Webcomic / 8-Bit Theater

Clockwise from the top: Black Mage, Red Mage, Thief, Fighter

Red Mage: That is not how we do things around here, buddy. First we have to argue incessantly over semantics. Then one of us has to hurt one or all of us.
Black Mage: That's it, I've had enough. This whole goddamn adventure has been nothing but pointless build ups toward pay offs that never happen.

8-Bit Theater is a Spite...er, Sprite Comic by Brian Clevinger that ran from 2001 to 2010. Its plot, an Affectionate Parody of the first Final Fantasy, follows the four Light Warriors (who really aren't the best for the job): Fighter McWarrior, an astoundingly stupid sword-obsessed warrior; Black Mage Evilwizardington, an Ax-Crazy homicidal sociopath who is only held back by the Rule of Funny and a tendency to get hurt; Thief, a fugitive prince of elf clan Khee'bler armed with extreme greed and an expertise in manipulative contracts; and Red Mage Statscowski, a so-called strategist who considers life to be a tabletop game, is obsessed with his stats, and was tricked into liking cross dressing.

The strip's humor comes mostly from the violent nature of its protagonists, the absurd situations they find themselves in, and a little screwing around with videogame tropes (mainly RPG tropes, but others do come into play). It is one of the original sprite comics, having started the year after Bob and George and eventually outstripping it in terms of popularity (at least partly because the latter comic ended in 2007). It also defined the dysfunctional party dynamic that would go on to fill every single other fantasy webcomic that came after it.

At various points over the years, the comic also featured Character Blogs/Fourth Wall Mail Slots for Red Mage and Evil Princess Sara.

After nine years, two fake endings, well over a thousand strips, and (at least) two of the longest-ranged Call Backs in the history of the webcomic medium, 8-Bit Theater finally ended. A few weeks after the last proper comic's publication, Clevinger published a long epilogue to wrap things up; it was written by Clevinger and drawn by Matt Speroni (How I Killed Your Master).

8-Bit Theater contains examples of:

  • Glass Cannon: Black Mage is one of these, and in one comic refers to himself with that exact phrase, before getting a little weird with the metaphor.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: A rare real-life example—if the Con Recap news posts are to be believed (from all three parties), then Clevinger, Tim Buckley and Michael "Mookie" Terracciano have all the trappings of one.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
    • Surprisingly invoked on Chaos of all people, when White Mage points out that a universe completely ruled by entropy would be as dull and boring as a world completely ruled by order.
    • When the Light Warriors discover that Matoya and Bahamut are going out. Let's just say that Black Mage tries to choke on his own vomit and leave it at that. And no, the disturbing imagery will never leave you, either.
      Black Mage: Oh, god. Now I'm ejecting things I haven't eaten yet.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied—when Black Mage faces a moral dilemma (whether he should let Fighter die or let Fighter die and destroy all of reality in the meantime) two miniature versions of himself that appear represent his evil side... and his atrociously evil side. (The distinction blurs a little more every day, though.)
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When any huge explosions or impacts occur, the panel in which they would happen is replaced with stock photos of nuclear blasts (or in one case, of an asteroid impact). Also, when BM solves problems through stabbity means, all we see is blood splattered on the fourth wall. Both are hilarious when you actually see them.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Chaos is an evil Eldritch Abomination and embodiment of decay that is the whole reason behind the Light Warriors' quest. Although he does desire to end (and eternally torment, however that works) existence for no real reason, he does not come into play until the real Big Bad, Sarda, accidentally brings him about. Who was himself indirectly created by Black Mage.
  • Groin Attack: "Inna NERTS!"
  • Grandfather Clause: Like Bob and George, only in regards to Final Fantasy I
  • Guilt by Association Gag: The arch-villain Sarda explains that while It's Personal in the case of Black Mage, he's going to destroy all of them because they are atrocious beings that need to be annihilated for the safety of everything. Black Mage then raises a point that leads directly to this trope:
    Black Mage: Wait, even Fighter?
    Arch-Villain: Except Fighter.
    Fighter: Yay!
    Arch-Villain: Fighter's a casualty.
    Black Mage: Yay!
  • Hand Blast: Black Mage's blasts.
  • Hand Puppet: Fighter has one of Black Mage.
  • Harmless Villain: The Dark Warriors.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sarda. For all his talk about how horrible the Light Warriors are, he's just as bad (well, as bad as Red Mage and Thief). He kills off the Other Warriors, not to mention Ranger's wife over what he knows is a simple misunderstanding.
  • Healing Shiv: The Trope Namer; Cleric used one to bring Thief back from the brink of death.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: The demons of urine and bad haircuts give Black Mage nightmares.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Drizz'l briefly joins the Light Warriors, although this is due more to frustration with the Dark Warriors' incompetence and being voted off than a change in morality. Then again, the Light Warriors are not exactly pillars of morality. In fact, when Black Mage was on their team, the Light Warriors were more evil than the Dark Warriors.
    • Princess Sara is arguably an example of this, at one point taking over her own kidnapping and trying to help Garland dispose of the Light Warriors, who have come to rescue her. However, after Garland is defeated, she returns to her previous life and does not continue to pursue the evil path to any noticeable degree.
    • Black Mage, despite being a "hero", almost pulls these a few times, but something always distracts him back to his own ways before long.
  • Heel Realization: The Light Warriors persist in believing they're heroes until Sarda finally clues them in on the truth.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": "That's enough boobery for now."
    • Earlier; "You mean booby traps." "Heh heh..." "Oh, real mature, man!"
  • Hell Seeker: Black Mage wants to get to Hell to rule it. He succeeds... for a very brief time. Once he gets returned to mortality he tries to dig his way back.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: White Mage—although Black Mage isn't much of a hero. Also, White Mage seems to have a thing for Fighter, who is also red haired.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Black Mage after watching Fighter use his new "Wood-in-steak".
    Red Mage: Years of exposure to Fighter's, shall we say, point of view, has rendered Black Mage a sputtering vegetable.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The Webcomic. Although the phrase 'hero' used to describe any of the "Light Warriors" is... inaccurate.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Thief's law ninja, who wear bright red.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Violent spurts of red liquid are the usual bleeding.
  • High Voltage Death: Black Mage electrocutes a group of old men to death in an old folks home with a Bolt 2 spell just for the sake of killing them. Well he also wanted to find an old man that took their gold, but he makes it pretty clear prior to that that he's mostly going there to cause mayhem, and only asks someone about the gold after he kills them.
    Black Mage: Eat electric death old man!!!
  • Hired Sword and Occult Magic: Black Mage's comment in this strip implies that this is what he and Fighter were before the events of the comic.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Discussed. Truth is the Light Warriors just killed all the city guards so there is no one to fight backand people are unaware about the threats of the world except there is four idiots who steal and murder them.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Used straight by Akbar, totally subverted by Jeff.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Fighter.
    Fighter: We're heroes.
  • Hugh Mann: Here;
    Black Mage: Oh, Lord. Why does the robot have a mustache?
    Warmech: I grew it with my human lip.
    Red Mage: Is... is that a fact?
    Warmech: Oh yes. I love to grow hair all over my body in between acts of defecation.
    Thief: Well he sounds human.
  • Hybrid Monster
  • Hyperspace Mallet: The Weapon of Choice of White Mage, used when Black Mage (or Kary) sufficently pisses her off.
  • Hypocrite: Sarda. In the end, he's little better than Black Mage.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After Thief outlines one of his tyrannical moneymaking schemes...
    Black Mage: That's... hold on.
    Red Mage, who sat on Black Mage and got immolated by his unwitting chair, has finally burned out, so BM sets him on fire again
    Black Mage: That's really sick, Thief.
  • Hypothetical Fight Debate: Black Mage and Red Mage argue on who would win between Batman and Doom, and between Bullseye and Green Arrow.
  • I Don't Like You and You Don't Like Me: Thief attempts this on Bikke in order to try and persuade him to talk, but it merely confuses Bikke and Thief concedes he doesn't really know much about conversations that don't end in backstabbing.
    Bikke: Ye don't like me? But we don't even know each other. I bets we have a lot in common. Treachery and such. Yar.
  • Ignored Enemy: "You shut the goddamn hell up, super-monsters."
  • Ignored Epiphany: Black Mage has had a few, this being the most notable. Later, he becomes cunning enough to fake having an Epiphany.
  • Illogical Safe: Played with, only with an armoire instead of a safe falling on Fighter. Fighter emerges from the middle of it and Red Mage launches a convoluted explanation that states that Fighter survived because his knowledge of Cartoon Physics warped reality itself. Then Fighter reveals that the bottom just was cheap particle board.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Seems to be the rule for folks like the elves. Sarda's got a very bad case.
  • Impossible Thief: Thief can steal anything that's not on fire and nailed down at the same time. Emphasis "and" and "anything."
    Thief: I've stolen things that weren't even there. This soul exists, so that helps.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The sword-chucks are impossible, even in this world... Until they aren't.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Fighter has his Sword-Chucks, and no less than four swords on his person at any given time. And then there's this line:
    Fighter: "You try balancing a cow on the end of a fence post to wield it like a club. That's a physical damn challenge!"
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Fighter searches for the Armor of Invincibility and ends up with the Armoire of Invincibility by mistake.
    • Fighter likes to play Breakout.
      • Actually, it was supposed to be Arkanoid.
    • "He must be in Ur base. Killing all Ur dudes." (Word of God states that the character was named Ur just for the sake of that joke.)
    • "I couldn't bear my role in it."
    • Because he's a vampire, the only way to kill Vilbert is with a wooden stake through the heart. Fighter proceeds to rip one of the posts off of a wooden fence, impale a cow on it, and then burn it to a crisp. Why? Because he now has wood in steak. It's worth noting that the pun is so lame it actually causes Black Mage to go temporarily insane. Er.
    • After deciding to break the three Light Warriors who aren't Black Mage out of their icy prison, Drizz'l comes up with an idea that he knows he'll hate himself for after it works. He tells this joke: "How do you get 200 Canadians out of the pool? [Beat] Say 'Please get out of the pool.'" The ice shatters and Thief asks what he just did. "I... broke the ice..."
    • At one point a minor antagonist is killed while the Light Warriors are mocking him and Black Mage makes a pun of such extraordinary terribleness that it causes the antagonist to drop dead on the spot.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Drizz'l.
  • Infernal Retaliation: The crime boss legitimate businessman encountered by Light Warriors after they became "a city guard" had a rather delayed reaction to being set on fire.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Red Mage seems to be able to make anything sound like a double entendre.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Almost every plan that Red Mage makes up runs solely on this. He has once claimed that his plans were more likely to succeed, due to the fact that they were less logical, and thus, logic wouldn't screw them up. You can't unread that.
    Rogue: This is an alarming trend.
    Ranger: Is it? Only people who aren't us have disappeared, Rogue. Should this pattern continue, we ought to be fine.
    Rogue: Why does that make more sense than I think it should?
    • Sarda's reasoning for sending the "Light Warriors" on their journey is shaky as hell. Not that Red Mage logic that it's not their fault they kill everyone they meet along the journey sound either.
    • The comic is so filled with this that the Logical Fallacies quote page has a whole section dedicated to 8-Bit Theater.
  • Instant Chucks: Sword Chucks, the previous trope namer.
  • Insult Backfire: Clevinger, in keeping with his philosophy that the best joke is the one on the reader, wrote a comic that ended with the entire strip All Just a Dream, as a fake No Ending. Rather than the cavalcade of abuse he expected from pissed-off readers, he got fan mail complementing him on writing the perfect ending for his comic! Needless to say, he was peeved that his master plan was ruined by kindness.
    • He seems to have tried it again here. And again, after the initial shock, the readers began to compliment him, calling him a Magnificent Bastard.
    • In-universe example:
      Black Mage: Yo.
      White Mage: You are simply a horrible little monster and I pray for your quick and merciful death.
      Black Mage: Flirt!
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence + An Economy Is You: in strip 1201, "These are the prices and like a fence or short hedge, there is nothing you can do to get around that."
  • Interspecies Romance: Bahamut and Matoya, Ranger's complex heritage.
    Fighter: So that's where earthquakes come from.
  • In the Local Tongue: Drizz'l is mocked for his goofy-sounding name, until Thief tells them it actually means "The Relentless Scourge." Black Mage still mocks him anyhow.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: [2]
  • Ironic Hell: After being severely beaten by Berserker, Thief ends up in his personal Hell where he owns everything. Thief is overjoyed... until a trickster god called Raven points out to him that there's nothing left to steal in this Hell. Realizing that, Thief starts begging the god to revive him. However, it's revealed later that Thief didn't actually die—Berserker only knocked him unconscious—and his personal Hell was probably an illusion created by Raven who wanted to take advantage of Thief's desperation.
    • The real hell too.
      Head Hell Guy: This is hell. We're big on irony here.
  • Iron Buttmonkey: Fighter and Black Mage—the former is repeatedly stabbed in the head with no ill effects (it made him smarter once), while Black Mage more or less always survives what's thrown at him (the Goblin Punch and Australia come to mind) and when he's killed, he gets brought back in fairly short order so as to continue suffering.
  • It's Always Sunny in Miami: This trope is used in this work, as it never gets dark until the characters enter the inn.
  • I Will Show You X: In this strip.
    Sarda: That's adorable, really.
    Garland: Oh, we'll show you adorable!
    (shows Sarda a photo of a bunny)
    Sarda: Yes, you sure did.
  • Jerkass: Thief, Black Mage, Sarda.
  • Joke Exhaustion: After Black Belt's death, Black Mage spends an entire strip gleefully firing off jokes mocking it.
  • Karma Houdini: The Light Warriors (especially Black Mage), after all the atrocities they commit, ultimately escape any kind of punishment. The only upside is that White Mage keeps them from stealing the credit for saving the world... by making sure it goes to the Dark Warriors.
    • Well, admittedly they've all been drastically de-leveled, and Black Mage seems to be destined to forever wander the world with Fighter (a reward for Fighter, a punishment for Black Mage), but they still got off lightly.
  • Kid with the Leash: Surprisingly enough, this trope is applied to Thief and Black Mage. Black Mage is a nightmarishly insane killer easily able to cause ridiculous amounts of mass-destruction, and whose gut reaction to any situation is a cross of Kill 'em All and Kill It with Fire. Thief may be a Manipulative Bastard whose idea of morality is as flexible and self-rewarding as any one of his contracts, but at least he can control (or at least direct) a lot of Black Mage's indiscriminate destruction. If he's not there to lead the group, Black Mage tends to take charge and things tend to go downhill pretty damn quick.
    • A good part of Thief's control over Black Mage involves the fact that prior to absorbing his Superpowered Evil Side, at least Black Mage is terrified of him.
    Red Mage: I can't believe 'Thief' was the moral compass that kept us from becoming a pack of roving murderers
  • Kill It with Fire: The Light Warriors' solution to most anything, really.
    • While looking for excuses to kill dwarves-
    Thief Beard-shaped parasites are eating their faces!
    Black Mage Burn them all and let the fire sort it out!
  • Killed Off for Real: Black Belt.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Thief will steal everything from your house regardless if it's nailed down or not.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Played with. Black Mage would have loved to turn the entire comic into a series of gruesome atrocities, but things never work out for him.
  • Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: Rogue has "I know a guy" as his catchphrase. One of said guys is even Thief.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Lots of it.
  • Last of His Kind: Red Mage and Dragoon. Muffin wants to be, but when pointed out there are a fair number of dragons still out there despite her claims, she grudgingly admits she wasn't quite as thorough as she'd like.
    • Barry of the real Light Warriors is apparently a Red Wizard, meaning that Red Mage is either wrong or lying for roleplaying EXP. Knowing him, it's likely both simultaneously.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Black Mage and Fighter in this strip.
  • Letter Motif
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Said word for word by Black Mage after the nightmare-poison-induced shenanigans that resulted in the Light Warriors waking up stark naked in the woods.
  • Level Drain: Happens to the Light Warriors near the end of the comic.
    Sarda: The irony is that there's not much left for me to do to you that you haven't already done to yourselves.
    Thief: Pff, what could he possibly do?
    Black Mage: Oh... please don't say that out loud.
    Thief: No, think about what he said. We're Light Warriors, dammit. I bet he can't hurt us any more than we hurt each other every day.
    Red Mage: Thief kinda has a point. We're our own worst enemies. What can he do?!
    (The Light Warriors are reduced in levels and class)
    Red Mage: (turns to Sarda) What if I said it was a rhetorical question?
  • Level Grinding: After being deleveled by Sarda, the Light Warriors must engage in a frenzy of this in order to (maybe) stand a chance against Chaos
  • Ley Line: Mentioned as running through the land. It is stated that Black Mage is a living Nexus.
    • It's not just that Black Mage is a living Nexus personified, but that apparently his mind/soul itself is the Nexus, such that his physical body acts as a Restraining Bolt. Hence when he dies and gets rid of his physical body, his powers increase (vis a vis RULING OVER HELL). He is not happy that the universe is trying its very hardest to keep him alive (probably so he doesn't end all creation.)
  • Light Is Not Good: For a group of "heroes" called "The Light Warriors", they are probably the world's greatest mortal perpetrators of atrocities. Sarda flat out tells them this. Then again, the Light Warriors only got the title by tricking King Steve with their "Orbs of Destiny", which were in fact light bulbs, and the Real Light Warriors were unable to find a job.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Including making Fighter smart.
    Thief: "I think you stabbed the stupid out of him."
    Red Mage: "That makes no scientific sense. The knife channeled the lightning directly to his brain which then experienced electrical activity for, perhaps, the first time ever."
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Parodied by the "8-Bit Theater #1 Gold Foil Embossed Collection Edition!", which is only a "lame" Filler Strip.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: Referenced when the "Light Warriors" come across Chancellor Usurper while he's monologuing and he attempts to defend his actions by claiming he was reading from a letter that disappeared like a scroll. To which Black Mage states that scrolls don't disappear, just the writing on them.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Although by the 1000 comic mark, Fighter can block anything in creation (including fire and the ground) and Thief can steal anything in creation, they still aren't anywhere near matching the raw destructive power that Black Mage has access to. Red Mage is a special case because although he can instantly mimic Black Mage's attacks when they are used on him (for about 30 seconds afterwards), his wizarding skills in general are not geared towards brute force but practicality (well, what he thinks of as practicality). The best example of this trope, though, is Sarda, who gets phenomenally more powerful the older he gets. Anyone even want to know what Black Mage and Red Mage are going to be capable of if they exist that long?
  • Living Crashpad: "You're standing on my kidneys..."
  • Logic Bomb: Red Mage uses one to kill a dinosaur. He tries it again while confronting his own Hubris, but it doesn't take for obvious reason.
    Red Mage: For that would be a flaw. Well explode already
  • MacGyvering: We'll never know how he did it, but Red Mage saved the day with a portable hole, an immovable rod, a bag of holding, and an ice spell.
  • Made from Real Girl Scouts: The Giant Cannon.
  • Made of Explodium: this strip. Lampshaded brilliantly by Black Mage.
  • Made of Evil/Evil God: When Black Mage enters the Castle of Ordeals, he has to face the physical embodiment of his worst flaws in order to overcome them. Black Mage's physical manifestation is himself. Because there is nothing more evil out there. However, when he keeps remembering the increasingly evil things he has done, the manifestation starts to shake reality. See here and the comic before it.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: If Sarda devises a spell to hurt you, he devises a spell to hurt you, as demonstrated by Black Mage several times.
  • Magic Versus Science: The comic ends with a newspaper declaring the "very real Light Warriors save the world!"; next to the picture of the Dark Warriors, there is an article about a mana vein which baffles scientists.
    "I hate this ridiculous fantasy setting"
  • Mathematician's Answer: Twice: the first was after Dragoon had knocked Black Mage unconscious by using him as a landing point, and Red Mage took advantage of the opportunity to jump up and down on Black Mage's unconscious body for a while.
    Black Mage: Now, if Jumpin' Jack Ass and Red Moron are done, we DO have a quest to finish up.
    Thief: Since when do you care about quests?
    Black Mage: Since it's a convenient excuse to butcher Sir Hopsalot for revenge.
    Dragoon: You mean Red Mage or me?
    Black Mage: YES.

    • The second instance involves the Dark Warriors and Sarda. They tell Sarda to get out of the way so they can go conquer the world: he says it's not going to happen. When they ask which part he meant, he replies, "Yes."
  • Me's a Crowd: "I was right. That didn't make sense.
  • Meaningful Name: Other than Black Mage's last name, Evilwizardington, there are characters with names like Chancellor Usurper and Doctor Malpractice.
    • Just about everyone's last name.
  • Medieval Stasis: The Elves, as pointed out by Red Mage despite having a 9,000 year start are at the same technology level as humans. Thief, at a loss for a proper explanation, tells them that they like it that way.
  • Medium Awareness
  • Metaphorgotten: Used constantly. Especially for Black Mage, whose metaphors tend to take very disturbing turns.
  • Mind Rape: "So, was that a goat or...?" "Y'know, I've never asked."
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: "I'm sorry, no I won't take it. If we accept orc zombies, then we open the gate to all kinds of crap. What's next? Centaur dragons? How about demon fairies? Maybe buffalo elves? Heck, why not whale vultures?"
  • Mood Whiplash: Compared to both preceding and succeeding strips, the strip about Black Belt's (first) death is surprisingly serious.
  • Morality Pet: Fighter to Black Mage - for all the good it does. This leads to many instances of Kick the Morality Pet.
  • Multishot: Parodied by Ranger.
  • Munchkin: Red Mage.
  • Mook Depletion: When the Light Warriors invade her lair, Kary demands to know where her minions were, with her accountant revealing that she killed them all on a whim because she was bored. In a rage, she killed the accountant and decided to deal with the Light Warriors personally.
  • Mundane Utility: parodied and played straight at different times. Mostly with Black Mage's ridiculously powerful magic.
  • Never My Fault: As Red Mage points out Sarda is just as responsible for his suffering as the Light Warriors are, since he wastes all his time getting petty, childish revenge on them when he could easily use his godlike powers to prevent their actions from ever happening. Not only that but he was the one who sent them on their quest to begin with, so he really has no one to blame but himself for his problems.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Fighter, of course.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If Sarda hadn't resurrected Black Mage's victims after his rampage, then the actual ending of the comic could never have happened.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Fighter's idea of combining swords and nunchucks.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Earlier strips had King Steve serving as a George W. Bush parallel, though done in an extremely over the top Strawman representation (drilling for Mana in wildlife preserves, father also a ruler, bit of a warmonger, and low popularity).
    • The "father also a ruler" part is justified. He's a KING.
      • Though, ironically, King Steve himself doesn't know that.
  • No Fourth Wall: In this strip, the Light Warriors can see themselves as in the comic. Even Black Mage comments on something he says at a later point. Justified, since they're in void where space and time are meaningless.
    • Red Mage often leans very heavily on the Fourth Wall. Considering he's a Munchkin this isn't much of a surprise (his entire order lives on the basis of manipulating the Fourth Wall). When he does say something with a meta-context expect Black Mage (if he's currently not in possession of the Insanity Ball and trying to kill everything in sight) to remark on it with either suspicion or frustration.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Black Belt's core martial arts philosophy, as taught to him by his master.
    Black Belt: My master believed that an opponent whose body was too broken to move was an opponent who was defeated.
    • Also what happens to anyone who triggers Barbarian's Berserker Mode.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Black Mage. He likes summoning the raw powers of the universe to do his bidding (apparently). This usually comes (also apparently) with a malleable sense of scale... as in "off of the". As a running gag, his love of killing things in as over-the-top a fashion as possible often leads to his attacks backfiring on him (luckily for him, he learns Feather Fall eventually).
    Black Mage: I found out what zombies are weak against.
    Red Mage: Oh?
    Black Mage: Point blank annihilation.
  • Nominal Heroes: The Light Warriors.
    Red Mage: According to a loose enough definition of 'hero', we qualify. Well, more or less. The point is that good deeds were done and we were nearby.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Discussed by the Light Warriors—Apparently, sidequests are the primary source of an adventurer's EXP gain, and are what separates noble adventurers from roaming bands of thugs.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Black Mage in this strip.
  • Noodle Incident, Noodle Implements: Using (up) a portable hole, an immovable rod, a bag of holding, and an ice spell to escape from an exploding Deathtrap, then in the same strip requiring a portable hole, an immovable rod, a bag of holding, and an ice spell to get Black Mage out from under a Giant.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Basically said in more words by Red Mage in 1167. Of course, Sarda survived.
  • No One Should Survive That: Fighter, all the time (much to Black Mage's chagrin). So much that the other Light Warriors count on him somehow being able to survive random situations.
    • Black Mage also qualifies. Among other examples, Sarda dropped Australia on him and he survived.
      Red Mage: Where's he going?
      Sarda: To hurt.
    • Don't forget when Sarda locked Black Mage perfectly still while the rest of the universe kept moving, shifting him outside the cave. Of course, all the other molecules kept moving and shredded him at a sub-cellular level, but Sarda kept him alive out of spite.
      Black Mage: Huh. I think I'm insane now.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Invoked in a No Fourth Wall manner by Red Mage. He's not the Determinator, he's not Made of Iron... he just 'forgets' to write down any damage he takes.
  • No Sense of Direction: Fighter's not good at directions. In Black Belt's case it's practically a Disability Superpower.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Fighter believes that Black Mage is/was this. He is, of course, comprehensively wrong.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Black Mage is guilty of this on several occasions. A few times to Fighter, but once to Lich, while he and the rest of BM's party discussed the plan to kill Lich's son, Vilbert. Right in front of Lich. And Black Mage didn't even bother to look at Lich while he said that.
  • Not So Different: White Mage ends up giving the Dark Warriors credit for the few good things the Light Warriors did out of petty spite, just like something the Light Warriors themselves would've done. In the epilogue she even acknowledges that what she did was just as childish and mean-spirited as their behavior, and is trying to give them they credit they earned to make amends (though none of the Light Warriors particularly care).
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Done in one of the weirdest ways possible.
    Thief: I hate it when the things he says that don't make sense make sense.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Garland is clearly an idiot. Right?
  • Ocean Madness: Played with.
  • Odd Job Gods: The demons of urine and bad haircuts. Who are far more dangerous than ones of pain, darkness, and anger.
  • Odd Name Out: During the Disguised in Drag scenario, the Light Warriors went by the names of Thiefica, Fighterina, Black Magia, and... Debora.
  • Offhand Backhand: Thief does it to Dr. Malpractice here.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: An intentional Double Subversion. The climactic fight with Chaos is shown offpanel to keep the identity of who defeated him secret as long as possible. Then comes a flashback sequence in which we see that scene, only to have the battle skipped over a second time.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Sarda's face just before undergoing Phlebotinum Overload is astoundingly evocative for an 8-bit sprite.
    • Also the look on Black Mage's face when he discovers that "Muffin", Dragoon's "parrot", is actually a dragon. Extra points for Fighter and Thief completely ignoring what's right behind them.
    • According to White Mage, here's what happened after Black Mage became the ruler of hell and gained limitless power:
    White Mage: Did you feel that?
    Black Belt: What?
    White Mage: A great disturbance in the order, as if millions of voices cried out to say "Oh shit."
    • And Matoya, trying to use her crystal eye for lottery numbers, keeps getting "THE DESTROYER IS MANIFEST". Basically, the entire universe went Oh, Crap! when Black Mage took over hell.
  • Older Than They Look: Vilbert and, of course, all the elven characters.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Black Mage always did want to be ruler of a dead universe. However, he never showed he actually had the power to pull it off until late in the comic.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sarda might have just done this, but that could just be his real face.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Black Mage stabs his comrades, usually in the head, and they always survive.
    • Subverted when Black Mage actually kills Ranger this way, and gloats over it as his previous victims survived. Of course, he is then resurrected by his friend Cleric.
    • Black Mage regularly survives injuries such as losing his arms or being impaled by a spear, usually without proper healing. It's implied the Universe doesn't want him to die again since his fleshy body is what prevent him from destroying the world so it keeps him alive.
    • Pretty much everyone in the main cast, at one time or another, goes through this.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: apparently, the Onion Kid's real name is Rex Crockett (check left bottom corner).
  • Only Sane Man: White Mage. Black Mage is when he's holding the Sanity Ball (If you can call it that).
    • Thief, Princess Sara, Left-Hand Man Gary, Drizz'l, and Rogue are this in their respective groups.
      • Though among those listed above, only Left-Hand Man Gary has not shown overt signs of either willfully dangerous ignorance (White Mage and Rogue), willingness to use extreme methods (White Mage again), Black and Gray Morality (Thief, Sara and Drizz'l), or sociopathic, psychopathic psychosis (need you even ask).
    • Sarda might also count, since he's one of the few who sees the Light Warriors except Fighter as the horrible threat to the world they actually are.
    • When Black Mage isn't in an omnicidal rage, he is typically the Only Sane Man, and will point out flaws in logic, be the only voice of reason, and will even lean heavily against the fourth wall. However, whenever he is sane, one of the Light Warriors (usually) will do or say something stupid or frustrating, and there seems to be only a certain level of this he can take before he feels the "need to destroy." The stupider the idea (which happens to be proportional to the amount of participation Fighter has in its conception for some completely bizarre reason), the more likely he'll just snap all together. There's a slight problem when that happens...
  • Orwellian Editor: Thief's Ninja outfit is based on a red Ninja sprite from Final Fantasy III. In the original run of strip 200, and in the first run of the strip where he obtained the class change, Thief's outfit matched said sprite. One strip later, however, the outfit switched from red to black—Black Mage comments on it, but Thief only says that the outfit had always been black as a Logic Bomb. On the same day as the Logic Bomb joke, the previous strips were all edited to change the outfit from red to black.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Clevinger satirizes the living hell out of this trope.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Played for laughs.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: The comic's biggest Brick Joke.
  • Perp Sweating: Parodied. When Red Mage "interrogated" Bikke, the pirate claimed he didn't steal Matoya's crystal. Red Mage simply replied: "No? Or... Yes?". Confused Bikke immediately incriminated himself (and accused Red Mage of using "black ops mind games".)
    Bikke: I just wanted to feel like a big evil man! Is that really so wrong?
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Black Mage and Sarda both excel at making the peoples fall down.
  • Pet the Dog: Black Mage's letter to White Mage in which he apologizes for being a Jerkass and tries to comfort her after Black Belt's death definitely qualifies as one of these moments. Obviously, that only proves that one can pet the dog once or a few times and still be irredeemably evil.
    Look, I don't do this... Uh, ever. But you guys are basically like kittens stuck on a leaking lifeboat in a typhoon. Just run.
    • And he gave Fighter candy.
    • Well, he gave Black Mage candy too. He just happened to place the candy in Black Mage's lungs
    • Black Mage refuses to tell Fighter he went to Hell since even he doesn't have the heart to crush his idealistic view.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: This happens to Sarda, after he absorbs the power of the Orbs, the Fiends, and Black Mage's Superpowered Evil Side. As it turns out, he's still alive, just not Sarda anymore.
  • Pillar of Light: When Sarda explodes.
  • Place Worse Than Death: "...Alabama is hell."
  • Please Wake Up: Fighter when Black Mage's spine is broken and dies.
  • Poke the Poodle: White Mage's attempt at a Face–Heel Turn results in this.
    • Garland tries desperately to be evil and just can't get the hang of it.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Black Mage sacrificed nine orphans to get the Hadoken. And that's not counting the orphans he sacrificed for fun. Furthermore, the spell is powered by love. That is, the universe has a finite amount of love, and BM burns some of it up every time he casts the spell.
  • Power Copying: Black Mage becomes a blue mage, gaining the ability to use the powers of those that attack him. Unfortunately, the only spells he actually learned this way were: 1) a spell to make the target puke his guts out (except the target is hard-wired to Black Mage); 2) a spell to let Sarda rewrite reality; and 3) a "spell" that allows him to kick people in the nuts.
  • The Power of Love: Subverted, as Black Mage's most destructive attack is powered by draining love from the universe.
  • Precision F-Strike: Upon their first visit to the New Temple of Fiends:
    Dragon Random Encounter: BLARGH! I'M A DRAGON!
    (Eleven more appear with him)
    Dragon Random Encounter: OR TWELVE!
    Red Mage: Impossible! Only a maximum of nine enemies may be onscreen!
    Dragon Random Encounter: FUCK YOU.
    Red Mage: Run.
  • Present Company Excluded:
    Thief: "I hate wizards."
    Thief: "What?"
    Red Mage: "I'm waiting for you to say 'present company excluded'."
    • Red Mage then waits an hour for Thief to say it.
  • Puff of Logic: At first subverted, then played straight.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Drizz'l, the Cultists with names such as Mrr'grt and L'zlhe, pronounced "Margret" and "Leslie".
  • Punny Name: The names of the two principal elven clans, Khee'bler and Sahn'ta.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: After Black Mage is left behind by the other Light Warriors and White Mage on accident, separating him from Fighter for the first time since he was kicked out of wizarding school he announces that he is finally free to indulge in the only thing that can bring him joy in this life, and promptly takes up a job as... a cobbler. Even managing to deal with an extremely difficult customer without resorting to his usual methods.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: All 4 Dark Warriors are based on or take the place of actual minibosses from the source material, and they are very quirky.
  • Race Against the Clock: Chaos gives Light Warriors 24 hours to accomplish the goal of Red Mage's latest plan.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Red Mage: We're a roving band of armed misfits looking for something to do, and we thought you might fit the bill." The woman he's talking to thinks they're going to gang-rape her.
    Red Mage: "I can't help but think the conversation would have ended differently had my pants stayed on."
  • The Rashomon: Parodied in this strip.
  • Read the Fine Print: Don't, Thief has rights over them that will charge you on top of scamming you with it.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Black Mage invokes it for one of Red Mage's hated plans.
  • Recoil Boost: Black Mage uses his Hadoken to propel the party's ship.
  • Recurring Extra: Onion Kid, the little kid whose new family is constantly killed. Except he's far more than that.
    • A better example would be the Real Light Warriors, a party who is supposed to be the actual destined Light Warriors but Missed the Call due to the main characters having taken the position while they were busy Level Grinding. Every so often we see them just a few steps behind the protagonists or having their lives made miserable due to their actions.
  • Retcon: No, Thief's ninja outfit has always been black. Why would it be red? He's always imagined himself as classing into a black-clad ninja, not a red one. What do you mean "It was red when he first appeared in it"? Bah. You're as crazy and confused as Black Mage.
  • Retconjuration: Sarda, when he's not being a straight-up Reality Warper.
  • Retconning the Wiki: One strip implies that Black Mage vandalised Wikipedia to win an argument with Red Mage.
  • Ret Gone: There was never a fifth Light Warrior named Bard.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Fighter goes berserk on Lich after Lich kills Black Mage.
  • Role-Playing Game Verse: The entire original plotline of the strip, not to mention Red Mage's constant stat references at the start of the series.'
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Unfortunately.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: This too, although for extra humor, exactly which RPG mechanics are in use in any given strip seems to vary according to the author's whim. D&D, Final Fantasy, Exalted, and Old World of Darkness rules have all been seen... and mocked.
  • Rule of Funny
  • Rule of Three: Onrac is destroyed by the actions of Sarda in response to Black Mage three times. Lampshaded with a sign outside the town saying "Where lightning never strikes thrice". Guess what happens.
  • Running Gag: The guard chasing the hapless messenger. Who is still chasing him in the Epilogue. Three years later.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Black Mage's sarcastic comments usually fly over the heads of Red Mage and Fighter.
    • Black Mage suggests his own version of Sarcasm Mode to "help" Red Mage.
    Black Mage: We're going to have a code. When I stab you in the ear, that means I'm being sarcastic. Got it?
    Red Mage: I have reservations about that, vis-a-vis the stabbing and also my ear.
    Black Mage: I'll take that under advisement. [Stabs Red Mage in the ear]
  • The Scapegoat: Once the police arrives to investigate Lich's death, Sulk gets there with The Cure albums... thus the cops arrest him because "No emotionally balanced, healthy person would listen to that. This is obviously our perp."
  • Schedule Slip: Used to update every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 12:00 am without fail, but during the last few months of its run it updated those afternoons instead, or sometimes just skipped updates entirely.
    • The epilogue took several weeks, due to its length and radically different art style.
  • Schizo Tech
  • Screw Destiny: "OK, I have a theory. It's called, I NEVER KNEW IT WAS POSSIBLE TO CARE LESS ABOUT TIME TRAVEL." Cue the Dark Hadoken.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Black Mage attempts to do this, but Sarda rewrites his statement into satisfaction over an anticlimax.
  • Screw You, Elves!: "If you elves are so great, why is your technology on par with humans even though you had a nine thousand year head start?"
    • "Your race's history is one long love poem dedicated to bloodshed. And to yourselves."
  • Screw Yourself: It's implied that Black Mage, after killing the manifestation of his evil (which happened to look exactly like him), used its corpse to turn self-love into atrocity. Then Thief managed to photograph the whole thing and blackmail BM with it.
  • Self-Deprecation: Strip 1,000 was called "I can’t believe someone was asshole enough to make 1,000 sprite comics." Strip 1,001 was called "I can’t believe someone was asshole enough to make more than 1,000 sprite comics."
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Black Mage after losing his position of hell king.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Pretty much every story arc. Not to mention the series as a whole.
    • And just as readily subverted with all the horrible stuff that happens to the Onion Kid.
  • Shout-Out: Several; see Shout Out: Web Comics for examples.
  • Silence, You Fool!: Drizz'l, here.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Black Mage, Red Mage, all Elves.
    • Black Mage is an odd case. He admits straight out back in the beginning that he knows he's "vile" and evil. He's rather proud of it, in fact. He even knows that his one-liners are horrible and that he annoys White Mage into almost Unstoppable Rage. What's strange is that he thinks that is charismatic and appealing to women. So, this trope still applies as he thinks that he is the ultimate ladies' man. His idea of what that is is just really very...er... distorted.
    • King Steve probably has an over-inflated image of himself as well. Seriously, if he thinks of himself that way...
  • Spanner in the Works: Many examples, but the biggest one is Sarda, to himself. Sometime in the present, he teleports White Mage into a "pocket dimension" because she was annoying him. It turns out this "pocket dimesion" is actually the beginning of the universe... and a younger version of himself arrives there a few seconds too late to mold the universe to his will.
    • He also probably didn't expect Black Mage's evil to cause him to suffer a Phlebotinum Overload—or that said overload would allow Chaos to possess his body. Not even gaining godlike power can prevent Black Mage from ruining Sarda's life.
  • Squishy Wizard: Black Mage, of course.
    • Although, BM has shown surprising ability to take beatings for a supposed Squishy Wizard. Not to mention he is apparently strong enough to kill a bunch of sea monsters using only his dagger.
  • Stable Time Loop: Sarda is tortured by Black Mage as Onion Kid, is taken in by his older self, watches said older self try to get revenge on the Light Warriors, grows up to become a powerful mage, goes back in time to the origin of the universe, goes insane taking The Slow Path back to the present, decides to take revenge on the Light Warriors, repeat.
    • And along the way, he sends White Mage to the beginning of time to keep her out of the way, where she creates the universe. Wrap your head around that predestination paradox.
    • A smaller example: when they are at some weird space-time singularity, Thief has an idea to use the hundreds of instances of the Light Warriors to form an army. When Red Mage asks him how he got the idea, Thief says that he saw the future Red Mage doing it. Red Mage comments on the fact that he wouldn't have done it if Thief hadn't told him, and that Thief wouldn't have told him if he hadn't seen him doing it.
    • A smaller-scale example: Sarda in the past got the idea to grow a mustache from White Mage, who got the idea from seeing Sarda with his mustache in the present day. So who came up with the idea in the first place?
  • The Starscream: Black Mage repeatedly betrays the Light Warriors, and has tried to gain control of the group at least twice. Drizz'l, meanwhile, usurped Garland for all of a day before getting kicked out of the Dark Warriors.
    • Despite being the leader, Thief gives Black Mage a run for his money. Red Mage is getting tired of how many betrayal sub text there is at one point.
    Thief: Now, now, there'll be plenty of time for ruthless backstabbing after we get the Earth Orb. [Beat] Er, I should have said that in whisper-mode.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Lava instead of ground, ventilation rust-holes, cold fusion devices, explodable amnesia dust, "a stube"... the list goes on.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Viciously parodied with the fate of Ranger's wife.
  • Stunned Silence: Black Mage has quite a few of these, usually accompanied by a Flat "What." when he's confronted with something so stupid or illogical that it renders him speechless. However, it has also happened when he has been simply horrified into stunned silence. There are few things so horrible that they can horrify Black Mage into silence. One of these things is Red Mage's chocobo breeding experiments. Black Mage even promises to devise a special hell just for what he's done.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Fighter thought that Legolas was cute.
  • Stylistic Suck: The guest comic written by Fighter.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: An Incredibly Lame Pun turns out to be fatal.
  • Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: Subverted. Fighter seems to have figured out the Lefanish language, but he still hasn't quite got the hang of it. Or has he?
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Black Mage's temper and remaining sanity are continuously frayed by the rampant illogical insanity, stupidity and lack of all reason that tends to crop up in Red Mage's and Fighter's vicinity (which isn't exactly conducive to the good health of the group). Thief also makes the same claim, but he gets far too much enjoyment out of screwing everyone out of everything they currently or will own, to be more than occasionally annoyed by the irrationality.
    Black Mage: I shall die as I lived. Completely surrounded by morons.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "No I am not undressing you with the power of my mind!"...and too many other examples to list them all.
    Fighter: You told me Red Mage was dead.
    Black Mage: Oh, we've all been dead. His return is no surprise, really.
    Fighter: But you said he'd turn into the walking dead any minute and we had to make haste so he couldn't feast upon our delicious living flesh.
    Black Mage: Look, I say a lot of things. Now, we can stand here and argue about who fed who obvious, completely incongruous, fabrications and lies. But are you prepared to risk the unrelenting hunger of the undead?
    Fighter: All the senseless talking about a subject no one can remember, much less, uh, remember is getting us nowhere and zombies are hot on our heels. We must move forward and onward!
    • Black Mage also has a rather introspective one while he is the only one still stuck inside the web of a giant spider
    Black Mage: They're the dumb ones, why am I still stuck here? I'm the smart, sassy one. My condescending demeanor certainly has nothing to do with a barely hidden anxiety about my actual worth as a person, a mage, or a member of this team. Stupid Fighter and stupid Red Mage and stupid Thief, makin' me introspective. I suppose it'll give me even more emotional turmoil to squeeze into a ball of seething rage focused at the center of my being.
    Red Mage: Whatever it was, I bet it WASN'T a backlash from gross abuse of the laws of magic!
  • Sweat Drop: Appeared a few times in the early days of the comic.
  • Take That!: One strip consisted of little more than a pee joke and two characters being disturbed and disgusted by it. The strip's name? "VG Mages".
    • From the epilogue, while Fighter and Black Mage are looking for a job:
    Fighter: Here's one! They're recruiting for something called SOLDIER.
    Black Mage: Lame.
    Black Mage: Somehow even lamer.
    Fighter: We could join the search for a missing Alexandrian princess.
    Black Mage: That could be interesting...
    Fighter: Ah, they've already got a black mage. Oh, escorting a religious pilgrimage?
    Black Mage: I'd rather chew my own neck off.
    Black Mage: NEXT!
    Fighter: Eh. Everything after that sounds like a waste of time.
    Black Mage: I could've told you that.
    Black Mage: Chipsplosion Bowl? Bacon Enchilada?
    Black Mage: Fritter Rolls? Corn Blasters?
    Black Mage: Cheese Munch? Cream Balls?
    Black Mage: Batter Wedges? Chicken-Fried Butter Sticks? Do... Do you use a fork?
  • Tempting Fate: All over the place, but especially in the Temple of Fiends sequence.
    • "And now that I've described the plan in full, nothing can possibly go wrong."
    • From the episode titled Oh, it's probably nothing:
      Red Mage: Any fate that we can walk into because we're not dead is a better one than we had ten minutes ago.
      (a pulse of energy erupts from Sarda making the ground shake)
      Black Mage: Unrelated: Anyone else hear that?
    • Leading to this:
      Sarda: My plans will not be undone by such amateur-hour horseshit as absorbing too much power and exploding.
    • This one is when they go to the submarine temple, after Black Mage has returned to the air-sub, with his whole digestive tract out of his body.
      Thief: Well, that's the worst thing I'll ever see. (GSHLURRPLE! as Black Mage forces his digestive tract to re-enter his body) That's what I get for daring the universe.
    • Onrac: Where Lightning Can't Strike Thrice!
    • Black Mage here.
      Black Mage: Man, I love the use of my legs. So awesome!
  • The Chosen Zero: Played with. The main characters aren't the real chosen ones, but they do (sort of) save the world, and the real chosen ones don't do anything important to the plot.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: The final fate of the Light Warriors. After their quest is over they all just sort of split apart (with the exception of Black Mage and Fighter).
  • Taken for Granite: Black Mage can also do this to people apparently, he did it to stop a temporal paradox.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Red Mage is a MACHINE at this.
  • Theme Naming: Khee'bler and Sahn'ta elves.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality: Thief tries to invoke this trope in order to trick Muffin.
  • This Cannot Be!: Sarda, here.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    Red Mage: Sarda de-leveled us, but we don't know how many levels we lost.
    Black Mage: Well, cast something!
    SFX: Fweee
    Black Mage: What was that?
    Red Mage: The sound of us dying in one round.
  • Those Two Guys: Depending on how smart/stupid everyone is acting, Thief and Red Mage. They'll often act saner/smarter in contrast to Black Mage's Omnicidal Maniac tendencies and Fighter's...well...Fighter tendencies. This usually means trying to screw over everyone else for some temporary advantage. Then again, this depends on a number of factors coming together.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: White Mage, and possibly the entire world get thrown one when White Mage kills Chaos.
  • Token Good Teammate: Black Mage and Thief are a omnicidal maniac and a kleptomaniac, respectively. Red Mage is a fairly amoral Munchkin, though he did redeem himself a bit when he saved White Mage's life at (what would probably have been) the cost of his own. Fighter, although not too bright, is the only one who consistently displays a moral compass.
    • According to Red Mage, he's really Lawful Amazing.
    • It has hereby been proven that Fighter is Good. Or possibly that Red Mage is also evil, if it turns out that Neutral characters can wield the Light Warriors' weapons as well.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Played straight by Red Mage constantly, then Lampshaded when he can't save Black Mage because he just used those items.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Fighter in this strip. When Black Mage uses his Hypnovision on Fighter, he claims that it wouldn't work because he's "not smart enough to be affected".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Red Mage is the last of the Red Magi because they had a tendency to hold elaborate sacred meetings when other mages were out reproducing, combined with a nasty track record of killing each other/themselves in order to more accurately calculate the effects of spells and weapons on people.
    TiamatMuffin: Oh, I see. You stupided yourselves into extinction.
    • Completely inverted with Fighter. He's too dumb to die.
  • Travel Montage: Parodied—Red Mage once used Travel Montage as an actual means of transport. To Black Mage's confusion, it worked.
  • Trickster Mentor: Sarda... with far more emphasis on the trickster part.
  • Trope Codifier: For sprite, fantasy, and RPG-based webcomics.
  • Twenty Four of Your Earth Hours: The amount of time Chaos gives to Red Mage to complete his plan.
  • Undead Author: The Cave of No Return.
  • Unholy Nuke: Black Mage mentions that he gained his Hadoken Attack (essentially a all-purpose Nuke) through sacrificing children to his wanton gods of evil. This surprises no one.
  • Unsound Effect: From "BOMBASTIC CLASSICAL MUSIC! Ominous Latin Chorus! Ominous Latin Chorus!" to "Orgy of Violence!" to "REALLY LOUD SUMMONING AND RUMBLE NOISES!", and many others besides.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Lampshaded in this strip. Needless to say, the plan in question didn't work.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Fighter went into this when Black Mage was killed by Lich.
  • Up to 11: The Glorious Chainsaw Method.
  • Use Your Head: "The main tactic of the Ram Form of Zodiackenshido is to break your opponent's equipment with your head before he breaks your head with his equipment."
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Well, to the extent they can be considered villains, anyway, Garland and co. get this on episode 1224.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Light Warriors. They are the story's ''official'' villains (except for Fighter)note .
  • Violence Is the Only Option: "I solve my problems through violence"; all of the Light Warriors qualify at one point or another.
  • Visual Pun: "I just checked the navigational log. A few things occur to me. One: this is not a very good ship."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Fighter and Black Mage.
    • Fighter is so consistently unaware of Black Mage's hate for him that it actually becomes a jaw-dropping plot point when Thief and Red Mage finally decide to kill Black Mage (for good reason), and Fighter stops them with:
      ...friends look out for one another and we're friends, but Black Mage is my best friend. Also, I can block any attack and kill anything that bleeds. Hint.
    • Black Mage and Thief are another good example. Though the two often claim to hate one another (and have each proven it more than once), they also respect each other's evil ways, and have on occasion shown some great synergy. To wit, just check pretty much the entirety of the Dwarfland arc.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Black Mage is the king of this... usually projectile vomiting style. Thief's comment that he saw "darker wood in elf porn" made this happen spontaneously. His discovery of the true nature of Bahamut and Matoya's relationship and just what the Rat Tail was used for made him eject things he hadn't eaten yet.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The arcs involving a trip to the Arctic and another where the Light Warriors take control of a city.
  • Walls of Text: Not all the time, but sometimes something like this happens.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Lethal puns against Astos.
    Black Mage: Astos? Mo' like your ass is toast.
  • Web Animation: The official (Brian-approved) flash version by TLF. Discontinued, though the animators say anyone else is free to continue on from there.
    • There's also a motion comic series on youtube, 8-Bit Theater Chaos, which is currently sitting happy at 52 episodes and six seasons, with consistent improvement as it goes on.
  • Webcomic of the Game: Follows the plot of Final Fantasy I... kinda. The comic's contents often venture far outside the realm of the game, making this more of a "very loosely-inspired by" series rather than a faithful adaption.
  • Welcome to Corneria: The Trope Namer.
  • Wham Episode: Insert a dead-baby-comedy euphemism for intercourse.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: mentioned various times, either in naive stupidity by Fighter and Red Mage, or sarcastic snarkery by Black Mage. Thief can bring it up when the occasion arises though:
    Thief [to Black Mage]: maybe you shouldn't be holding the keys to the apocalypse.
  • What Have You Done for Me Lately?: When Black Mage asks what Red Mage has ever contributed to the team.
    BM: Why do we listen to Dork Mage? What has he ever done for us that worked?
    Fighter: He makes a killer salad.
    Thief: He's a wiz at laundry too. Look how clean my little ninja booties are.
    BM: Yes, okay, fine. But salads and footwear do not decisive tactical thinking make. What's he ever done for us that was of any actual value?
    RM: My stratagems defeated all three fiends thus far faced, and I'm the one who discovered how our class changes work.
    Beat Panel
    BM: Today. What has he done for us today!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The comic and the people in it do not pull any punches in pointing out that our protagonists are deplorable people. Except Fighter.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Used as the last strip for the series. The strip picks up three years after the previous strip with White Mage tracking down the Light Warriors to give them some credit for all they did, Red Mage and Dragoon starting up a support group for sole survivors of mysterious sects, Thief becoming the king of Elfland through unknown means, and Black Mage and Fighter having disappeared, with no one knowing where they are (ironically we find out in the last scene that they're right where they were at the start of the comic).
    • It's also a very loving recreation of Mark Waid and Alex Ross' Kingdom Come, right down to the interesting names for the dishes at the restaurant.
  • White Magician Girl: White Mage.
  • Who's on First?: Rather literally, actually.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?:
    Red Mage: We're going about this whole Chaos thing the wrong way.
    Black Mage: Why break with tradition now?
    Red Mage: No, no. Seriously. We can't out-fight him, we can't out-cast him, and we can't out-think him. But we can out-stupid him.
    Fighter: How?
    (the others turn and look at him)
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: As seen in this early strip, spiders freak Fighter out. So you can just imagine what's going through his mind when this happens later on.
  • With This Herring: Parodied.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Sarda, after we learn his backstory.
  • The Worf Effect: Lampshaded. Black Mage is stated to suffer from this effect by Red Mage, referring to his use as a target by Dragoon.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Black Mage finally succeeded in killing Fighter and Thief and was about to do in Red Mage. Then Sarda showed up and brought them back to life.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Lampshaded in the sign that advertises the palace is looking for the Light Warriors.
  • You Already Changed The Future: In dealing with White Mage, Sarda manages to cause the event he was trying to prevent.
  • You Answered Your Own Question: Never ask "what the Hell is this?" after dying.
  • You Are Already Dead: In one of the strips Fighter made.
  • You Can Verb My Noun Any Day: Black Mage to White Mage. Repeatedly. And without shame or remorse.
  • You Fail Logic Forever: this strip is a wonderfully lampshaded example. See also Insane Troll Logic above.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Chaos to Black Mage, apparently.
  • You Killed My Father: And raped his mind. And burned down his orphanage. And killed his foster parents. And the second set of foster parents. And the third.
    • They killed Astos, Drizz'l's father.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: The ordeal of Pride.
  • You Will Be Spared: Upon being hit with the only successful (if ineffectual) attack on his person to date, Sarda says this to the perpetrator: "You're a quick thinker and spiteful. I can respect that. You won't be killed, Bikke."


Alternative Title(s): Eight Bit Theatre