. Perhaps when we get to his gate, the child (if there is one) will be there, as an additional guardian, or something, a legacy character.
The Oracle's comments about not funding an IRA are merely him offhandedly predicting the real world stock market down turnWhile it is another Belkar that will draw his last breath ever.
When the oracle said that Belkar should savor his next birthday cake, shouldn't fund his IRA, and that he'll draw his last breath before the end of the year, he meant that Belkar will die.Radical theory, I know, but bear with me. You see, birthday cakes are enjoyed through being consumed, which is an action that requires chemical activity in the brain (producing the delicious sensation) as well as motor activity of the muscles around the mouth and jaw. In other words, life. Birthdays themselves are also celebrations of life. So therefore, if Belkar is told to savor his next birthday cake, that hints—rather subtly, to be sure—that he may not receive another one, which symbolizes death in this comic (as Roy failed to notice or celebrate his birthday when he was dead). IRAs are retirement funds. Now, one thing we know about the oracle is that he goes on TV Tropes, and is in fact the Giant's way of acknowledging us; you can tell by the fact that he lords over other characters his knowledge of time, a crystal clear Shout-Out to the many "X is a time lord" theories. Therefore, he has a keen knowledge of the retirony trope, and hence, whenever he refers to retirement plans, he must in fact be thinking of deathnote . Now the breath clue is harder to decipher. Normally when we talk about drawing breath, of course, we're referring to the act of doodling a lung or winning a charity raffle on the elemental plane of Air. But my guess is that the oracle is using his powers of prophecy to look forward into the future to a point in time where it's common knowledge that breathing oxygenates the blood supply, therefore directly maintaining life, and hence "breath" is taken synecdochically for life. Therefore, the oracle is coining a unique and visceral evocation of death, a phrase that brings to mind the fact that Belkar's muscles and organs will cease to function, shut down, and eventually begin the process of necrosis, as the only blood that reaches them, is depleted of oxygen rather than enriched by it.
Celia is, and always has been, Neutral EvilNo, this isn't a lawyer joke. The "deal" she worked out for Haley, and the way she tricked her into accepting it, don't seem very Lawful Good.
Roy and Redcloak will face off in a final epic battle.Which will end with them peaceably talking their issues out. Based mostly on the fact that in On the Origin of PCs, Roy chose to talk to the ogre party, and realised they were camped out for concert tickets, rather than a war camp. If Redcloak let anything about his dead family slip, I can see Roy at least TRYING to talk to him, rather than automatically killing him.
Ian Starshine is not Haley's father.Loki is. At least I think that's Loki. Also related to the "Haley is a Celestial, etc." guess above. If you change the eye color to something more human, and turn the Giant Holy Burning Aura of Ponytailness into normal human hair, they're pretty close. Assuming Rescue Mr. Starshine doesn't end up an Aborted Arc (with the recent revelations in the previous guess, it seems decreasingly likely that the strip will end before the more important secondary arcs are wrapped up), it seems that would be the perfect time for him (probably with his dying breath) to reveal that Hayley is a Doorstop Baby, or even that he and possibly his wife were tasked with/impregnated by the god himself. If Tyrinar turns out to be using Exact Words in his ransom note (as in my above "Rescuing Haley's Father" guess), and knows who her father is, expect things to get a bit more complicated. If Ian Starshine turns out to be an avatar or incarnation of the god that can't use his godly might whilst trapped in the mortal body, several possibilities open up (from him smashing Tyrinar and his throne room before ascending to him remaining on earth, but with a God Mode that casts from hit points). Refer also to her family name: Starshine does not seem like the typical human name in such a setting, though the Greenhilt clan isn't much to go on, and I highly doubt think she's a half-elf or (less doubt) direct male-line descendant of a halfling.
Inkyrius is male.Because I don't care what anybody says, that is a man chest, damnit. It doesn't necessarily confirm what Vaarsuvius is, but Kyrie's a dude.
Celia and Navi are the same person.Think about it: Good-natured but useless and annoying fairies with light blue color schemes. Both are intelligent, but their clueless nature annoys and can get others into trouble. And they both left! Hooray!
Crystal will be raised and recruited by the Linear GuildNale will want her on his team due to her being Haley's Evil Counterpart. This will cause conflict with Sabine (now redundant as Haley's Evil Counterpart), perhaps leading to Nale's and Sabine's break-up as hypothetised in a previous WMG.
In the battle for the final Gate, the Order of the Stick and the Linear Guild will set aside their differences and join forces to destroy Xykon
The spice that Belkar got from the spice merchant will be his deathIt's an obvious Dune reference (c'mon, sandworms anyone?). While the spice called melange from Dune gives its user a longer lifespan it also has fatal withdrawal symptomps. So, after taking his first doze of the stuff Belkar will find himself oddly invigorated for a while, but after a while this newly gained life-force will fade away from him.
The IFCC made nale and the rest of the liner guildmaybe Elan really HAD a twin, but he died a long time ago. the IFCC needed someone to be their pwans on the mortal plane, so they crated five humanoids so they could watch for anything that can help them and they put sabine on the group so they could inspect them
Serini Toormuck or Girard Draketooth is going to get the Order to Girard's Gate.In #695, the illusion of Girard says that the spell is set to inform himself, Serini, and (presumably) the rest of the Order that it's been triggered. Dorukan and Lirian are sealed, and Kraagor and Soon are dead, so the only people affected by the spell would be Serini and Girard himself; being that Serini is probably too good-natured to have been happy with the idea of Girard also setting it to blow Soon up, Girard probably didn't tell her about that part of the spell in the first place. Since Serini's a Rogue, she'd know to use this as an opportunity to see Soon Kim while she knows for a fact that he's away from his Gate and thus avoid breaking her promise not to interfere. Alternatively, Girard will teleport there himself, either to make sure Soon is actually dead, or to finish him off. Either way, once they realize that the Order of the Stick has very good reasons for being there, whoever shows up will give them the proper coordinates.
Kraagor isn't dead.Nor is anyone else swallowed up by or sealed off into a Rift. Kraagor is living on the Planet Inside The Planet, and just has no way to get home.
Girard's Gate is exactly where Soon believed it would be.Girard was an illusionist who had a personal grudge against Soon Kim; anyone who knew about the Gates would have to know about it. It's just a very cunning deception, designed to deter anyone from searching for the Gate any further; the spell to blow up Soon Kim is for authenticity and probably a bit of vindictiveness on Girard's part. After all, Roy survived it just fine, and Soon was likely higher-level then than Roy is now, and would have more HP to burn on what amounts to a very nasty prank— especially since Soon would be traveling with a bunch of paladins who could probably heal the inflicted damage with not much effort.
Girard really did try to kill SoonHowever, Evocation is a common barred school for Illusionists (what with spells like Shadow Evocation and its more powerful versions) so he couldn't get enough damage in a concentrated area as possible that would last indefinitely. It was more designed to kill/weaken Soon's flunkies (the ones with K. Geography) and now the illusionary Spice traps are going to activate (illusionary Spice scents that will attract every Purple Worm within ).
Soon was once like Miko
Lirian was part non-elf.Something like a grandparent or great-grandparent was a human or sylph or other noticeably sexual dimorphic race. Might explain why she's the only non-androgynous elf we see.
Celia will dieThe fact that sylphs can't be raised from the dead sounds suspiciously like a Chekhov's Gun, or Chekhov's Boomerang if you consider her explanation for why she's reluctant to kill the first use. It would also be a good way for Burlew to pull an Alas, Poor Scrappy.
In some alternate reality, a Super Hero version of The Order Of The Stick exists
If Miko had gotten "Treasure Type O" regularly...
Burlew isn't using the standard alignment restrictions.I thought of this when considering an alignment for Thog, who's both a Barbarian and almost certainly evil. He can't be lawful by standard rules, but he's acted Lawful Evil far more often than Chaotic Evil or Neutral Evil. His only chaotic acts that I can recall are killing a sylph, which he did under orders and in a dungeon where there was no law-enforcement authority, and dressing as a leprechaun, which he apparently did out of stupidity rather than whimsy. Furthering this, Miko Miyazaki acted so crazy because she was never precisely good—she was lawful, so she could be trusted to follow orders, and she was close enough to good that the Sapphire Guard could make use of her in a similar way to how Roy makes use of Belkar, but she didn't fit the alignment because she didn't need to in order to be a Paladin in this universe. This would also tie in to how the evil races seem to be Noble Demons as often as true villains.
Niu, a new character, will be important to the storyline.Think about it. Why bother NAMING a character when he/she won't serve a supporting role to the heroes at the very least? In fact, I'll bet my money she was a relative to The Scrappy Miko. (I have ten.)
The Dancing Knights will return.They will either:
Redcloak and Hinjo are gonna strike a truce at some pointBoth want their peoples to have homes, both are pragmatic enough rulers to not let the past cloud their judgements, and both take rather laissez-faire approach to their alignment restrictions (which is really the only thing preventing them from realizing that war between the Sapphirites and the goblins is the worst outcome for both).
At least one of the NPC leveled prisoners is well optimizedSuch as an iaijutsu focus expert,
The Divine half of the gate-opening ritual requires the self-sacrifice of the caster, and the ritual cannot be stopped once the Arcane half is complete.Xykon may genuinely care about Redcloak, or Redcloak may know enough about the ritual to not do it, but Xykon has no qualms about getting rid of Tsukiko the next time her death becomes useful.
Girard is a dragon that assumes human form.The 3.5 fluff makes it pretty clear dragons often do this for shits and giggles, plus Draketooth?
Shojo is attempting to change Belkar's fate.According to Shojo, if Belkar keeps playing the sociopathic Jerkass, chances are someone, possibly an ally, would kill him. That's why Shojo came to Belkar in the dream: He knows Belkar is going to die, but needs him to live for some unspecified reason. Belkar's "fake" character development could end up with him making a choice he wouldn't before, something that will save his life.
The Other Planet is Eberron.Because really, Without Eberron, there wouldn't even have been an Order of the Stick Comic.
In the Order of the Stick universe, the term "PC" refers to a hereditary immunity to Diplomacy.
Malachar is either human or allied with the humans, and plans on taking over sooner if not later.Why else would a kingdom full of lizardfolk accept a human Guard? He used either diplomacy, Diplomacy, or his power as His Vizierliness to convince anyone who could argue.
Ian Starshine is Malachar."This 'Elan' fellow seems nice enough, and he will be Family, but Nale has got to be taken care of before the wedding." It's better to use a meat shield that will require an epic spellcaster or a lot of fighting than sit on the throne yourself (especially since Starshine sounds like the sort of guy who would hate being in the spotlight, aside from just the Rogue-type logic seen in flashbacks). Ian wouldn't bother trying to keep power when that strong a spellcaster or someone with the Order of the Stick equivalent of a MOAB is after the throne, and anyone else can be dealt with while they're trying to pry the meat shield off the throne.
Pompey is the son of Dorukan and LirianIt is possible that Pompey is the son of the two Order of the Scribble members. Even though they had sworn not to interfere with each others gates, that wouldn't keep them from seeing each other for other reasons. Also, the age of Pompey checks out. He told Nale that he was 43 and Lirian was killed under 30 years ago. Also in the comic detailing the effects of a Cloister spell seen here, the last panel shows how Dorukan and Lirian could have met several times. It could be that Lirian never actually told him who his father was or if she even gave any thought to him at all. He could have been given to an other elf family or even a human family, perhaps for his own protection (his parents being epic level characters makes him a target) but that didn't turn out that well.
All the characters are really characters from other webcomics.V is Black Mage, sans destructive tendencies, Xykon and Redcloak are Richard and Cale, The Oracle and Therkla are Dominic and Luna, and Sabine is one of the Succubi from Sinfest
The upcoming arc will be a Star Wars parody.General Tarquin (not the resemblance to Tarkin) dresses like Boba Fett and reveals himself to be Elan's father in a parody of Vader's famous scene. And it also hit me that the lizard cleric looks a lot like Palpatine and the Blood Empress has Jabba Table Manners. You could even go back a couple of chapters to the Dune chapters- Lucas kind of ripped off Arakis when creating Tatooine. Also, the termal detonator, the "pray I don't alter it any further", etc. Speculations on what will come in the future is include that Elan will get a hand cut off by his father after he turned on the heroes but in the end dies to redeem itself to an army of small creatures defeating the empire.
The Empress of Blood is the current ruler of the kingdom which imprisoned Haley's father.Hence, Haley's imprisonment will lead to her reuniting with him.
Elan and Nale have other siblings.I'm going to say older sister, older half-sister, or younger half-sister and/or multiple young half-siblings of varying sex. (Additionally, with the guess that this sequence is going to be at least partly Star Wars homage/pastiche, it leaves room for There Is Another, though I really hope they don't pull off a Luke And Leia bit, regardless of whether Vaarsuvius is Han or Luke. Unless s/he leans against the fourth wall long enough to express relief that that sort of thing wasn't going to happen).
Lien called her shark Holy Paladin Mount "Razor" not because of its teeth...But because its skin was so good at removing stubble.
Thog is Elan & Nale's half-brother.Tarquin referred to Elan & Nale's mother as his first wife. That wouldn't have been in there if it wasn't important somehow, and it's already been established that inter-species hookups are more common, and attitudes to them more tolerant, on the Western Continent than they are elsewhere. This would also make yet another parallel between Elan/Roy & Nale/Thog, given that Roy & Elan have a surrogate big brother/little brother relationship.
Pompey and Leeky Windstaff will return.Do we have this already?
Every major good or neutral-aligned character introduced as of strip 729 will survive to the end of the strip, as will more than half the major evil-aligned characters.The author seems to dislike killing off anyone the fanbase likes or is neutral to (unless they're a minor character, in which case they can die freely.) The exceptions so far have been Lord Shojo, who doesn't count because old people tend to die in these sorts of stories, and Therkla, who doesn't count because Hopeless Suitors almost always die in these sorts of stories. The only other major and popular good or neutral character who now has a precedent for doom is Varsuvius, and he's likely to just suffer for what he's done, rather than outright die. The only major good or neutral character who's currently unpopular is Celia, and she's likely to survive because she's a useful tool to comment on the morality of Dungeons & Dragons. There are a couple evil-aligned characters who have a good precedent for doom, like Xykon and Tsukiko, but even Redcloak has a good chance of getting spared for being interesting and vaguely sympathetic. (And Belkar is definitely going to survive—he fulfills the Richard rules of karma avoidance by being badass, funny, and an ally of the good guys.)
The oracle leads one of the factions that haven't been revealed yet.His followers are the inhabitants of Lickmyorangeballshalfingville, and he's been manipulating several other sides for his own mysterious goals.
O'Chul will gut Belkar like a fish.O'Chul said that he'd gut Belkar if he learned of B treating anyone else the way B treated him.
The Oracle misspoke. Belkar will be killed by Kira.It's the only answer.
Tarquin is an arcane spellcasterThis is not based on anything Tarquin has done, but rather both of his sons have taken up arcane spellcasting classes. (Elan is a bard and Nale is a sorcerer) It's possible Tarquin did this too, taking levels in Duskblade, Warmage or some sort of prestige class. Fitting the recent Star Wars theme, a level 16 or so Duskblade can cast Chain Lightning a la Emperor Palpatine.
Kyrie, Vaarsuvius, or both (?) are transgender or otherwise gender queer/in-universe equivalent.Just to add another layer to the gender uncertainty. If it's not universal for elves, that could explain why we have seen some with established gender identities, and in V's case it could also account for the general "don't ask me" sort of thing re: sex/gender. Or, y'know, I could be talking out of my hat...
Therkla will be revived.Be it for Speak With Dead (possibly in an epilogue, with chronicler montage), as part of some mass-Raise Dead/create zombie plan, or just to push Elan's buttons. Bonus character-emotion-wrenching points if she had been told to move something important someplace hidden while under the command of her former lord, and V disintegrating his corpse and leaving the dust to the wind means the heroes have to revive her to learn where it is.
Belkar is Lawful Good, Xykon is the real Anti Villain, and Redcloak's a Complete MonsterThey don't call it Wild Mass Guessing for nothing.
The party members fit into the framework of Player Archetypes.Well, sort of. The Real Man : Roy and Haley would both fit. The Loonie : Belkar, with his homicidal tendencies. The Roleplayer : Both Durkon and Elan, Durkon as the Thespian and Elan as the Anti-Munchkin. Munchkin : Vaarsuvius.
The crescent moon above the Empire of Blood relates to the location of Girard's Gate as either showing its entrance or dispelling Girard's illusionary protection on the gate.I also bet Xykon will appear soon that moonlit night after a dragged out battle between Roy's team and allies or gladiators of the Empire of Blood because conditions are right for the Gate to appear relative to the crescent moon.
The Creature In The Darkness IS an aspect of the snarl, but it is inside the shell of an animal.The same as the WMG above, but it dispells the reasoning that calls for it to be incorrect. I do not know if the snarl has this ability, but it makes a bit of sense.
Vaarsuvius's raven is an aspect of The Gates/Pure OrderThe snarl could not see its prison while it was being built, so it is reasonable to assume that it works the other way around as well. Blackwing's vision is of the world the snarl devoured, but he cannot see the snarl itself. The world would be in relative chaos, but it is not a complete aspect of the snarl and his brain filters out the chaos. Hey, until you disprove it, I stand by my claim.
The stone holding Dorukan and Lirian... ...is a thus-far-unfired Chekhov's Gun. It's a stone holding the souls of two epic level mages. Now, where have we seen such souls used before? At some point, V will decide to look into soul splicing, and will discover a way to do it with willing souls. During the final confrontation with Xykon, the stone will be broken, V will sense the souls, and team up with them to deliver an epic, well-deserved, and karmic beatdown to the lich.
Crystal is Right-Eye's daughter in disguise, which means that Haley's dagger is Right-Eye's dagger in disguise.
All remaining Black Dragons will join XykonThis is the best way to V's Deal with the Devil to bite him/her.
Tarquin had his nine or so wives killed for the worst possible reasons.This ventures into Poison Oak Epileptic Trees but, Tarquin said he's gone out of his way to prevent having any more children after the way Nale turned out. So every time he learns of his current wife being pregnant, he has her die of "mysterious circumstances" all in an attempt to prevent another Nale being born. Horrible yes, but this is the same guy who has two bounty hunters sentenced to imminent death because they "threatened" him for more money.
Belkar will survive past the end of the year, BUT......somehow he will be teleported back into the past and die during this year.
Miko will appear in the comic again.I'm not saying she'll return to life, but she'll make some sort of appearance. Possibilities include:
Belkar should avoid putting money into Interdimensional Rift AccountingIt's the only possible answer.
The Guy with the Halberd will never appear again.Rich might do it out of spite.
The Monster in the Darkness can channel touch spells through Xykon.Consider: spellcasters can channel touch spells through their familiars. Dimension Hop is a touch spell that can teleport. Granted, the spell is short ranged, but this can be circumvented with homebrewed metamagic. The Monster in the Darkness channeled dimension hop/similar spell through Xykon and saved V/O-chul.
The Grecian Gods live on inside the riftBecause theyr'e the only gods there, the world is heavily influenced by Grecian culture.
The world inside the rift is a normal modern world, with all the characters having normal counterpartsRoy would be a police officer, and his father a scientist, Durkon would be a priest, Haley would be a spy or a cat burglar, Elan would be a musician, his mother would still be a barmaid, but Tarquin and Malack would be ruthless businessman, and Nale would be criminal. Vaarsuvius would be a scientist, Belkar would be a serial killer on death row,and Xykon would be the leader of a terrorist group trying to, you guessed it, take over the worrld, M. Bison : Of course!.
Tarquin will kill Julio and cut off one of Elan's hands.The Star Wars references in this arc kind of make one or both a necessity. With the former, I can imagine Tarquin killing Julio (perhaps for sleeping with one of his ladyfriends) and then as he dies, Julio would see Elan and tell him "I told you so". The maiming would make a lot of sense too (especially because it would work for both drama- besides the cruelty, it would temporarily impair Elan's bard abilities; as well as comedy- see Arrested Development for how a Hook Hand can be used for comedy gold). I picture Tarquin discovering how Haley freed all those slaves and thinking that Elan was in cahoots with her. Or in any case, soon enough, the two of them will have to come to blows. Tarquin will defeat Elan in combat and after declaring that he would never kill one of his children, chop.
Serini Toormuck is dead.The incident with the Order of the Scribble occurred sixty-six years ago. Even when you consider that this comic doesn't completely follow D&D rules, she was probably in her twenties, which would put her somewhere in her eighties at this point — it doesn't seem like halflings live that long. Furthermore, Xykon is in possession of her diary — an object that someone with her personality would never want to let go of, so it stands to reason that Xykon might have taken it from her after her death (either he killed her personally during the eighteen year timeskip in Start of Darkness, or he took it from her corpse by chance, knowing him, it could be either one.) If this is true, the Order of the Stick is gong to be in for a nasty surprise if they end up trying to find her.
Miko will become The Atoner in the afterlife.She will be allowed to go to heaven for her virtue, but only if she makes peace with people like Roy and lord Shojo.
The Order will die in the final battle against Xykon and be resurrected
Theories on new Linear Guild membersEvil Durkon: An ogre cleric of Tiamat who is a teetotaler. Evil Vaarsuvius: A warlock or a cobination conjurer, necromancer.
Current Arc Star Wars references will escalate.Tarquin already has something planned for Elan that has to do with the Empire of Blood (and bringing order to the continent perhaps?), as in "with our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order..." complete with ruling the empire (or continent) as father and son. Then through a series of events Tarquin will find that Redemption Equals Death as he dies in his son's arms.
Belkar will die before the end of the year- exactly 1x10^-<Insert Ridiculously Large Number> seconds before the end of the year.Come on, you know something like this is going to happen.
The Northern, Southern, and Western gods deliberately engineered the creation of the Snarl to kill the Eastern Gods.
Belkar has a crush on Vaarsuvius, and this is the reason why he wants to know V's gender so badly.He doesn't seem to be bisexual, so if V is male he will lose his interest in him, but if V is female he will make a move on her. When he kissed V, he couldn't control his feelings so well, as he was drunk.
Vaarsuvius is female and that Ambiguous Gender thing is because of BelkarHer ateps to make Belkar feel hate insted lust to her proof this, She could always tell him true if she was male.
General Tarquin was originally Good but fell victim to a Helm of Opposite AlignmentThis would explain why he keeps doing everything in such an evil way. It makes no sense. Even the food he serves is evil. Whatever he does, he has to go out of his way to do it as evilly as possible, even though he's not really malicious of attitude. So maybe he's doing it because he's magically compelled to be Evil.
Elan will overthrow Tarquin from the shadowsTarquin makes a big deal about how dramatic, widely told stories of good overthrowing the evil empire lets the bad guys win. Elan will brood over how it goes against his bardic philosophy, but ultimately decide to go against narrative convention and arrange for a more realistic and less personal and theatrical destruction of Tarquin's empire, possibly by arranging for a Paladin crusade and making sure his name is left off.
Tarquin gets devoured by the SnarlMaybe Elan pushes him in, maybe not. But it eradicates him as thoroughly as the Gods of the East. Famed in Story? Forget it. He won't be a footnote. I have no particular reason for believing this except that it would be perfect karmic justice. An alternative method of destroying the memory of him works just as well.
Elan's "happy ending" doesn't refer to the end of the comic.Rather, it refers to the "end" of the current father-son conflict. I don't think I can put it any better than Tarquin:
Tarquin will be made immortal.And then he will be sent to a plane of eternal torment.
Durkon's entry papers just expired. This will have some effect on the plot.For reference, he got his entry papers in strip 732, and they were issued for 30 strips. This means they expired here. My guess? Elan realized this somehow, and this is why he ran off at the end of 763. His father is going to be remembered as an awesome villain, when as an Evil Dictator he deserves no such thing? Who cares about that, Durkon might get arrested, and if that happens, they're screwed!
Malack is actually female.In this strip, Malack's discussion of pursuing a mate/having more children suggests two interpretations. On one hand, the obvious explanation is that Malack is male and lost his wife at some point before Nale murdered his children. On the other hand, the having a mate and having children might not be directly connected. It's possible that Malack is something like a lesbian lizard- reproducing through parthenogenesis, but still engaging in mating behavior similar to that of a typical lizard. The comic has followed lizard biology before, so this wouldn't be too surprising. It would also work for narrative purposes, as it makes Malack a perfect Evil Counterpart to the ambiguously gendered V.
The Oracle is the equivalent of a GMIt would explain why he knows everything, tries to make life easier for the PCs, punishes a PC for going too far, and can essentially cheat death.
Xykon and Redcloak will succeed in finishing the ritual...Only to fail in their ultimate goal becaus the snarl no longer exists.As evidenced here. Redcloak will also reveal the ritual's true purpose moments after it is complete, leading Xykon to kill him out of frustration and boredom.
Belkar suffers from ADHD, as well as psychopathy.That would explain his impulsiveness, quick temper and unpredictability. He's boisterous and loud, and would rather live for the moment and do, rather than contemplate decisions. Belkar also isn't good with authority; people with ADHD often have run-ins with teachers and the police. And he has a low Wisdom score.
Tarquin has read the Evil Overlord List.This would explain this.
Belkar will be an undead and is not long for this world.Belkar manages to somehow become an undead. But ends up getting thrown into the rift. And misses the other world. Making him stuck eternally in the void of space, without the means to deal himself damage. Definitely should savor his next birthday cake and shouldn't bother funding IRA.
Belkar WILL survive past the end of the year, BUT......since he's holding his breath or otherwise unable to breathe before the clock strikes midnight, he'll die shortly afterwards thus rendering the whole "surviving past the end of the year" thing kinda moot, but will fit his determinator side to his personality perfectly.
Vaarsuvius and the rest of the elves are a genderless species.Just look at it's partner and children, the latter were adopted but still, we don't know if they are males or females. Thus, we can assume that Elves in the Order of the Stick universe are a species of Ambiguous Gender like the Asari in Mass Effect. So, it's appropriate to refer V as an "It" instead of "Him" or "Her."
The reason why Vaarsuvius is referred to as V instead of an "it".If the above theory is correct, and then it's because calling an elf an "It" is like calling a black guy an N-word in the Order of the Stick universe. Or at least because "It" Is Dehumanizing.
Ian's theory in strip 771 is correctElan is the greatest master of obfuscating stupidity of all time.
Girard was unconscious during the final battle with the SnarlHe didn't see first hand what happened, only heard about it from Dorukan (who also had a grudge against Soon) and based on the descriptions provided by Dorukon came to the conclusion that Soon did something like shove Kraagor into the rift to save his own skin.
Vaarsuvius is another AU version of Tedd from El Goonish ShiveIt makes so much sense!
We're going to run into a zealously over-paranoid Neutral Good characterWe've got Miko for overly deluded Lawful Good, we've got Ian for overly paranoid Chaotic Good, so all we need is an overly paranoid Neutral Good to round out the circle.
Belkar is going to turn into an Eldritch AbominationOr something else that doesn't need to breathe to survive.
Banjo will be Elan's Ace in the HoleEarly on, Banjo was revealed to have the power to use lightning but it was very weak because of lack of worshippers. Now, there are all these orcs who worship Banjo and most likely gave him a boost of power. For all we know, Elan had spread the word of Banjo during the months he had been separated from Haley.
The Monster in the Darkness is a Polymorphed Wizard.He lost his memory due to... let's say a head injury, but managed to retain his spellcasting abilities. Hence the "Stomping"(Earthquake spell), the mystery teleportation, and the fact that whatever creature he is isn't commonly found in the jungle or able to speak common.
Tarquin and Julio once adventured in the same party.There's nothing to contradict it: All we know is that they're both past adventurers of at least moderate success who appear to be roughly the same age and - one could assume - character level. It's entirely possible that, before Tarquin's empire-building and around the time of Julio's first Sexiest Man Alive award, the two roamed the world in adventurer style, slaying monsters and gaining EXP in manners appropriate to their alignments. Which, yes, are diametrically opposed, but there have been cross-alignment parties before; or maybe the years had one or both undergo an alignment shift? As to what broke up the group, and who the other members were/are... But hey, Anakin and Obi Wan were comrades before that whole 'Sith' thing. It would also explain Tarquin's experience with Pun-Duels, a feature of an apparently-rare character class; either he fought Julio (friendly sparring or otherwise) or was there when Julio wrested the secrets of the Dashing Swordsman from its previous holder.
The Order of the Stick takes place in the Forgotten Realms multiverseBut obviously not on Abeir-Toril. In Fourth Edition, the Blood War is ended. This is a result of the IFCC's machinations as outlined here.
Durkon's parents were/are hippies.So, every other Order member whose parents have been shown in the comic has a problematic relationship with them. In Durkon's case, it could mean that similarly with Ned Flanders on the The Simpsons, his parents were ultra-laid back, and as a result, he overcompensated and became ultra-lawful and straitlaced.
Tarquin will be killed offhandedly by someone besides Elan.If he dies in a dramtic fasion he will get what he wants: to be the Big Bad of his son's Story Arc. The only way for him to lose if he becomes a mere foot note. V could disintegrate him, or Xykon could show up after the heroes leave (since he will be searching for that gate soon) and kill him out of boredom.
Belkar has longer to live than Roy thinksYes, he'll die before the end of the year-but which year? We've already seen at least two calenders with different new years(northern and southern), who's to say the oracle wasn't using a kobald calender? I think Roy will do some things that he wouldn't do if he didn't know belkar was going to die very soon, and it will bite him in the ass when belkar doesn't die as soon as he thought.
Belkar will die, and someone exactly like him will appear to fight alongside the party.Think about it. All of the other D&D rules seem in effect. If Belkar does die, and then something prevents him from being raised (soul bind, for instance) what's to stop him from rerolling a new PC? As an added bonus, this allows Belkar to avenge his own death.
The three demons will cash in on V's debt at the worst time possible.Vaarsuvius did the soul splice, but her debt hasn't been paid yet to the demons she bargained with; they still have a contract and they haven't yet made good of it. I predict that V will have her soul be controlled at the worst possible time; the final confrontation with Xykon. V will preparing to deliver the final blow when her soul will be seized and the group will have to deal with her in addition Xykon and the gang.
Elves are hermaphroditesSelf explanatory
Belkar is coasting towards Chaotic NeutralAgain, self explanatory
The prophecy about Belkar means that the comic will endBelkar (and the rest of the cast, but nobody asked the Oracle about them) will draw his last breath, never eat another birthday cake, etc., because the comic will reach a full and satisfactory ending before the end of the year, and there will be no more comics about them. (Bar perhaps further prequels.)
Tarquin will suffer the most horrific defeat... dying as a hero.It may be against Xykon or the Snarl, but Tarquin will face them to protect Elan or his own hide. He'll lose, but he'll have done enough damage/inspired the masses to defeat them. The last thing he'll hear is his son saying how proud he is of his father, and how everyone will know his story as a person willing to sacrifice wealth, power, and everything in the name of the greater good.
Belkar will become a Lich.In order to counter Xykon's own immortality, either the Order or just Belkar will proceed to turn the evil hobbit into an equally immortal Lich. Belkar's certainly evil enough to perform the Ritual, whatever it entails, and would love the idea of becoming invincible. By the end of the year, Xykon's worst nightmare (and possibly that of everyone else) will be realized.
Varsuuvus is an innovator"He" is an androginous, purple-haired non-human.
Belkar will die exactly as he unwittingly predicted.See the second panel of this strip. Not only will it be a huge "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, he will die after a lot of character development to the point where only the readers and probably Mr. Scruffy will know that he had improved from being full-on Chaotic Evil to something more redeemable. Only time will tell if this becomes true.
The MitD will destroy Xykon.At some point in the future, Redcloak will seek to finally rid himself of Xykon, and they'll clash. The Monster, thanks to Xykon's curse he put upon the monster in Start of Darkness, will be horribly conflicted, and decide to Take a Third Option and just blindly leap into battle. His immense weight will smash Xykon into dust, and might even give the lich's soul a few bruises.
The Order of the Stick will be heading to Durkon's homeland at some point......only to find it completely destroyed by Xykon.
The Snarl is not really evil, and in fact has never killed anyoneThe reason its victims are supposedly Deader than Dead is because it doesn't kill them, merely teleports them to the planet inside its rift. It's not an Omnicidal Maniac, merely someone who wants a lot of people in its world. Its planet is a Utopia, hence why nobody has left. Team Evil will find all this out the hard way
Whatever V's gender, if ve has one, ve's gay.Explains the adopted kids, and the background during the Darth V transformation was a very unsubtle pink triangle.
Belkar dies to be with Mr. ScruffyThen learns as a Neutral Hungry cat, he is in a seperate afterlife from a Chaotic Evil Sexy Shoeless God of War.
Tarquin will be defeated, and Elan will make sure nobody knows what he was up to behind the scenesTarquin's whole gambit for becoming famous even after death revolves around him getting the credit for ruling all these kingdoms, even in the midst of all the political upheaval. However, the average person on the street wouldn't know that Tarquin was the real ruler each time and would just assume that the empires were being ruled by their respective rulers. When Elan finally gets around to defeating Tarquin, he's going to make sure that he knows that this story is going to stay untold. That way, he will rob him of the satisfaction of becoming legendary upon defeat. Tarquin's allies won't be able to spread the truth either because nobody will believe them, or the Order will get them too.
Belkar has the gods on his side, therefore the year will not end until he finishes his task.The gods are in control, so they just extend the "year" to until the final battle is over, as he is the second most likely person to destroy Xykon, or the year is the time period in which Xykon and his minions are still alive. Here's the reasons why he's the second most likely:
Oracle liedBelkar won't die. Oracle just manipulates Roy to think othertwise for some reason.
Tarquin will be killed by XykonThere is one hole in Tarquin Dangerously Genre Savvy worldview "If I will I get to be the king, if I die I will become the legend'' he explained to Elan - if he will be killed by even bigger villain, after being at the reciving end of Eviler than Thou speech and said villain will then unleash such terror that everything he did will pale in comparision, he won't become legend. He will be doomed to be remembered as just one of minor characters in much more epic story of greater Big Bad. He cannot even hope to get his sons to have classic "avenging dead parent" subplot, because Nale hates him and Elan knows very well now how evil bastard his dad is. Can you imagine worst ending for somebody who loves the epic story structure so much? And who is better to do that to him than Xykon?
Trigak the Chimera will return as a recurring villain.As Hayley pointed out, Trigak was in the middle of escaping and swearing to come back and get the Order when they least expect it. All Trigak needs is some Offscreen Villain Dark Matter and a plausible reason to bring Trigak back and *BAM*! Resurrection.
Tarquin and Redcloak will share Not So Different momentNo reason, but it would be cool.
The IFCC identitiesJudging on their colors and the colors of the summoned wizards (and knowing there's one for each evil alignement), it's highly probable that:
The Linear Guild will be destroyedAs soon as The Order will eventually stop to focus on nemesis-on nemesis fights and get more pragmatic (eg: V using magic to blast Thog, Durkon using his holy powers to vanquish Sabine and so on).
Monster in the Darkness, possible 8-bit image.I wish I could remember where I read it, but I remember hearing that Rich himself stated that the go board in strip 651 was more than a symbolic image of MitD, but included a reference to his physical appearance. The slightly off-set go pieces, the tilt, I always had trouble looking at it until today. It hit me to convert the board into an 8-bit image. This is what you get :Linky!◊. The top row is as the go-board is with yellow eyes added for clarification's sake (explained below). The bottom row is inverting the colors just for a different perspective. Keep in mind that this is a black and white image of a creature that could be easily purple and green so some imagination still is needed. Also, there are two ways of looking at this. First, the holes in the darkness are MitD's eyes left blank. This would turn the entire go board into the MitD's full body or upper body. The second possibility when you note the consistent use of perspective is the eye sockets are encased in white. This means that the Go-board, if my memory about what it is supposed to be is right, is only of the MitD's head. I don't play, nor have I, D&D so I don't know what monsters or creatures are considered canon. Rich did state it was a guessable creature that existed in 2004 and earlier. I hope this can help someone more knowledgeable than I am in this quest to guess MitD.
Redcloak will end up giving up on the Plan.Back in Start of Darkness we learn Right-eye's daughter is still alive, and we can see too that Xykon charms the MitD so it will eat Redcloak the moment he betrays Xykon. Probably when the comic nears its end Redcloak will find his niece, safe and sound and maybe even living peacefully with a human family (Right-eye was worried about her living with humans), and will realize that his brother was right, even more if Xykon kills them all, or only her if she's alone. There's also the possibility of Redcloak's niece making Redcloak have a Villainous BSOD when she blames him for the death of her father when he encounters her. Either way this will also be the time when we'll get to see what the Monster in the Darkness is, as it will try to eat Redcloak for disobeying Xykon. Bonus points if O'Chul's words make the MitD fight the charm in order to be what he wants to be and helps Redcloak survive and then both of them fight Xykon together, maybe even with help from the Order in a last battle against the undead sorcerer.
Miko had schizophrenia and some other mental illnesses.There were some episodes where she was meditating all by herself and asking the gods for guidance. Those scenes never actually show someone or something giving her said guidance. They do show her getting it after a pause. This seems to hint that she hears at least one voice in her head. While it does not excuse her actions, it does help to understand why she went and did them.
Elan, Nale, Tarquin, and Elan's mother all have British accents.Elan would have one because I've heard a LOT of people saying that they think British accents are adorable. You can picture it, right? Nale and Tarquin... well, it'd RULE if they were Evil Brits. You can imagine them detailing their plans in suave, refined, RP accents. The mother needs one so that Elan could get his from somewhere. He uses American/Northern slang, but he has a British accent because he's copying his beloved mumsie!
Belkar will confess his feelings to Vaarsuvius just before he dies.According to the relationship chart in Don't Split the Party (and occasional hints in the story), Belkar wants to sleep with Vaarsuvius, for one reason or another. The more he expands into "pretend" character development, the more support he's going to show V until one day he realizes that, even if it's not really anything like love (which he only really has for his cat), V is still somehow important to him. This will inspire him to pretend to make a heartfelt declaration of feeling in order to get V into his bed. It won't work, and then he'll die, leaving V to wonder.
Zz'dtri is male.He's supposedly ambiguous like other elves, but then you realize that the Drow female stereotype is that they look like big-breasted sexpots. By process of elimination, Zz'dtri is a male.
Nale and Elan's names are anagrams of their mother's first nameWe haven't met her yet, but she could be named Lena, Nela, Elna, or Lean (pronounced Leanne, although that one's unlikely with a character named Lien in the strip already). We might even meet some male relatives named Alen or Neal!
Tarquin and Julio are twins (or at least brothers)Like Elan and Nale. Well, neither of their parents were mentioned, they seem around the same age and they are both supposed to be good-looking? And Tarquin is familiar with pun-dueling, although it seems to be rather rare.
The story of The Snarl as we know it is wrongOK, I know there are alot of more specific versions of this theory up above. All the more specific theories are equally likely, but I think we should get the evidence for this basic premise on this page somewhere. The main reason I think that the story is wrong is the fact that there is a "planet inside the planet" and the fact that this revelation, along with the line "perhaps we do not know everything we ought to regarding the task we are undertaking," ends a book. Note that all other books have significant forshadowing as their endings, too. There are several ways that the story of the snarl could be wrong. We only know about the Snarl from two seperate stories (told by Redcloak as revealed to him by The Dark One and told by Lord Shojo as revealed to him by Soon). Both The Dark One and (maybe) Soon got the story of the Snarl's creation from the Gods. This means that one of the following could be true: A) The gods lied. It was already explicitly stated that they tried to hide the Snarl's existence from the world, so what if 'the Snarl' is just another way to hide the real truth? See 1st panel of  B) The Dark One/Soon lied. They could have learned the real truth and been so horrified that they told an incomplete or inaccurate version to their followers. In The Dark One's case, this could be part of an evil plan that he thought his high priest wouldn't like, and in Soon's case it could be part of some promise he made with the other members of his party to not tell the truth (and who knows, maybe the Dark One told the Order of the Scribble this version of the story, and they believed it). We already know that Soon and the others promised to not tell people about the gate, which seems to contradict that Lord Shojo knows the story. C) Soon and the Order of the Scribble just guessed at the origin of the Snarl. The gods decided not to tell anyone (The Dark One, being a god, may have been an exception), so The Order of the Scribble must have figured out the story on their own, and they could have jumped to some incorrect conclusions. Note that in Start of Darkness, the origin of the Snarl is never discussed, just some vague lines about "you don't want to mess with it" and "we all now know what happens should we ever come to direct conflict." This could mean that, though The Dark One was told the origin of the Snarl, he never told his followers for the same reason the gods didn't. Chaotic Good afterlife, living it up with his girlfriend and mentor, thus fulfilling Elan's 'Happy Ending'. Plus whoever's in charge of the afterlife will, being Chaotic Good, find a way to bend the rules and let Elan and Roy visit each other occasionally, as a nod to Oh Buddy Roy.
As Shojo intended, Belkar is Becoming the MaskAs a textbook example, because of his fake character growth, Belkar feels able to act out of sympathy and kindness from time to time because he's "just keeping up the act" and over time, as seen in strip 807, he is getting to realise that Good Feels Good and he can assuage his anger by being gentle as easily as by ripping someone's head off etc. etc. It's only a matter of time before Belkar actually stops and makes informed decisions on whether responding to a situation with violence or kindness would feel better, at which point he shifts over to Neutral.
The Monster in the Darkness will have a Heel-Face Turn and destroy Xykon's PhylaceteryIn strip #147, Redcloak doesn't let the Monster hold Xykon's phylacetery because he says the Monster'll break it. The Monster's friendship with O-Chul starts the turn, and in the end the Monster will reveal themself — to help destroy Xykon.
Elan and Nale have a true neutral brotherIt's been mentioned in two strips, and The Order of the Stick has a habit of bringing back one time jokes 500 chapters later.
Vaarsuvius is maleThe Giant had a gender intended, but decided to go for the joke when no one could figure it out. Note Belkar's reaction in the 6th panel of this strip. He or Roy wouldn't respond that way if Vaarsuvius was female. It's possible both think Vaarsuvius is male without being sure, but this is an early strip, perhaps before the Giant decided to keep Vaarsuvius' gender a mystery.
The planet within the planet is an accidental, and inevitable, creation of the SnarlThe Snarl is literally an incredibly potent bundle of divine energy (energy SPECIFICALLY USED TO BUILD A WORLD, no less) driven by pure chaos. From this, we can assume that the energy that composes it, having been rubbing against itself in an infinite number of ways for an undisclosed amount of time, eventually led to the creation of another set of Gods, who eventually made their own world. As for why the Snarl didn't destroy them: being that they (and everything else in the rift, due to it being a completely empty void except for the Snarl) are literally made of the Snarl, and so it can't distinguish them, or their planet from itself.
Haley is Orrin Draketooth's missing daughterSeriously. The legendary rouge has a red-haired daughter (when Burlew didn't need to show hair at all), who mysteriously vanishes from her mother's care, when we already know that Haley was raised by her father, who shares a character class and a hair color with her Draketooth. [[Foreshadowing Haley even compares Draketooth to her father in the strip where this is all introduced!]]
Girard Draketooth is a pseudonymWhy would a paranoid illusionist be using his real name after all?
It was the IFCC, not the Monster in the Darkness, that saved V and O-Chul from XykonIf Xykon had killed V, then the IFCC wouldn't have been able to get much use out of V's soul. V would just be stuck in the Lower Planes for a short time, and they clearly have many spellcasters that are higher-leveled than V at their disposal. They need him alive so they can take control of him to ruin everything at a critical moment, so they were the ones who arranged for the Deus ex Machina that saved V at the last moment. "Framing" the Monster in the Darkness would also have the fringe benefit of keeping Xykon from suspecting their involvement. (As an epic level spellcaster, Xykon would be powerful enough to be a serious threat to the IFCC if he put his mind to it.)
Durkon will return home aliveHe asked how he would "finally" be returning home. As in, the final time. So it seems likely that he will return home at least once before he dies, bringing death and destruction with him (this jives more with Law of Conservation of Detail), leave, then return again when he dies to be buried in what remains of his caves.
Three Fiends will try to off TarquinTarquin has recently joined forces with Nale and Linear Guild as as we all know Fiends use the Guild as their unwilling pawns. Having somebody as Dangerously Genre Savvy as Tarquin messing in their plans would be a diseaster, so Fiends will try to get rid of him.
Elan and Nale don't have another twin brother they don't know about.They have twin sister they don't know about.
Tarquin will betray NaleSomebody so Dangerously Genre Savvy and in love with story structure should know that when there is Villain Team-Up there is going to be betrayal and that his partner is prone to Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. It's only logical he will betray him first.
The MitD is an angelNot the [good] outsider, but the real deal
Xykon will be set up as the Disc One Final Boss to the IFCC, but will hijack the plot at the climax.At some point, Xykon and his phylactery will seemingly be destroyed, allowing the Fiends to take over as main Big Bads. Then, during the Final Battle, it will turn out that the phylactery was a decoy Xykon created after getting his real one back, which was then hidden away somewhere. He'll then regenerate in secret, then make a grand entrance during the climax, leading his forces against the weakened forces of both the Order/their allies and the IFCC, in the process proving himself worse than the Directors could hope to be.
Right-Eye's spirit will appear at some pointPerhaps near the climax of the story, he'll start haunting Redcloak, playing the part of his conscience, trying to talk him into a Heel-Face Turn. Then Tsukiko will find out and inform Xykon, who'll capture and torment Right-Eye's spirit, which will cause Redcloak to snap — even if it's not a full HFT, it'll at least be an Enemy Civil War.
Belkar's death will be a Dying Moment of AwesomeRegardless of the situation, we know that this has to happen — after all, you either have the Sexy Shoeless God of War go out with a bang, or you don't kill him off at all.
Thog will team up with Team Evil.Tarquin's forced the Guild to abandon him, right? So, he'll probably escape from the Empire of Blood, wander around a bit, and then run into Team Evil. After he kills a few wights and/or hobgoblins, Xykon is impressed enough to keep him around as extra muscle. At the very least, this'll offer the opportunity for him to strike up a friendship with the MitD — they're both Psychopathic Men Children and dumb as bricks, so I imagine they'll get along.
Elan and Haley will have Babies Ever After by the end of the series.We already know Elan gets a happy ending. That practically guarantees that Haley is there with him, as otherwise he wouldn't be fully happy, if happy at all. They are an official couple. So, by the end, Elan and Haley are together and living peacefully. Babies Ever After is not illogical as a conclusion.
Redcloak will try to abandon the Plan, but will have a Heel Face Door Slam.This is related to the "Redcloak will give up on the Plan" one further up the page. The sequence of events described there will probably play out, but then something will happen that prevents him from completing the Heel-Face Turn. Perhaps:
Kraagor/Serini's Gate is in or near the dwarven homelands.This would make a pretty good reason for the Order to go there, thus allowing for the prophecy about Durkon causing it to be destroyed.
The evil souls will return as a Quirky Miniboss Squad.The IFCC will eventually need V brought to them so they can cash in on their deal (without wasting any time on it), so they'll dispatch these three to retrieve V. Perhaps it'll even be Qarr's suggestion, as he'll point out that they can't really trust Sabine to properly manipulate the Guild in their favor anymore because of her feelings for Nale, thus making it necessary to get some new minions in the field. As for why this is a feasible idea: 1) These souls were specifically chosen for the Soul Splice because they were the strongest, most evil souls the Directors had at their disposal. And don't forget the ghost-martyrs of the Sapphire Guard — we know that spirits can physically interact with the living world, so why wouldn't you send the most powerful ones at your disposal when you need something important done? 2) From a thematic viewpoint, this would be a great redemptive step for V, complete with Hannibal Lectures from the souls (Haerta seems like she might be the most prone to it), and V shutting them up, with help from the Order.
The Dark One (and by extension, Redcloak) and the IFCC will team up.The Dark One wants equality for the goblin races, something that was denied them by the gods, though probably just the good gods, as we know at least some of the evil gods (like Tiamat) are the Dark One's allies. Meanwhile, the Archfiends have implied in their conversations with Qarr and Vaarsuvius that their ultimate goal (or part of it) is to invade the Upper Planes and bring down the gods of Good. So, perhaps they can work out a compromise of sorts — once they gain control of the Snarl, they use it to defeat the Good gods, and then the remaining Evil (and possibly the Neutral ones) can grant the goblins equality (or possibly even superiority, at this point).
Elan and Nale have a True Neutral sister as mentioned above, but not a fraternal (or half-identical) triplet.She's Elan's half-sister, through his and Nale's mother. There's a strong chance that she's either older than Elan by several years or only now about half a year old (and hey, babies are technically True Neutral/Neutral Hungry).
Elan's four family members each have different strengths and weaknesses regarding their INT/WIS scores.Elan: Kind of low in both, because of his amazing Charisma.
Nale: Quite low in WIS, but with a decent CHA and high INT to enable his multiclass-mishmash to be anywhere near as effective as a straight-up Bard (though he has recently been using his magic more effectively, which also hints at him having a strong INT). His Intelligence lets him think of fiendishly complicated plans, but his low WIS keeps him from being able to let them unfold properly without doing something foolish.
Tarquin: Above-average WIS and decent CHA but below-average INT. He's better than Nale at reading people and situations, but instead of doing "so much more", he sticks to the small-time Banana Republic grifts he can handle (big enough to make him comfortable in this life and a legend afterward, but nothing unnecessarily expansive) and lets Malack (or whomever is in on a given scheme) do most of the stuff that non-WIS, INT-based planning.
Elan's Mum: High WIS and INT (her INT is a given, with what we've seen of her wait-staff planning). Her dump stat is CON, because she doesn't really need it with a reasonably high DEX and a passable-for-a-commoner Strength, what with being a waitress in what appears to be a first-world country instead of an adventurer.
At some point this year, Belkar will draw a picture.....which will be titled 'His Last Breath.' The Oracle only heard that 'Belkar will draw "His Last Breath" this year', and assumed it meant Belkar would die.
Xykon will attempt to take Kraagor's Gate first.Because punishing Roy for being too specific once just wouldn't be enough. He asked for the first of the two gates Xykon would be within of first, not which one he'd actually attack. Xykon will approach Girard's gate first, but with both the Order and Linear Guild (which has access to the forces of at least 1, possibly 3, local empires, should Tarquin decide keeping Xykon from it is important enough) attempting to take it, he turns around and heads for the last gate.
Belkar will not die because of his fake Character DevelopmentThe last time the oracle said anything about his fate, he'd only just activated the Mark of Justice, and had yet to start his development. Now that he has, the future events have changed, but the oracle hasn't shown up to say anything about it. Before, he would have reached a point where he was left for dead because he was seen as too evil to bother rescuing. Now, however, his development, fake or not, will convince someone he's at the very least redeemable, and so avert the prophecy. Note the passcode required to remove Belkar's Mark of Justice: "Evolve or Die", which in the context of the dream/hallucination/ghost Shojo's comments could easily mean 'Develop your character or get killed off.'
The MiTD is an Atropal.Think about this one for a minute. It's constantly surrounded by undead, it has a childlike disposition, absurd powers for its size, and is supposed to be utterly terrifying. What could be more terrifying than an undead god fetus?
Nale has one more Linear Guild member in hiding.We still didn't meet a Durkon equiviliant during the fight. Malack may be taking up that role at the moment, but that doesn't mean that Nale didn't simply have his divine caster sitting off in the sidelines and waiting for the right moment to strike. This last Linear Guilder is probably a former member who hasn't been seen for awhile, like Leeky or Hilgya. And they are either the ally who's supposed to cast the ritual, or they are hiding out and waiting to free Thog and take him to reunite with the rest of the guild at the Gate
Elan's plan is for Durkon to cast Detect Good on Tarquin.Elan comes up with his plan after Roy says the phrase "But I think in your case, it's better to find that sense of family among people that are good than it is to find a sense of good inside your family". Elan, being Elan, ignores the actual sentiment of Roy's statement and latches on to the words "sense" and "good". His plan is to prove that his father has good in him by having Durkon use magic to show everyone his alignment. What else would he need Durkon for? Of course, this will backfire spectacularly when Durkon casts his spell and proves that Tarquin is evil through and through, causing Elan to suffer a Heroic BSOD and then finally get the resolve to defeat his father.
When Belkar dies, he'll still hang around the party as a ghost.Mostly to make sure Mr. Scruffy's still doing OK, as I doubt the Order would just abandon the cat by the wayside. Heck, the Scruffinator could be to Belkar what Roy's sword was to Eugene. And naturally, the reason Belkar will even be able to do this is because his partly-fake-partly-real character development will be enough to make the underworld completely confused about where to send him, giving him the opportunity to pop back in to the mortal world as a ghost.
Haley is directly related to Girard... but was spared Familicide thanks to her father being in a powerful antimagic field at the time.Yeah, I went there. The Familicide spell couldn't find Ian because he was protected by the antimagic field, and since it couldn't find Ian, it couldn't trace his own bloodline down to Haley. Aunt Ivy, as Ian's sister, would have also been struck down unless she had been sneaking Ian and Geoff food at that exact moment (which would make sense if she had, as it was lunchtime), but we currently do not actually know that Ivy is alive anyway.
Not every one in universe who has the same color of hair is directly related.Ok, I know that this is a long stretch but work with me. There maybe a genetic trait that is in universe that can be found in anyone that determines hair color. And though some hair colors appear less often than others, the hair color itself might not be exclusive to just certain families. The proof is even though Penelope is a red head, the fact that she dated Orrin without it raising a few eyebrows suggests that they might not be related at all.
Redcloak believes Xykon in panel 3 of this exchangeNot because Xykon is telling the truth or anything. Far from it. He's lying through his teeth. It's just that Xykon is an epic level character, estimated to be about 32nd level if his fire immunity comes from a self-crafted ring and not simply an abuse of the custom item creation table. If he is 32nd level, then with bluff as the only Charisma-based class skill of sorcerers, and assuming it is maxed out or nearly so, that means that he's got something like 35 ranks + massive Charisma vs. Redcloak's decent Wisdom + at most 10 ranks in Sense Motive (what with it being a cross-class skill), and him spending a lot of his skill points in various knowledge skills, Xykon merely did this comic with less humourous overtones. In other words, he can beat the +20 to deceive someone with an insane, outright unbelievable lie. Xykon has already bluffed other people, like the Order itself, even though he said out loud "wink, wink"
Vaarsuvius will go Dark Willow again without the help of the IFCC.He'll be too ashamed to tell the Order what he's done, re: the Draketooth family, and maintaining the lie will antagonize him against the Order. Either that or he'll tell them and they will ostracize him. Like with Belkar, the Order is what keeps him from being a villain.
Vaarsuvius's Mea Maxima Culpa has jarred him out of Neutral into Good, and he'll atone enough for a surprise positive afterlife.With Vaarsuvius this shaken by the enormity of his act, there's no way he'll allow himself to stray now - and he considers his own life forfeit as The Atoner. This'll be vital at some climactic point in the future. He'll go through life believing that he deserves every punishment, but recall how the celestial realm judged Roy: Trying to do good, even in the face of great mistakes, counts in their system of justice. Since Vaarsuvius has lost his self-centered nature, he'll be able to make sacrifices that, while certainly not erasing the original sin, at least give him comfort after death. Alt: After the story is finished, he wanders the world doing good for centuries, until finally he can rest.
The order will be forced to destroy Girard's gateAs we can see, Girard's main defenses to protect the gate are shut down because no one can maintain them. There may be some real threats added in as well so no one can tell what is real and what is fake but for the most part, it is defenseless. Now the order might try some patch work defenses like having V. cast some of the spells, resurrecting certain Draketooth family members who know how the spell works or requesting aid from the sapphire guild but with both the Linear guild and team evil knowing where the gate it, they may have to go it alone. Now if we can assume that they do not know the consequences of destroying each gate or forced to pick the lesser of two evils, on top of the fact that most stories like to run down the clock before the heroes can win, the order may be forced to cut their losses, destroy the gate, and race the villains to the last one.
The fiends will use their deal with V to manifest in the material plane.The terms of Vaarsuvius' deal specify that for every minute of Soul Splice, his/her soul will spend one minute with each soul's owner. "With." Not "in the service of," and not "in Hell with." The terms of the deal would be satisfied by bringing V to the nether realms, but they could just as easily permit the fiends - who aren't allowed to manifest in the mortal world outside of a bargain - to appear at V's side. Whether the elf goes to the demons or the demons come to the elf, the deal is satisfied. And the IFCC could wreak a lot of havoc in 45 minutes.
The corpse was telling the truth.In panel 845, Durkon used the spell speak with dead, who then said that Girard's rift is in between his butt cheeks, a typical moment of ass humor perfect for a chaotic NPC to stick it to the lawful PCs. But what if he was serious. In a few panels before when the PCs walked into the pyramid, they walked by the statue of Girard Draketooth. Now if that is where the rift is, then the Draketooth corpse was not lying and in fact the rift is in between Girard's butt cheeks. Besides, is there a better way than to tell the world to "kiss my ass" after death?
Redcloak has regenerated his eye.Redcloak regenerated his eye shortly after getting the patch, but keeps it on to make Xykon believe that he is obeying his orders. Whenever he is alone, he takes the patch off so that he doesn't have eye problems. Admit it, it would be totally cool: in the moment when Redcloak betrays Xykon (when the Plan gets carried on), he will take off the patch and say "Damn, I was fed up of this stupid patch", and by then Xykon will realise the size of his folly in trusting Redcloak's plan. Then, either Redcloak manages to pull off something that destroys Xykon (and the Monster in the Darkness attacks Redcloak due to his betrayal of Xykon), or Xykon could attempt to kill Redcloak but then the Dark God saves Redcloak by taking him away or by using something similar to Thor's Thunders to destroy Xykon. Alternatively, Xykon could get killed by the Snarl.
Elan's Plan is to call his mother inRoy's statement about finding family in people who are good instead of good in family reminded Elan about his Chaotic Good mother, that unnamed barmaid. Elan had Durkon cast a sending telling her about Tarquin's evil. When Elan's mom arrives, there'll be some touching reunions... then she'll sue Tarquin for unpaid alimony. The utter absurdity of it all (Plus the amount being charged) will not only bankrupt the Empire of Blood, but also torpedo Tarquin's plan of having a totally badass finish.
Soon and Girard blame each other for Kraagor's death.We pretty much know Girard's side of the story, he blames Soon for ordering the sealing of the Rift which cost Kraagor his life, but what if it went both ways? Girard is pretty anti-authoritarian so he might have disobeyed an order that knocked him out of the fight (we don't see him in the final fight), but Girard finds it easier to blame Soon then acknowledge that if he followed Soon's order, Kraagor might have lived. Soon just doesn't dwell on it anymore (being dead does that to you).
Soon wasn't at odds with all the Scribblers by the end itThe party wasn't Soon vs Everyone. Everyone had their own personal likes and dislikes, but they knew they couldn't function as bridges for the ones that hated each other (kind of like Magic the Gathering where each color has two more or less aligned colors that also happen to be opposed). Serini was the only one everyone liked by the end (so I won't include her in this analysis). My guess is the party breakdown went like this (includes my theorized personal views on each based off what I know at this time):
By the end of the series, Elan and Haley will have broken up as a subversion of Happily Ever After and Babies Ever After.Haley will eventually complete her emotional growth, learn to trust and open up as much as she chooses...and then start to question the validity of her feelings for him, because those trust issues are what made her find him attractive in the first place. Once she doesn't need him to make her a better person, she'll come to the conclusion that a non-adventuring relationship with Elan just wouldn't work, and break up with him amicably before it can go bad (though she'll always wonder how it might have gone). Elan will then complete his character growth when he has to deal with it, and find his happy ending some other way after the breakup: the Oracle said it ended well for Elan, after all.
Therkla will return... as a succubus!Okay, this is stretching a little, but; If you look at the circumstances of her death; She was a lawful neutral or lawful evil character (I can't remember if her alignment was ever given, but she obeys a master and he's evil, so non-lawful and good alignments are out of the question), however she betrayed her master (a chaotic act). As a result she might end up in the pit and become a demon. Since her sin (and reason for betraying her master) was lust, a succubus would make sense. Alternatively, if she ends up in a LE afterlife she could still come back as an equivlent devil (I can't remember if there's an equivelent, maybe a Lilinnote or an Erinyes, although their fluff might not quite fit). Either way, she could end up as a counterpart (or replacement) for Sabine.
Xykon knows what Redcloak is really up to; he just doesn't care.Xykon knows full well what Redcloak is planning to do with the Gate, but Xykon is fully confident that the Dark One's plan won't work because it basically relies on blackmail and a constant threat. Since the Snarl is basically dormant (and Xykon is fully capable of flying and seeing what was inside the rift; Redcloak isn't) there's no real danger of opening a Gate onto the realm of the gods. He's going to wait for Redcloak's plan to fail, call him an idiot, bully him into being properly loyal, and use the Gate to control the real world by tossing ordinary humans into God-knows-where. It doesn't actually change his plans if the world on the other side of the Gate isn't actually dangerous as long as he knows it can remove them from their lives and possibly their chosen deities.
Belkar will become trapped on the Astral PlaneThe Astral Plane suspends the need to eat and breathe, he isn't on this world, and since he's going to not be able to do anything that can affect the world, he doesn't need to bother funding his IRA (and since he's trapped, he'll never eat again, making his next birthday cake his last). While he survives... He'll wish he didn't.
Tarqin will suffer a horrible fate......Elan will find a way to defeat him where he isn't remembered for all time. That's all it take for a crushing defeat for Tarqin, and Elan is humble enough to not need all his deeds known about.
V will (somehow) become a succubus.When the IFCC are almost done with the time V owes hir soul to them, they'll decide to turn hir into a succubus just for kicks and giggles. (C'mon, turning the ambiguously gendered elf into a personification of illicit sex would be freaking hilarious.) At the end of the year, Belkar will for some reason be low on hit points. (Perhaps he'll be sick? And he'll have irritated Durkon enough to not get healed?) When they count down to the new year, V will decide to give Belkar a kiss — which will drain the last of Belkar's energy. He'll die, and the Afterlife will be so great, he won't want to come back. (Yes, I know it's not so much a "Wild Mass Guess" as a "Totally Insane Mass Guess."
Tarquin's plan will be foiled by Villain DecayThe entire point of Tarquin's plan is that, if he is ever defeated, the story of his defeat will go down in history, with him as the Bad Ass General. Which is already working, as we are reading the story, and we see him as a Dangerously Genre Savvy Bad Ass General. So the only way for his plan to be foiled is for him to lose that respect we currently have for him. He will be Out-Gambitted, Overshadowed by Awesome, and swallow an Idiot Ball, leaving him a complete failure of a villain by the time anyone bothers to kill him.
Vaarsuvius will achieve complete and total ultimate arcane power from Banjo the ClownThe Oracle said "By saying the right four words, to the right being, at the right time, for all the wrong reasons." There were 3 demons, so they weren't the right "being" Furthermore "I- I must succeed" is a lame excuse for four words. V showed interest in worshipping Banjo, but didn't because he didn't have espresso coffee. If Elan manages to get an espresso coffee maker, V might worship Banjo, who will use his magical puppet powers to give V arcane power. The four words being "I will worship Banjo" or something like that.
Vaarsuvius will admit to Tarquin that s/he is his wife's murdererIn Vaarsuvius' first true step for redemption he will admit that the spell that was designed to kill off the black dragon family ended up killing his wife as well. However, when Tarquin tries to enact justice, either Vaarsuvius will either stop him from enacting it out or the order of the stick will, because an unrepentant murderer can not bring justice to a repentant one. Afterwards V will stay with the party as a penance and only after the threat of the Snarl is over, will he give himself up to the authorities.
Belkar will be killed by Kilkil.He's slated to die soon, and it would be wonderfully ironic to a.) be killed by the Linear Guild's kobold who b.) looks so obviously nonthreatening.
Instead of fighting his father, Elan will get V to kill him.Because there is nothing worse he can do to General Tarquin than make sure the latter goes down in history as a random Evil Chancellor who gets disintegrated on the heroes' way to liberate the empire from the evil dragon ruling them.
Elan will use the spell Glibness.The demonstration that Haley did early with the potion of Glibness was Fore Shadowing for Elan learning the Glibness spell upon leveling up. He may or may not spend a few more skill points on his bluff until then.
Kilkil will be killedMaking his name Meaningful. It will probably Belkar, who turns his head into... a bag?
Tarquin's plan will be foiled by Villain DecayThe entire point of Tarquin's plan is that, if he is ever defeated, the story of his defeat will go down in history, with him as the Bad Ass General. Which is already working, as we are reading the story, and we see him as a Dangerously Genre Savvy Bad Ass General. So the only way for his plan to be foiled is for him to lose that respect we currently have for him. He will be Out-Gambitted, Overshadowed by Awesome, and swallow an Idiot Ball, leaving him a complete failure of a villain by the time anyone bothers to kill him.
Redcloak's Ritual will be somehow completed by ElanNaturally, giving control of the Gate(s) to Banjo the Clown.
The identity of the MitD will never be revealed.As with a lot of mysteries which have been gradually built up to a big revelation, there's a chance that if we were to learn exactly what the MitD really was it would be something of an anti-climax no matter what it was. Ergo, we'll never learn precisely what it is. At most, if/when it's cover of darkness is broken, all that will be seen will be a blinding and all-obscuring bright light, and the reactions of various awestruck characters saying things along the lines of "What is that?!" and "Is that a...?" before being cut off.
Belkar will die protecting Vaarsuvius, and Vaarsuvius will take his spirit on as a Soul-Splice.Belkar and V obviously care about each other in some capacity or another; when Belkar is killed trying to save/protect V, he'll end up in one of the lower planes in the service of the IFCC... and immediately request to be spliced back to V (because, being a Ranger, he really does have spell levels, it's just that his Wisdom score is in the crapper). The IFCC will do it because Belkar is as likely to drive V mad with murderous rage as anyone else, and the guilt of having Belkar around will make V more vulnerable in the future. But Belkar, whether because he actually has found himself some character development or other motive to do good in the world, just drops what he knows about the IFCC on Vaarsuvius and stays spliced to him to be able to help; although this won't save V's soul at all, at least when he finally passes on, he and Belkar won't be alone in serving the interests of evil.
Xykon knows what lies beyond the Gates.
Xykon knows Redcloak is lying about the Gate Ritual but doesn't know how.Redcloak's major ace in the hole is that he knows something about the gate ritual he's not telling Xykon and he plans to use it against Xykon once the ritual is complete. Xykon, however, had a chance to figure out how much Redcloak was actually telling him, though - Tsukiko. He made sure his half of the gate ritual got to Tsukiko then sent the MiTD to tell her it's only half a ritual knowing she'd seek out Redcloak's half. He then sat back and watched how Redcloak would respond to that; when Redcloak killed Tsukiko that told Xykon Redcloak was hiding something. This would explain why Xykon wasn't at all upset at Tsukiko's death - By getting killed she told him more than she ever could have realistically figured out on her own.
Redcloak will betray Xykon once he's outlived his usefulness, but not before giving him an Ironic Echo of Xykon's Eviler than Thou speech from Start of Darkness.Throw in a "dramatically smashing Xykon's phylactery" scene, and the circle will be complete.
Vaarsuvius will end up with a long IOU list for hir soul.
Vaarsuvius will be redeemed eventually.
Belkar is really good in bedYou know what they say with men big feet. Belkar has been able to successfully seduce several women of the course of the comic, even though he is the single most vile person on the planet, and must have a charisma score in the negatives. The only conclusion, he rolls nothing but 20s in bed.
Nale will destroy Girard's GateWhat's really struck me about this latest story arc is the way it's put pressure on Nale. Not only has he been forced into the race for the Gates to an unprecedented extent, but more importantly, we've introduced a pair of characters who put his ingenuity to the test more than ever before. Tarquin and especially Malack put Nale in the same position Belkar was in while suffering from the Mark of Justice: he must evolve or die. Before now, Nale's solution to any given problem has been to assemble a team to tackle it head-on, but that's never beaten the OOTS, and with Tarquin, Malack and Xykon in the game the inadequacy of these tactics will become progressively more apparent. Nale's only hope of survival against such enemies is to display a level of cunning he's never shown before. With his back to the wall, Nale will only have one option to eliminate all his enemies: blow the Gate, destroying all his enemies in one fell swoop before teleporting to safety. He'll have to sacrifice Z'driti in the process, but that only makes sense: he's one of the last original members of the Linear Guild, and Nale's sacrificed Thog already this arc, the latest casualty of the comics systematic purge of stupid evil characters (see also: Samantha, Tsukiko, Crystal, Yukyuk). Having the fight for Girard's Gate end this way would also fit the recurring theme whereby a Gate's defense is overcome by a subversion of the Guardian's values: Just like Lirian's faith in Nature is overpowered by an unnatural foe and Soon's faith in the unbreakable honor of a paladin is betrayed by a fallen paladin, so Girard's faith in the loyalty of family will be foiled by a dysfunctional family member who in so doing attempts to kill his father and brother in the same moment. Having had to face the fire head-on and surviving, Nale will have finally ascend to the level of the other main antagonists in the comic, becoming a major player in the rush for Kraagor's Gate.
The Dark One's Plan will not be necessaryGoblins will achieve equality some other way. They already have their own city, Gobbotopia, why must that be the end of it?
Kilkil will fall under Bait the DogThe other two members from the Empire of Blood did so, why not him? He's an unassuming nerd-like Punch Clock Villain: Perhaps he's a massive sadist. Perhaps the comic will make a joke about it, like with Toby, a casual mention of some heinous Offstage Villainy and then he's dispatched.
Vaarsuvius' gender will be revealed......via a Groin Attack.
Redcloak will get a series of natural 20s when he finally betrays Xykon.When the goat turns red strikes true. When the coat turns red strikes true. When the Red coat turns the Red Mantle strikes true. When Redcloak turns coat the Red Mantle strikes true.
V's Prophecy is only half doneAs in to say, that while she had fulfilled the 'right four words to the right people at the right time for all the wrong reasons', she has not gained 'Ultimate Arcane Power' yet. This is because those words didn't EARN her it yet but instead set her on the path to it, which, given how the Oracle works, probably fits the prophecy.
Some people essentially have their soul/concience in an animal.The ones I'm thinking about are Belkor and Scruffy, Xykon and his dog, and V and Blackwing. This means it's impossable for them to become good without the animal, and if the animal dies before it has meaningful impact on their morality they will never become good unless the animal is revived (zombification does not count). This is why Belkor was not even slightly good until he met Scruffy. The reason V was never as bad as Belkor or Xykon on screan is that Blackwing was right there with him, but he was not actually close to good until he started really acknowledging Blackwing. Xykons dog died when he was a kid without making and meaningful impact on him which made him evil from that second and continuing to get worse.
Hinjo will become a Fallen PaladinBefore Shojo's death, Hinjo was a paladin, and able to follow laws to the letter because that was all he had to worry about. However, he is also a patriot and will fight for his homecity. He's also rather bloodthirsty when it comes to the goblins when they invade. With Xykon no longer caring about Azure City, Hinjo will be free to purge the city of the goblins in a war. Jirix, and possibly Redcloak, will fight, lose, and surrender, only for Hinjo to execute them, which is unlawful and will result in a fall. But he'll understand, change his alignment to Neutral Good, and be a ruler like Shojo.
Belkar has become a Death Seeker.Based on what we see in the Lotus-Eater Machine.
The Lotus-Eater Machine runes are the happy ending promised by the Oracle, but only in an Exact Words / Prophecy Twist senseElan's exact question to the Oracle was if the story was going to have a happy ending. Given the nature of the illusion, whether Elan will have a real happy ending or not has become an open question.
Belkar's going to be pissed at the Order when he realizes in the Lotus-Eater Machine illusion, his so-called allies resurrected neither him nor Mr. Scruffy.He won't betray them now, because his leverage at the moment is minimal, but the moment they're back at civilization, he's ditching them.
Girard's illusion uses a Dream Within a Dream setup.The first layer is a Lotus-Eater Machine. The second layer is used after the first has been realized, forcing people to live out their "realistic expectations" layer.
Goblin Dan will be far more instrumental in Goblinoid equality than Redcloak doesA big reason for the inequality is due to resource distribution. However, if there was a way to easily get food to people, a big reason for raiding will stop. So, instead of creating animosity like Redcloak does, Goblin Dan will build his people up instead of taking from others.
Nale and Zz'dtri will walk right into the illusionPreferably with Elan warning them about it precisely because he knows Nale totally won't listen to him. Malack, being Dangerously Genre Savvy, will lag enough to keep himself and Durkon out of it, and as a favor to Durkon make up something along the lines of "Gosh, darn, I'm not sure if any of my prepared spells could snap them out of that. I will have to take a lot of time and go through all of them. I sure hope the Order doesn't run and save themselves like a certain cleric of theirs would want or anything!". The Order will take the hint and book it further in.
Serini will have taken at least one level of Paladin if/when she shows up for Kraagor's gate.Rich said the schism between the Order of the Scribble is important to the plot and will be explained, and with every other member of that group confirmed dead it's up to her to explain that to us, so... anyway, there was a throwaway line where she expressed a desire to multiclass to Paladin, and we know how Rich loves bringing things back later on.
Tarquin's Buisness with Kilkil at the top of the pyramid is setting up the 2nd biggest reveal of all.And the reveal will be that Tarquin and Xykon are one and the same with the living identity: Tarquin being a polymorph using Xykon's real unknown name. We know that before meeting Redcloak Xykon ran out of Toadies due to "creative differences" which is similar to Nale's rebellion against Tarquin (Malack does not seem to be a Toady unlike the Goblins). Kilkil is either Redcloak in a polymorph or a henchman for Xykon's plan serving as an evil counterpart for Belkar.
Banjo the puppet will get a Big Damn Heroes moment.As Haley revealed, rivals get the others levels so each them are on even footing for a big "showdown". Now, Elan made a rival for Banjo, and gave it to an island filled with Orcs, which now has a lot of believers, meaning it should be an actual deity at this point. If the rivals thing applies to gods as well, Banjo should be just as powerful, meaning the spark will be able to smite even a Lich.
The final gate is in Durkon's homeland.The prophecy says that if he returns, it will bring disaster and doom on his homeland. Durkon is now a vampire in thrall to the bad guys. No way his homecoming is going to end well anyway at this point, so it makes perfect sense that the final gate — and thus the final climactic confrontation — will take place there.
It's all a ruse by the Eastern gods.Tired of the strife and conflict with the other gods with their own visions of the world, the Eastern gods simply left and created the other world within the gates. They created the idea of the Snarl to deter the other gods from investigating. This other world is Earth, and the ancient greek creation myths are a heavily veiled reference to the other gods - the titans of mythology. The three hooded demon guys are greek gods, trying to secure Earth from interference by people and gods from the Oot S universe. D&D are the true laws of the universe, and exists on Earth because the Gates are failing to keep the Oot S universe out.
When Xykon meets with the Order again, he will remember who Vaarsuvius is.Roy is not amused.
Roy's plan of destroying Girard's Gate will NOT end well.I've noticed that the destruction of the gates tend to have some pretty odd effects on the areas around them. Azure city currently has purple skies, and a big gaping hole in the sky. It's also highly possible that destroying further gates increases the effect they have on their areas around them. Destroying Girard's Gate could lead to bigger immediate problems.
Hinjo will get an Eyepatch of PowerIt may be temporary from getting a damaged eye in the absence of a cleric or permanent. When it happens, he will turn out to have actually kept the eyepatch he confiscated from Elan and it will come in quite handy. Elan's parting words to Hinjo in this comic could be foreshadowing to this.
A young Miko Miyazaki made a deal with KyubeyDistraught over the loss of her parents, she made a contract that would let her have an important destiny to make up for things. This let her claw her way up to the highest echelons of Azure City. Unfortunately, "important" doesn't mean "good". Her actions helped lead to the murder of an important public figure, the downfall of Azure City, the subjugation of her people, the destruction of her order, and the destabilization of the whole of reality. Fortunately, Miko died before grief could turn her into a witch.
We will get to see Malack's "children" via flashback.One of them, if not all three, will look familiar. (Have no idea who they would be, but it seems like a great place to hide one of story's secrets)
Nale wanted to murder Malack because he put sprinkles on his ice cream.
Malack: Hey birthday kid, you want some ice cream?
9YearOld!Nale: Yes, but no sprinkles! For every sprinkle I find, I shall kill you!
The last murder by Tarquin might not be what it seems.What if Tarquin actually wants to save Nale from the revenge of Malack's friends? Now that they think that Malack is avenged, Tarquin can retrieve the corpse, later resurrect the dead guy and send him on his way. Oh, if you want to be really paranoid: what if the murder was planned in advance by Tarquin and somebody else? For example, IIFC may have their claws in it - perhaps even with Sabine's consent. Even Nale could be in on the plan, although that one is a bit harder to swallow.
Tarquin just screwed up big time.And he doesn't even know it. Only Sabine seemed to know that the IFFC wanted the Linear Guild around and want something with the gates. Given how they likely need Nale for that, they're either demonize or resurrect him and let him gun for Tarquin. Or possibly Sabine. Since they'd have the "you betrayed and killed me" or "you killed my beloved" trope behind them, they'll stand a chance rather than it being a tossup as Tarquin regurally describes Evil vs. Evil to be.
Tarquin's last murder was to motivate Elan to want to kill him.He expects Elan to be the end of him, but Elan was going to do it with a least some degree of reluctance. Now, killing someone Elan knows, then acting as if it were no kind of tragedy, may be exactly the kind of thing needed to change Elan's mind. And, cherry on the cake, Tarquin is using one of the very reasons of Elan's reluctance to go with the narrative against him, namely the fact he cares about his family members even if they're bad people.
The Empress of Blood is practicing a lot of Obfuscating Stupidity.So far, we haven't seen a dumb dragon in the comic except the Empress, even though red dragons are supposed to be one of the smartest and most cunning types of dragon. Maybe she actually is smart and cunning, but she was deliberately hiding it from Tarquin and Malack so they'd set her up as the easily-manipulated figurehead. She would then be in charge of an efficient empire with a well-trained army and a well-organized bureaucracy without having to do any actual work because Tarquin, Malack, and Kilkil are doing it all for her. Further, by continuing to play the part of the easily-confused dullard, she ensures that Tarquin retains enough power, influence, and resources to want to keep her there rather than overthrowing her like he did to the others before her. With Malack destroyed all she has to do is wait for Tarquin to die of old age (or other causes that can't be linked to her) and she has full control of one of the strongest and best-organized nations in the webcomic without having to have so much as raised a claw.
Tarquin is slowly having a Villainous Breakdown over Nale's death.Hence the whole "kill the Order of the Stick so you can take your rightful place as Hero" thing.
Xykon is going to kill Tarquin. Painfully.Why? Because Tarquin not only waved Xykon off as a sub boss, the man mispronounced Xykon's name as Zyklon. People getting his name wrong is among the biggesr of Xykon's Berserk Button issues.
Thog and/or Sabine will ally with the Order of The StickSabine needs a new set of puppets for whatever the IFCC is planning. The Order of the Stick is perfect as it includes the only other person besides her to mourn Nale's death and another member is already in debt to the IFCC. Elan is friends with Thog and quite possibly the only character that can control and/or understand him at this point.
The three fiends will not be as generous with the V next two times they cash in their time.V owes three separate fiends time, and while they are working together they could easily agree that each decides how lawful to be with their time. That junk about breach of contract might not be as important to the chaotic evil fiend.
The Order will forgive V for the Familicide incident once s/he explains what happened.Mostly because of awesome You Are Better Than You Think You Are lines from Elan. Example:
The Snarl world is Golarion.All those loose creation-threads finally resolved themselves.
Tarquin will fall before the combined might of the empires of sweat and tears.After the rest of the party decide he's become a liability to their scheme.
Elan will make Tarquin look like a hero.Elan and the Order of the Stick will launch an attack on the Empire of Blood and kill Tarquin. Elan will then disguise himself as his father (using illusions or his armor) and slay the Empress of Blood and "die" in the process. They will also take down all of Tarquin's remaining teammates either before or after (or simultaneous attacks). Now, no matter what anybody says, Tarquin will be hailed as a deep-cover hero who died valiantly to free the Western Continent from the reins of villainy. His villainy will be forgotten and the entire thing will be pinned on the Empress of Blood, so nobody will ever be inspired to become a similar villain (because you can't decide to become a dragon).
Durkon will vamp Belkar.There's a massive army bearing down on the Order, the most powerful member of the team is still AWOL, and Durkon already drained most of Belkar's blood as Malack's thrall. Vamping him will give the Order the strength boost it needs to win, and will fulfill the Oracle's prophecy.
The Snarl is no longer a threatThe backstory here talks about the Snarl erasing everything in its wake. But several strips show what lies beyond the rifts another world resembling the Earth. It could be that the Snarl, imprisoned all alone, decided to create life rather than destroy life. Even if it were to escape, it wouldn't want to kill anyone.
Alternatively, the inside of the rift is the original universe that the Snarl destroyed.Its backstory suggests the Snarl erases whatever it kills from existence. Maybe it just drags them to its own world.
The Order of the Stick will Unperson Tarquin.In order to beat Tarquin's Xanatos Gambit the Order will have to make sure that his story never gets told so that he'll be just another Evil Chancellor that's a minor stepping stone for the heroes.
We will meet Hannah (Mentioned here)And she's spying on the Weeping King. She'll also say that her mom has no idea what she's doing and thinks she's just a well off plumber
Elan will suddenly become smart one day.First, its just too funny to have Elan freaking everybody out with his newly acquired brains. As a kid, he was hit on the head a bunch by Nale. This results in Intelligence damage. One or the restoration spells should be able to heal that damage. Note that he's never had that spell cast on him. So someday he will suffer some ability score drain, get greater restoration cast on him and find that he gets back those lost intelligence points. Alternately, at some point he will end up with a headband of intelligence meant for Varsuuvius for a little while for a more temporary gag.
Tarquin will wind up joining Team Evil as their Western Continent satellite officeTarquin seems savvy enough to know when he's out matched, and can probably placate Xykon's world domination and Redcloak's aim of Gobbotopia by just saying "leave me my sandbox". He doesn't seem the speciest sort, and he could convince Xykon that he's going to need competent management, and Redcloak can't do it all. Of course, this will all be a ruse, and the three will form the 'unwinnable war' scenario, as no single one would be powerful enough to take on BOTH of the other two, but no two would ever really team up.
Julio Scoundrel is working with TarquinIt's an alliance of convenience more than anything, though. Julio offers to be the plot-relevant death that motivates Elan into coming back for Tarquin as the hero, and Tarquin will spare The Order because Elan will be suitably motivated to come after him when the world-ending threat is over. Julio will either remain dead in the interim or get rezzed and hide from Elan.
Somewhere, there is a preserved drop of blood of something else that can enable the resurrection of NaleIn the more complex version of the theory, the element is kept by his mother. However, due to being lost when he was a child, he'll resurrect as one, leading to a case of Raise Him Right This Time. As an extra bonus, maybe Elan and Haley will the ones doing the raising.
Tarquin will meet Xykon at some point...And shown just who is the Big Bad of THIS story. Tarquin will be infuriated, that this "miniboss" DARES to take the limelight, overshadow the struggle between a father and son, for some quest involving a blood oath and some gates, and unable to do anything but make Xykon laugh. Xykon will be dismissive, looking down on Tarquin for his long and over complicated plans. Tarquin will be beaten, BADLY. No glorious clash worthy of song, just Xykon smashing him for a bit, before getting bored and leaving. In the worst insult of all, within five minutes Xykon will forget Tarquin's name.
The Monster in the Darkness will destroy Kraagor's GateSo far the other four gates have recieved a Death by Irony. Lirian's gate, which relied on nature to protect it, was destroyed by an unnatural lich and a forest fire. Dorukan's gate, which relied on arcane power and intelligence, was taken down by someone dedicated to countering spellcasters and was destroyed by Elan, a buffoon. Soon's gate, which relied on the honor of the paladin, was undone because Shojo's decision to ignore the paladin code set off a chain reaction that ended with a fallen paladin destroying it. Girard's gate, which relied exclusively on family to guard it, was left defenseless when V's familicide killed the Draketooths. Now what does Kraagor's gate rely on? The most powerful, ruthless monsters in the land guarding the gate. Who is the most dangerous yet utterly non-threatening monster we have seen? The Monster in the Darkness!
Belkar is getting set up for a Redemption Equals Death that will be an In-Universe Alas, Poor Scrappy.Belkar will commit an unexpectedly noble self-sacrifice that will save the day, or assist pivotally in saving the day. Everyone who dislikes or even hates him will mourn him and remember him fondly...even if they can't remember any specific thing he's ever done that they were fond of.
Tarquin intended to raise Nale as a hero.Tarquin seems like he would prefer to lose to a hero so that he would go down in history as a legend and is ecstatic about being overthrown by his son in order to make the story more interesting. Unfortunately he failed due to being unable to comprehend good and unintentionally raised Nale to be evil. The plan of being overthrown by his son was shelved until he met Elan.
Tarquin has just set himself up for an Ironic Echo.A fairly minor one: Tarquin, convinced to the end that It's All About Me, has told Elan to ponder that everything he's about to do is because "you forced me to do this". Given that the Order was perfectly content to fly away from Tarquin and leave him alone, this is a perfect setup for an Ironic Echo, and basically anyone on the airship is potentially in a position to give it — even Laurin if the circumstances set themselves up for it.
Xykon will make do with his threat about eyeballs and assholes.However, it will be a semi-accident on Redcloak's part. He'll be polymorphed into a creature with multiple eyes, which even if the Morphic Resonance would cause him to lose half his eyes, he'll still have at least two eyes, meaning Xykon will rip one out and Ass Shove it.
Nale will get to torture Tarquin in HellThey're both Lawful Evil, so they'll be in the same place. However Nale happens to be the lover of a well-connected demon who might just get Lee to swing something to give Nale something nice, especially since Nale had so far been working for the IIFC's goals, albeit unwittingly. Meanwhile Tarquin hasn't even given a care to his afterlife having been more concerned with his living "story" and so might have plenty of enemies down there...
Tarquin will ultimately be killed by ironyBy which I mean Elan will not be the one to do it. Because, really, although all of his planning is going into a nosedive, I have to imagine that he still planned/hoped that one of them will end up killing the other; sort of like Voldemort and Harry's thing except it's less of a prophecy deal and more that they were anticipating it.
Draketooth doesn't have any problem with Soon the message was a bluffMore specifically, a bluff aimed at someone who was there as he recorded it. He actually knew Soon would never break his vow (he knew Soon had a "stick up his ass") and put on a show to fool someone else. Possibly as a way to win a bet (maybe he turned around and used the "Soon'll go back on his word" pot to get people to bet against the more likely one).
Whoever was still in charge of Draketooth's gate was LawfulIt would explain the table of chores, ends-justify-the-means kidnapping/abandonment and the fact that he continued Girade's legacy (how would Old Man Draketooth get someone who shared his mindset to listen to his instructions, after all?). It would also make for a great counterpart to Shojo.
#936 is the last we'll really see of Tarquin.It just seems fitting. He might get a brief mention or appearance in an epilogue or something, but this is it for Tarquin within the story.
The Oracle will join the Linear Guild.Because he's a kobold, and it would be funny. That is, if the Linear Guild somehow goes on despite Nale's death.
Someone will refer to Tarquin as a "Side Quest".And then the shit will hit the fan.
Belkar has multiple personality disorder.This troper has no evidence to back it up, but it would be interesting. It may poke a loophole in the Oracle's prophecy, in that Belkar, the dominant personality, will die, but the other personality/s are still alive. Bonus points if there are two of them that are both as evil and sociopathic as we've seen so far, but one goes by a different name and survives. It also may explain his character development (if it's real, that is). Another one of his personalities is trying to influence the dominant one.
Next time the Order meet Xykon, Belkar will tell him something along the lines of "Stop obliterating our future, you egocentric lich!"Because it would be a fun Call Back.
The unnamed member of Tarquin's is the real leader and mastermindThe last member of Tarquin's group who has yet to be named in the story looks like a fighter or a similar class. It would make perfect sense for him to be Roy's counterpart, as while Tarquin is very capable in a fight and is very savvy about story genres and politics, he is terrible as a military leader (he wastes an entire battalion against a group of only 6 people, is too much of an egomaniac and story obsessed to be completely responsible the shadow ruler plan. So it is most likely that the Guy with the Tower-shield was the leader of Tarquin's original army that conquered eleven desert nations. He wanted long lasting stability and peace that comes from a strong empire and his first attempt (straight out conquest) failed and probably worked with Tarquin to come up with the shadow ruler plan, which we know that Tarquin has cut him out of the picture. Some time before Nale and Tarquin's falling out, he learnt about Malack's agenda, and realises that Malack plan must never come to past so probably groomed Nale to assassinate Malack, knowing that Nale like Tarquin is too much of an egomaniac to mention him. He probably is the only member of Tarquin's old party who was on good terms with Nale.
The Empire of Tears and Empire of Sweat are nicer places than the Empire of Blood.Laurin claims that she agreed with Tarquin's plans in order to create a place where her daughter can be away from all the political scheming while Miron is only in this to line his pockets. Both are uninterested in Tarquin's obsession with story and thus wouldn't want to Kick the Dog for the sole purpose of being Obviously Evil.
Eugene Greenhilt accidentally killed his sonNot much of a WMG. Roy has blamed his father for his baby brother's death for quite a while, mentioning an accident (#496), and #944 confirmed that Eugene killed somebody with a magical experiment gone awry. (Unless this whole thing has been confirmed in the paperback stories already.)
The Bandits from the Wooden Forest will returnAnd have reformed into a logging company, since Durkon accidentally defeated their leader, which in effect made Durkon the leader of the bandits and his last order to them were to cut down the trees of the forest. Some of the higher up bandits realizing that they could potentially make money out of chopping the trees down, likely even more money than when they were just bandits.
The Gates are linked visually, like portalsWhen Blackwing looked through the Azure City Gate, he saw a planet. This could easily be the planet of the setting, and one of the other Gates is somehow in space. Another Gate is said to be across an ocean, and this is the ocean that Laurin saw through the Gate in the desert.
The Snarl really is aquaticWhy not? The snarl-threads appeared to come out of the otherwise empty ocean gate in the desert, and the planet that Blackwing saw had considerable ocean space.
Strip #297 is going to be relevant soonIn this strip, Roy is informed that his reforged Starmetal-alloy sword +5 has a bonus against the undead. This may seem relevant to his quest against Xykon, but can you imagine what it might do to someone like Durkon?
Elan will have a Rage Against the Heavens/Rage Against the Author moment, combined with a 10-Minute Retirement.All his friends keep getting killed, possessed, or otherwise put through the wringer throughout his adventures. And he's seen what happens when his obsession with tropes and stories gets out of hand: his father, Tarquin. Not to mention all the innocent bystanders who suffer because they get caught up in the adventures of the Order of the Stick (like the Azurites). If this keeps up, he might just lose his faith in the Theory of Narrative Causality and renounce his bardic ways: "If everyone else has to suffer so I get a happy ending, then that's no happy ending at all!"
Belkar knows about Durkon's possession.His insistence (and spot-on accurancy) that Durkon is not actually Durkon is noteworthy, even considering he still has a grudge for getting bitten. He just cannot reveal how he actually knows for some reason, and so he is forced to find other contrived reasons.
Roy will kill Belkar in order to protect Durkon.Possibly in the next strip or two. Belkar will make the point that the thunderstorm wouldn't be happening if it weren't for Durkon being vampirized in order to justify staking him while he's preoccupied with the Control Weather spell. Roy will misinterpret this, thinking that Belkar really is trying to sink them, and knock him off the Mechane to keep him from attacking Durkon. The rest of the party (except possibly Elan) won't care, since Belkar was an evil jerk who deserved it long ago, but it will set up a conflict for Roy once it's clear that Belkar was acting in the party's best interests after all, possibly leading to a My God, What Have I Done? moment.