Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire is a webcomic started by Michael "Mookie" Terracciano in 2002. It follows the life and times of Dominic Deegan, a messianic yet pessimistic seer who travels about with Spark, his feline comic relief, and assorted companions. Originally a lighter strip based on puns and wordplay, Cerebus Syndrome ensued, arguably starting with the "Visions of Doom" arc, but certainly by "Storm of Souls".On May 24, 2013, the comic ended at three thousand comics. A set of colored epilogue prints, some with art by Garth Graham (Mookie's partner on his following webcomic Star Power), were later published.List of Major Arcs:
Visions of Doom: Dominic, Luna, and Gregory head to Barthis to try and prevent a slaughter after Dominic receives a, well, vision of doom.
Ecstasy and Evil: Another vision leads Dominic and Luna to his friend, Szark, to warn him about it—they learn he's married to Luna's sister, and the both of them are sleeping with a rival seer.
Storm of Souls: The project of Dominic's brother, Jacob, calls up the Storm of Souls, the afterlife and weapon of an ancient cult of chaos, the Chosen, who proceed to try and harness it to take over/destroy the world.
The Battle for Barthis: Gregory, Donovan, and Melna put on a concert to fund the rebuilding of Barthis, which was destroyed during the Storm of Souls arc, while an amoral businessman tries to buy the town out from under its residents.
The War in Hell: The souls of the Chosen, having been banished to Hell, become a point of contention for Hell's lords and ladies, who go to war over it.
Two Thief or Not Two Thief?: Stunt and Bumper, a pair of thieves who tried (and repeatedly failed) to put one over on Dominic earlier in the comic try to make it big in the rebuilt Barthis, and bring on worse problems than they intended.
Class Action: Dominic starts teaching at his mother's school of magic.
Snowsong: A survivor of the Chosen assault on Barthis returns, intent on killing Gregory, thinking he murdered her fellow cult members. Gregory takes inspiration from an old Action Book he liked as a kid to deal with the problem.
The Shadow of Siegfried: Having died during the War in Hell, Siegfried wreaks havoc on his former friends in life.
The Oracle Hunter: An assassin targeting seers sets her sights on Dominic.
Around the World: Dominic and Luna go on vacation to take a load off and recharge their batteries, and meet up with some old friends, some new friends, and a new friend who's also an old friend.
Built To Resist: While Luna and Dominic are away things take a turn for the worse. Dex is suddenly out of his job as sheriff and unexpectedly runs into his ex-wife, Gregory gets dumped by Pamela, and Celesto returns... and a new enemy emerges in the form of "The Beast".
March Across Maltak: Dominic, Luna, Donovan and Melna head into Maltak after the storms ravaging it finally end, and have to find a way to help the native Orcs heal the land and their clans.
A NimmelHouse: Nimmel begins his first semester at the Coldfire Academy in the Winter Archipelago, where he's the only human among werewolves.
B.Y.O.B: Gregory, searching for something to do with his life, learns to "Be Your Own Bard," and invents death metal.
Walk the Wild Edge: Stunt, now a guide in the Wild Edge territories, tries to stop his fellow guides from capturing and exploiting an innocent mongrel man.
The Court of Karnak: After serving as Karnak's knight during his rampage across Hell, Siegfried has had enough of serving under his master's thumb and rebels against him. Meanwhile, Bulgak Adrak awakes in Hell and faces the truth about his life and death. Behind all of it The Beast is once again on the move and slowly gathering strength.
Altered States: After learning that both of them are infertile, Dominic and Luna look into Alterism to see if they can solve the problem.
Face-to-Facebath: Luna and Dominic step up to help Gregory's bandmates deal with their personal issues.
Revelation: After the beast kills the mentor of the Arch-Magi it is left severely weakened and must try to consume more power. Further, the one who sustains and rules the beast is revealed David Johann, the first Arch-Mage of the Fifth Circle and King of Callan.
The Search for Celesto: Luna and Quilt go on a search to find Celesto after his extended absence to enlist his help in exposing The Beast's benefactor. When they finally find him, Szark and Dominic must stop Celesto's plan to expose The Beast on his own terms while Gregory and Luna uncover the shocking truth about the Royal Battlecasters.
I Do: Dominic and Luna finally get married.
Just Deserts: Jayden goes on a journey to the desert to die... and ends up with a rather unexpected companion on her way.
Attack of the Archmagi
Through the Tempest
The Mad King
Allies Fall, Powers Gained, Wanderers Found
Interlude: Celesto "Recovers"
The Final Vision
Dominic Deegan contains examples of:
open/close all folders
Abandoned Info Page: There was once a page on the main site with biographies and some other background information. Tiring of updating it, Mookie decided to just link to the Wikipedia article - which was fine until Wikipedia decided to trim the article of "plotcruft". Once they did that, Mookie just deleted the info page entirely.
Aerith and Bob: The comic runs the gamut, from normal (Gregory Deegan) to the bizarre (Runcible Spoon).
Just within the Orcs, we have Stonewater and Adrak Bulgak, though Stonewater is the literal translation for the Orcish word for ice.
Aloof Big Brother: Jacob. As Gregory is the youngest of the three Deegan boys, Dominic sometimes comes off as this to Gregory.
An Aesop: The entire conflict with the Beast and its resolution ultimately reinforce the message that "knowledge dispels fear". Knowledge leads to understanding, and with understanding even the mightiest of monsters, literal and figurative, can be defeated. To a lesser extent this can be seen in other story arcs as well.
Animesque: Peculiarly, the art style mimics lazily drawn anime. This seems to be an artistic conceit rather than laziness on the part of this particular artist, since such tropes as the Cheeky Mouth are unnecessary in a static art form.
And I Must Scream: The last poacher killed in the WILD EDGE is paralyzed and eaten alive by slimes.
Also, if your soul gets eaten in Hell, then you will experience being eaten for the rest of eternity.
Seems to be the fate of the Battlecasters currently being corrupted by the Beast. At least at first.
Hell, that very same arrow gets thrust into the assailant's NECK, and he just rips it out a few strips later as well. One is left wondering why people even keep using arrows if they're this ineffective.
Anti-Hero: Stunt is a rougher-edged protagonist than most of the rest of the cast. He's among the few to carry a weapon, and while the rest of the Deegans prefer to capture or otherwise subdue their opponents (at least, the ones that aren't demons or zombies or monsters or something), Stunt is more often willing to kill (see the fight with Urban Eddie, and his attempt to cut the Infernomancer's throat much earlier in the comic). Ironically, he seemed to be not trying to kill the villainous poachers in his the Walk the Wild Edge arc, at least until they started trying to kill him. He's softened up a bit further after his journey with Jayden in the second part of the Just Deserts arc.
Anti-Magic: Dex Garrit is a Resistant, meaning that no magic, harmful or helpful, can affect him directly.
Anyone Can Die: Possibly starting with the deaths of Bumper and Chance Master's parents now that it's the final year. And now Rilian as well.
Quilt, too. And, it appears, Celesto.
Ambition Is Evil: It has been stated that for a mortal to try drawing directly from the Heart of Magic's power is a very wrong thing to do. Everyone to try, whether with good or evil intentions has ended up unleashing terrible disasters.
A more lighthearted one occurs very early on in the series, when Dominic is inflicted with a curse that makes a fish fall on his head every time he takes a puff on his pipe. He recruits Bumper and Stunt to steal the cure from the sorceress that did it. This exchange of armor piercing questions occurs between Dominic and Stunt:
Stunt: If this curse is only triggered when you smoke, why don't you just quit smoking?
Dominic: If going to jail is only triggered when you steal, why don't you just quit?
Arrogant Fencing Guy / Insufferable Genius: Chance Masters, naturally talented and very egotistical. May or may not be hosting an Eldritch Abomination. Used to be bullied by his current favorite victim and is apparently useless at all other sports.
Art Evolution: After the first couple of years of improvements, the art quality has stayed about the same since. The only notable stylistic change recently is the addition of defined snouts for the Orcs. Mookie has said in an interview that while he can draw better, he feels the current art style fits the comic, and changing it wouldn't feel right.
Damn good enough to enchant the Archmages into not only making a Fifth Circle for him, but also to follow his every command.
The Atoner: Celesto has an... unusual view of how this trope works. Stunt and Jayden play it a bit straighter. To a certain degree, Jacob has become one as well.
Attack Hello: Luna admitted their first encounter with Jacob scared the hell out of her. Their (rather, his) last meeting together, well...
Barnet stabs Dominic in the stomach on his porch when she first meets him.
At the Crossroads: Whenever someone reaches a metaphorical crossroads, Deegan sees everything in "gray" until that someone makes a decision.
Author Appeal: In his news posts, Mookie's often admitted his love for certain elements in the comic. Characters have spent entire strips focusing on food or drink that Mookie likes. Dominic's favorite food is Mavpel candy, an admitted Expy of one of Mookie's favorite candies.
He's more recently admitted that he likes drawing muscular orc girls because, well, he likes muscular orc girls.
He's hinted that he may have a certain fondness for breasts.
The B.Y.O.B. arc, according to the blurb this comic, is Mookie's tribute to metal—but it's directly inspired by a band he doesn't like.
Author Avatar: Not Dominic, as you might have thought. Mookie has stated (in his third book) that Dominic's father Donovan is who he considers to be most like himself. Indeed, the two often behave similarly, and share a sense of humor. The confusion largely stems from the fact that, when he draws himself, Mookie's self-portrait is virtually identical to Dominic. This is partly due to a serious case of Only Six Faces.
Badass Boast: Nimmel makes one to himself where he explains the real reasons he went to the Coldfire Academy, just before trying to break up a fight between his friend and the Alpha Bitch, and before she sends more werewolves to attack him.
Badass Normal: Rachel. Inverted somewhat with Dex, who has a rare condition that makes him immune to magic, and is thus one of the few surviving characters who can hold his own in a serious fight without magic.
Bad Dreams: In an early comic, Dominic makes a distinction between his visions of doom, and just regular old nightmares, and notes he's learned to differentiate between them.
Becoming the Mask: From the looks of things, Celesto's "familiarity" with the Beast after being trapped in the Elemecca with it for so long, and subsequent impersonation of it to reveal its connection to the king of Callan, has made him...a bit too susceptible to its power. Luckily he seems to have overcome this...just in time to die helping take the Beast out.
Behind the Black: The plains of Maltak apparently has a visibility of five meters. Characters in this vast, featureless wasteland run into each other by accident and don't hear conversations and see events until they enter the panel.
Berserker Tears: Used fairly regularly, most notably by Siegfried in the War in Hell story arc.
Be Yourself: The Aesop of the the story about Greg and his rock band(s).
Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Well, okay, being that they're from the Wild Edge, bizarreness is to be expected, but this is the case between Bort and Bortette. Both identified as mongrelfolk, Bort is covered in miss-matched patches of skin, with an extra eye on his chest, scales in places, and just generally looking like the poster-boy for Body Horror. Bortette, by contrast, is a Cute Monster Girl with a slightly prominent upper lip and some spikes. It's strongly implied that no two mongrelfolk are alike, or even resemble others of their kind.
Bi the Way: Taz MaDara, apparently. His first meeting with Gregory Deegan involves him planting a huge man-kiss on the youngest Deegan boy, much to his confusion.
Book Ends: "I am sorry if I was rash earlier. Farewell, Dominic Deegan. I hope you do not forget me."
Break the Cutie: Inverted; Luna is introduced at the climax of her mother's year-long campaign of breaking her, and saved from suicide by Dominic. We learn more about the process in various flashbacks. Most of her character development revolves around the slow recovery of her sense of self-worth. Gregory is also somewhat subject to this trope, particularly in a couple of the later story arcs.
Breather Episode: Rather, a breather story arc — the "Around the World" arc, to be precise.
Donovan, having been established as an ostensible goofball dad with zany plots, legendarily bad Orcish, and an overall tendency to be the distraction but otherwise have little impact or relevance to the plot, proves not only his competence, badassery, and the reasons Miranda loves him, but reveals after seven years (real world time) that he's always been able to speak perfect Orcish. This strings a lot of unrelated side-jokes into a single, Batman Gambit -style epic practical joke spanning decades against an entire foreign nation, and afterward he becomes much more of a force on the plot. The reason for the reveal? He realized that revealing the joke had reached the point of being funnier than continuing the subterfuge.
At the start of the Beneath Our Masks arc, Gregory remarks that he's bringing his cheapest guitar with him so he won't feel too bad about bashing Celesto over the head with it if they find him. Gregory finds him.
Brought Down to Normal: Gregory Deegan is unable to use white magic for most of the Snowsong arc. More recently, his ability to use white magic was ripped out entirely. So far, it's actually stuck.Word of God says that it's going to stick forever.
Also, Jayden spoke the First Heresy of Hell near the beginning of the comic. Funny thing, when a priestess renounces her faith.
Dominic loses his Second Sight forever when it returns to the Heart of Magic.
Bubble Pipe: Quilt the necromatic golem uses one several times. Later on, he uses it to scry, with each bubble acting like a short-lived crystal ball.
Butter Face: Luna is seen as this in-universe, with her tusks. They're a total dealbreaker when Siegfried visited her, for example, and she's picked on because of them. Of course, with Mookie's art style, she's in reality still pretty good looking.
Cain and Abel: The comic sometimes pits Dominic and Gregory against their necromancer brother Jacob. Early on, there was an interesting twist: Dominic hated Jacob, but Gregory still wanted to believe the best of him.
Luna's relationship with her sisters was also like this for a while, but the three eventually decided to try and at least tolerate each other after the rest of their family got themselves killed with their petty fighting.
Calling the Old Man Out: Here,◊ in this case, Miranda Deegan calls both of her parents out for their behavior (and their attacks) on Donovan for him being her choice of a future husband.
Luna: Holy crap. She said that to her parents?
Dominic: Mom inherited Grandma's skill with the guilt trip.
A very brutal variant with Siegfried. After his rebellion against Karnak doesn't pan out exactly like he expected, Karnak is able to convince him what a horrible bastard his father truly was. Siegfried expresses his extreme displeasure by going out and rabidly devouring the head of his father's soul.
The Cameo: One of the Wild Edge guides/Evil Poachers was a fan cameo who was brought back as a villain because Mookie "wasn't done with him yet". He is now. Mookie: "And so with Chris's death today I continue the tradition of killing people who win a named appearance in the comic via ConnectiCon's Webcomic Charity Auction. Chris won two years ago. This year's winner may not have such a long comic life span. Tee hee."
Character Development: Luna's has been the most significant in the strip. She's a woman who, in her first appearance, was about three seconds from hanging herself after getting turned down by Siegfried because of her tusks. Now, even getting told that she can never become pregnant doesn't get her down.
Stunt has been going through quite a surprising bit himself throughout the series. He's become more open and trusting of people and even lost a bit of the misogonism that defined his character after being separated from bumper for a while and finally forgiving himself for accidently killing his mother when he was young.
Chekhov's Gun: This being a comic about someone who sees and changes the future, this trope is common. One of it's more unique examples actually comes from his cat.
Chekhov's Gunman: One of the very early strips had Dominic receiving a "see-mail" message through his crystal ball from his friend Mosley. Years later, a plot arc involving Mosley was teased. Considering how long it can take for the teased arcs to arrive (we waited two and a half years for the Oracle Hunter arc), we don't know what his significance is and probably won't for quite a while. And now that Mookie has announced the strip's eminent end, we may never.
The Chessmaster: Dominic, especially during the Super-Greg arc. This is one of the reasons Dominic sometimes comes off as a Designated Hero. It's hard to come off as completely heroic when manipulating people, even if it's for the Greater Good and with the power of foresight.
Crossing the Desert: The Maltak arc consists of trekking through a vast, featureless wasteland, in the daytime, without pack animals and with no more consumables than what the party can fit in one, ordinary-sized backpack per person, and they apparently keep their tents in those as well. (Though bags of holding have been mentioned previously.) They're also not taking care to cover their heads, and one character is in a dress. They do hire an experienced guide, but this guide is the same one who would've gone through and okayed all of that, and who built a stone fire ring miles upon miles from plant life.
Crystal Dragon Jesus- The Luanian Church, with its own Jesus Christ/Prophet Mohammed like figure in The Prophet Luana, is the ruling faith in Callan. Throughout the "Around the World" story arc, other racial faiths were touched upon as well as a lesser Callanian religion of Scapilanism in Jayden and Stunt's pilgrimage to the Desert of Eldariat.
Cultural Posturing: Some of the WA's werewolves do this on occasion; claiming that Callanians and other outsiders are inherently untrustworthy compared to werewolves.
Cursed with Awesome: Dominic has complained since the very first strip about the burdens of being a seer, especially his gift of random visions. He wanted to help people with his gift; instead the comic opens In Medias Res with him being a fortune teller for a town of complete idiots.
Dex Garrett is a resistant, meaning he suffers from a rare condition that renders him completely immune to magic, both helpful and harmful. It also makes it very difficult for him to find stable work that play to Dex's strengths (high risk jobs), because employers have to pay heavy taxes and rifle through ridiculous amounts of paperwork to hire one.
Spark considered the curse put on Dominic in the first arc (which caused fish to appear out of nowhere and land on Dominic's head whenever he smoked) to be this.
Darker and Edgier: Spoofed with Dominic's favorite comic being Ret Conned into the character "discovering" he's half demon ... much to Dominic's dismay.
Dark Is Not Evil: Rilian, the first necromancer, is basically a walking skeleton. In the Around the World arc, he masquerades as a fat jolly necromancer named Brian. This is said to be what he used to be like before the problems of the world and the weight of centuries made him bitter and unpleasantly pragmatic.
The Nakta and the Akta are all about this. Specifically the Nakta while dark can be used to take another persons pain into yourself healing them while hurting you. Toward the end the Akta is used to steal life from others to strengthen the user.
Black magic in general embraces this trope. Although fueling spells with negative emotions like anger, sorrow, or hatred does presumably have a long-term net negative effect on the psyche, it appears to be magic focused on the principle of destruction rather than magic that is inherently evil, the exception being Infernomancy which specifically is magic of Hell.
The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Delving into infernomancy, even for ostensibly good reasons like Bulgak's, will erode your conscience until you care about nothing but yourself.
Deadpan Snarker: Everyone, from time to time; even in dramatic arcs the comic will revert periodically to its roots and put in punchlines, and when not doing that the snarking goes into the dialogue in a less jokey way. Dominic has grown less snarky through his character development, but other have appeared to share the duty. Jacob is very big on this. Karnak has developed the tendency increasingly.
Siegfried: [Over about a week's worth of strips as he charges across Hell for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge] KARNAK! KARNAK!KARNAK!
Death Is Cheap: Death is always dramatic, as the trope requires, but doesn't ever seem to stick for major characters. Unless your soul gets destroyed, in which case you're pretty much fucked. This could be a result of the comic spending so much time in dreams and mindscapes. Also, Necromancers as a general rule tend to come back when they die, so you have to make sure they're really dead.
Death Glare: Miranda Deegan's willpower-eroding, thought-derailing Evil Eye, which has a range of half a mile and can strike targets around corners and through dimensions. No one can withstand it either, not even an 8 foot tall spellwolf. Even the Big BadJohann can feel it as a cold wind in the Archmages' sanctum.
Death Seeker / Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Jayden has ended her vow of silence - penance for betraying Milov and basically getting the Callanians kicked out of werewolf territory - and now she's going on a pilgrimage into the desert where she will die.
This turned out to be a case of No Longer with Us: Jayden meant she would die a spiritual death, giving up/leaving behind her old life, "dying" metaphorically in order to move on from the sins she committed. Although considering Jayden's listlessness, vow of silence, and near Despair Event Horizon before this, such a misunderstanding is understandable and surely intentional on Mookie's part. And could even still become literal, depending.
Decoy Protagonist: The Wild Edge arc was supposed to be about Bort (the author even wrote about how nice it would be to focus on him), but after he got "rejected" he left to pout and the arc's real hero turned out to be Stunt.
The following arc started off with Celesto meditating on how the world's magic was going out of whack, but it quickly turned into KARNAK! and Siggy's battle in Hell.
Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: When The Beast comes to attack Dominic, it makes Dominic weak because he 'willed' it. Likewise, Dominic uses an illusion to pretend he's willed himself to have the powers of a Destroyer to make The Beast retreat in fear he'd destroy himself to try and take it down with him. Justified in that The Beast is an extradimensional being from a realm of pure insanity; the idea that something it perceived was not real would be completely alien to it, making it vulnerable to Dominic's illusion spells.
Dragon-in-Chief / The Man Behind the Man: Either the King of Callan is behind the (currently weakened) Beast's rise to power or the King is the Beast's Dragon-In-Chief (it seems to be the latter).
Hijacked by Ganon: While the timeline is not exactly clear yet on when exactly he rose to power, if David Johann was king during the Callan/Orc war and thus condoned the atrocities which Warlord Damaske perpetrated, then this would make him indirectly responsible for a good portion of the bad events in the Deegan-verse that have affected the main characters directly—Thuen Gor's curse (and its effect on Luna), Karnak's fall, Siegfried's corruption and everything that came of it, what happened to Maltak... For certain, now that he has the Infernomancer working for him (by proxy) this makes him a threat to everyone, even Karnak. Whether this will result in an Enemy Mine later (albeit one certain to break due to Karnak's lack of trustworthiness and Celesto's descentinto madness / possible corruption by the Beast), it seems as if Johann is shaping up to be the ultimate Big Bad of the comic.
He was. And in fact the Beast was only the king's eyes given life and sentience by their view of the Heart of Magic, plus the power of the Elemecca, so it was the actual Dragon-in-Chief.
Though not portrayed as malevolent, the Hydra seen in the Vacation arc wouldn't be out of place in a Lovecraft story.
It's a hydra worshiped by half-fish people. If it's not a shout out to Shadow Over Innsmouth, what is?
Miranda's teacher, as well as the Archmagi of the Fourth and Third circles.
The aptly named "Guardian Destroyer" from the Plane of Destruction is regarded as one.
The current Big Bad of the comic. Interestingly, the majority of arch-magi that Miranda Deegan deals with appear benevolent versions of these. It is mentioned that one archmage is too small for a human to see, and another is as large is a city, and that their high-council chamber equalizes them in size for easy meeting.
Elemental Plane: We've seen the Plane of Destruction; the existence of the other elemental planes is referenced occasionally.
Evil Poacher: The "tour guides" of the Wild Edge are poachers in the off-season. Despite this, they seem to prefer to take their prey alive by using tranquilizers and nets. Although, alternately, given they apparently have no problem with slicing off bits of the tranquilized animal and then leaving it to bleed to death suggests they're not exactly humanitarian in their methods.
Might want to skip this one if you have a weak stomach. Long story short: David Johann, having been blinded by the light of the Heart of Magic, decided the best use of his eyes would involve tearing them out himself.
Fantastic Racism: Racism is rampant in the kingdom of Callan, specifically towards Orcs. It really came to a head with the Orc War. Callanians and Semashi don't seem to get along easily, either. Quite frankly, there isn't a nation on the planet that doesn't or at least hasn't indulged in this. Luna, a human with unusually large lower canines, has suffered spillover racism on occasion as well (her teeth look like orc tusks... at least to humans; orcs can easily tell the difference). That's the only thing she has in common with orcs, but nobody said racism was rational.
Oddly enough Luna's colleague Melna, an actual orc, has suffered far more at the hands of other orcs in her homeland than she ever did in Callan.
Fantasy Contraception: Protection Scrolls; refusing to use one when he slept with Luna, then chewing her out when she talked him into using it, was one of Serk Brakkis's many Kick the Dog moments.
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Previously the comic featured knights, wizards, dryads, werewolves, undead, slimes, orks, dragons etc., but ever since the Dominic's and Luna's 'round-the-world trip story arc, this trope has gone into overdrive, with the author showing a ton of new races, i.e. merfolk, sea monsters, hobgolins, halflings, dwarves, mongrelfolk and whatnot in rapid appearance.
Flanderization: Szark Sturtz was originally a master swordsman and a sadist. Following his Heel-Face Turn and admittance to having a crush on the title character, he eventually became "Szark (who is gay)", according to one forum that follows the comic.
Siggy's racism. Quilt's stupidity. Dominic's ability to plan ahead. Luna's bids for independence. Dex's timing for Big Damn Hero moments.
Foreshadowing: The reformed "Baron of Burglary"-turned innkeeper who's also an Elemental Changeling has just been introduced in Jayden's journey of repentance story but Word of God states that he'll definitely return as a bad guy — a good guy isn't that shifty-eyed.
Karnak's was so over-the-top it made him tempting to sympathize with, since he hasn't even left Hell in so long he hasn't been casuing problems for any good guys.
Framing the Guilty Party: Celesto's plan to expose the King's partnership with The Beast. Dominic takes a third option by saving Celesto's would-be victim and displays an image of the King and The Beast together that is enough to arouse suspicion in the eyes of the public.
The same plan is also employed simultaneously to use the paintings of an artist driven mad by the Beast (and Amelia) to expose the battlecasters' corruption. Again, Luna takes a third option by making the battlecasters and Celesto visible to the gallery guests while still saving the innocent mages' lives.
Gambit Roulette: Justified. Dominic uses his Second Sight to pull off gambits that would be Roulettes for anyone else. Other characters comment on it, but they're not being Genre Savvy. Dominic likes to do The Reveal when his plans have come to fruition—or is occasionally forced to reveal his intentions when one of his plans goes awry. It's the major source of friction in his relationship with Luna (who spent most of her life abusively manipulated by her mother and sister).
Some of the villains like to pull gambits of their own, leading to insane Gambit Pileups in at least two story arcs.
Gender Bender: Male misogynist Stunt was subjected to a (very brief) gender bender in the Wild Edge territories story arc, before being turned into a half dozen other critters, and eventually changed back.
A Good Name for a Rock Band: After much deliberation, Greg & Co. choose "Face Bath", inspired by what their very grievously injured immune-to-magic pal has to do every day to keep his wounds from festering. Also, during the Battle For Barthis arc the temporary rockband gets named "Oblivion Folder" after a file-folder that Lars Sturtz keeps misplacing temporarily.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Nimmel, a good-natured graduate of the School of Arcane Arts is introduced with a scar encompassing his right eye and a good chunk of flesh around it, which was deliberately made to look as nasty as possible. He'd gotten the scar from an attack on the school, and his telling the attacker where to find Miranda, which ended the attack, is seen as cowardice by him. As he gains prominence, his scar looks a bit better, and Luna gets him to see that he saved his classmates' lives by telling the attacker, and he shouldn't think himself a coward for it.
Hard Head: Rachel Hart. "I break things with my face."
Harmless Freezing: Ice spells have a tendency to do this, which is handy, because they're the weapon-of-choice for several of the good guys. See Luna to Stunt and Bumper early in the comic, who come out of it with only the sniffles, and Nimmel more recently with a pair of werewolves.
Averted with Snowsong, who turns a Golem into living ice so he can watch himself melt.
Have I Mentioned I am Gay?: Szark. Once he comes out, he and the people around him can't stop mentioning it. This was mocked by fans who, whenever they would mention Szark, would write, "Szark (who is gay)"
And yet described his budding love of death as "the feeling he felt towards girls" (emphasis mine)
The Heart: Early on, both Gregory and Luna fulfill this role for Dominic.
Heroes Want Redheads: The two younger Deegan brothers abide heavily by this trope, Luna having strawberry-blonde hair (though it's described as just "blonde") and Pam having a veritable mane of fiery red hair.
Hollywood Healing: The head of the Wild Edge guides goes from having a knife in the gut to running at full speed and surfing a slab of rock down an avalanche after Stunt patches her up, without any apparent use of anything more than some bandages and stitches, although they do dramatically pop out in the process.
Hollywood Tactics: Men, half of you will charge in to fight the enemy hand-to-hand! The other half will then take up their bows and fire into the melee! But remember: don't kill anyone!
Holy Hand Grenade: Miranda is able to turn one of the Infernomancer's gauntlets into a purified holy one...and then uses it later to destroy Helixa.
David Johann, the king of Callan and new Big Bad is basically Slayers' Priest Rezo (points by ZeeToo): Masters magic, produces wonders, widely hailed [but] can't fix [his] own eyes. Makes pact with otherworldly monsters. One of the five biggest magic-users in the setting. He's also a combination of "elected queen" Amidala, Lex Luthor (super-genius with good-ish publicity) and Vegeta (powerful hand-lasers).
Earlier, Serk Brakkis winds up along these lines - after having his toupee impaled, he finds every crime he's committed in the prior few years paraded past him one by one, leading to his Smug Snake mannerisms completely disintegrating. And to top it all off, he's then teleported back to Callan via lightning.
Hurricane of Puns: Lots of them. Sometimes one-sided, sometimes a volley between two characters, and sometimes the entire on-panel cast will join in.
Howl of Sorrow: One use of werewolf howls is to announce the break-up of a pack. Given what breaks up a pack...this is generally a combination of rage and painfully deep sorrow. And it doesn't just announce that the pack has broken up, it announces exactly why it's broken up.
Dominic, on the verge of mindbreak and being corrupted by the Beast, is snapped out of it and able to unify the two halves of himself with the help of his students. Specifically Prento using the same combination of spells he did when trying to save him from Barnet, and later mindbreak, with the same anticlimactic result—but identifying that Prento was real and not just one of the Beast's illusions.
And that was the eponymous lead character biting his crystal ball after it showed him visions of his girlfriend's really evil ex breaking her heart and plotting to have her commit suicide a few months back.
Gregory later inverts this and has his hair made much longer via hair alterist when he starts his band.
Improbable Aiming Skills: The Rhazgala are apparently such good archers that they can fire volleys into the air into a melee with such accuracy as to only score non-lethal hits, a pretty much impossible feat in real life.
I'm Standing Right Here: When Miranda reflected on how her parents reacted to her and Donovan's engagement, they were incredibly uncouth in regards to their opinion of him. Donovan reacts by saying this exactly.
Informed Ability: Reinholdt is supposedly trained in "Wasteland Survival", and yet clearly has no idea what he's doing. ** Since it's a Magical Wasteland Dead World and all around World of Weirdness, it would be silly that the same limits should apply to the letter of the law.
Instant Expert: Chance Masters was apparently terrible at physical activities and didn't expect sword fighting to be any better. To his surprise he beat his foe on the first try! He may or may not be playing host to an abomination.
Vilrath: Listen to me well, seer, because I'm only going to say this once. You are no match for me.
Dominic: Listen to me well, seer, because I'm only going to say this once. I'm not afraid of you.
Irony: Chance Masters is first shown as a wealthy arrogent bully who gives special attention to another boy with a ponytail. It turns out "Ponytail" used to bully Chance because Chance sucked at sports and he ("Ponytail") thought that all rich kids were jerks because that's how his "action books" always portrayed them (apparently Richie Rich doesn't exist in Callan).
Stunt gets Character Development, eventually. Siegfried gets some of that and it was perfectly possible to be somewhat attached to him, but he also gets killed, and dragged to hell, and turned into a demon servant, and then the true depths of his cruelty and self-delusion are displayed at length as he gloats in his brief ascendancy in hell, and then he gets his ass handed to him again, and then a guy's soul explodes and he's a pathetic, crippled demon, and then he eats his father's still-talking severed head in revenge for raising him to be a psycho, and was last seen crying for somebody, anybody, to help him.
Karnak was a Jerkass from day one. In the strip, not his actual life; he seems to have been a decent guy once, that nasty episode toward the end notwithstanding.
Celesto over half the time. Collateral Damage Man is a title he earned by being really into that 'pfft, sacrifices for the cause' thing.
Siegfried's dad. That Doma chieftain Melna whacks. TIM. Rilian rather often, despite being pretty definitely on the right side and having his good side. The Ma Dara kid.
JACOB, though he seems to have finally got a clue. All the bad guys are jerkasses, partly because they all participate in some way in the strip's style of humor.
Jerk Jock: Brett Taggerty and the majority of the Baccdair Brawlers fit this trope perfectly. Dex Garrit and Rachel Hart are the only athletes who don't.
Several of the werewolves we've seen at Coldfire Academy fit this profile. Some of them soften, though, after the Alpha Bitchgoes too far.
Chance Masters is a spoiled brat who is excellent at fencing.
Chance's favorite target Helinerused to be one and bullied Chance mercilessly.
Journey to the Center of the Mind: Dom's gone into other peoples' minds, and currently The Beast is probing Dom's physical brain but can't find his mind because (or in spite) of Dom's mind being inside his own head trying to reason with his mind/soul to prevent the dreaded MINDBREAK.
Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: A certain elemental goes from a womanising scumbag to a insane mass of death earth attempting to kill one of the main characters. Then again, it was less "jumping" and more "shoved by Jacob".
Dominic thinks that Celesto is going off the deep end with his insane scheme to implicate the King and the Beast by murdering Chance with a fake Beast. What really worries Dominic is that Celesto is positively giddy about this plan. The power boost in chaotic magic from being the Champion of Chaos and fighting The Beast's influence on his mind is eroding his will and slowly but surely pushing him to the edge.
Just Eat Gilligan: The treasure of Luana is an artifact that acts as a key, allowing its holder to open the door to the Heart of Magic. It has been stated that the Heart of Magic is not meant for mortals. Even though all of its guardians believe that any attempt to approach the Heart of Magic is an incredibly foolish act that can only ever lead to disaster, they make no effort to destroy it until the Big Bad tries to claim it. They succeed in destroying it, but the Big Bad proceeds to consume Dominic's second sight and gloats that it can just use that to find another way to unlock the Heart of Magic.
Karmic Death: Brett Taggerty and Serk Brakkis, from Celesto's (And some readers) point of view, anyway.
Kick the Dog: Among the first things we see Siegfried do are beat Dominic to a pulp for not giving him the prediction he wanted, and then beating Gregory, a crippled kid, with his own walking stick. Of course, he does Pet the Dog a couple times later on.
Narrowly averted with Luna. At the end of the March Across Maltak arc Mookie said that he really considerd letting Luna die in order to get a more dramatic ending. He decided against it after considering how it would absolutely destroy Dominic and kill the future plot lines he planned out.
In the start of the comic's last year, Mookie declares that not everyone will make it to the end...and then kills Bumper. Followed now by all the archmages, the denizens of Aberthast Cathedral, the Masters family, the Maestro...and Rilian. And Quilt and Celesto.
Large Ham: Zelda (No, not thatZelda), an old friend of Domonic's during her appearance in the Oracle Hunter Arc. For more fun, remember that Zelda Zanzibar is based on a gag Mookie used to pull. Yes, in drag.
Law of Inverse Fertility / Babies Ever After: Not sure how to classify this: Luna was rendered infertile, but a few of her eggs survived. Since Dom's infertile as well she decides to donate them and the eggs will, to quote the alterist, "actually take on the genetics of the recipient."
Light Is Not Good: While the Akta isn't bad, being a force for life and healing, its most powerful practitioner, the Bikta spirit father, is a fanatical asshole.
While White Magic in general is fueled by positive emotions and does positive things for people like healing or strengthening their bodies, it is not by strict definition 'good' but rather based on the aspect of creation, the exception being Holy Magic as a direct opposition to Infernomancy.
Jacob discovers that the Blight isn't a form of necromancy, but rather out-of-control White Magic perverted by necromancers.
Love It or Hate It: Invoked in-universe with Greg's second band. At their opening concert, half the crowd walked out right off the bat, but the other half stayed and had a blast.
Lower Deck Episode: Occasionally, we're treated to an arc without our main characters: Hello, Nurse! and Built to Resist omitted Dominic and Luna in favor of Gregory, and Two Thief featured only a small cameo from Dominic.
2010 was basically a Lower Deck year, to even out the fact that one story arc took up the entirety of 2009.
The Magic Goes Away: The Maltak arc ends with the Orcs' magic being taken away by Maltak to aid its rebirth. It doesn't seem to be completely gone, though, more that they'll have to rediscover it.
And the next arc begins with Callanian Magic mysteriously malfunctioning as a result.
The Big Bad's entire motivation is to prevent this from happening to Callan.
Courtesy of Dominic's final vision, it actually turns out to be the opposite of this for Maltak, as their Chandaks come back and they become a great power of magic, while Callan seems to be headed toward either a Steam Punk future.
Magitek / Functional Magic: What starts out as a pseudo-medieval fantasy world turns out to be a world with advanced arcane laboratories, magical electric guitars, heavy metal bands ... and, apparently, spandex. There's also magical surgery, magical CT scans, and magical obstetrics, as well as whatever magical devices that allowed them to learn about genetics.
Meaningful Funeral: Bumper gets a funeral pyre in the middle of town, plus some added context to let the readers know that he was well-known enough for the whole town to show up and that he was Quilt's friend.
Stunt is stunted. The religion of his homeland, Scaplianism (it's not as sexually liberated as Luanianism and his father being religious and abusive didn't help his view) might be a shout-out/take that at Episcopalians.
Acibek was a golem created by an ancient Elven tyrant who powered him with several souls combined together, many of them collected unwillingly, and not happy about it. The Sylvan Oracle and her own creation "Dirk the Mighty" were similar golems.
And there's also the Storm of Souls, a raging maelstrom of souls formed from deceased members of the chaos-worshipping cult The Chosen and intended to be their weapon to destroy the world with. Acibek sacrificed himself to trap it in a cage forged from his own souls and centuries later the Sylvan Oracle sacrificed herself to destroy it.
Messianic Archetype: Luna has become this in the March Across Maltak arc, becoming essentially the Jesus of the orcs. She sprouts plant life wherever she walks, can pull water from nowhere, and is literally powered by the gods of Maltak. Near the end of the arc, she dies and is promptly resurrected.
Mighty Whitey: Nimmel is basically called one by Milov, as Milov explains just why he personally accepted him to the Coldfire Academy. It remains to be seen if we are supposed to be taking him seriously or not.
"You're a better werewolf then most werewolves."
Arguably Luna during the Maltak arc(s), when she was divinely appointed to be unifier of the tribes by the elemental gods of Maltak.
It's implied that the newly dead came back rather than than return to the earth. That may have just been Jacob and those he was holding, but he didn't seem to be in control of it, he was simply assuring those two followed him.
Mind Rape: Siegfried hijacks a lunar divination between Dominic and Milov to do this, displaying his fate since the War in Hell and his past affair with Lady Jayden in order to force Milov into having a Heroic BSOD.
Mundane Utility: Crystal balls are videophones. Frequently even when there's no one with scrying talent established on either end of the line. Scarlatti used Tomen's Teleport Service to get to Barthis so quickly for the duel. And the people with flying spells use them all the freaking time, as well as Dominic's ability to 'bookmark' to any of a few set places instantly, as often as he wants.
Also, alterism. It's basically plastic surgery, only magic and therefore with far more options. Like, presumably, ftm sex-change operations that really work, as it were.
Magic is essentially mundane in this world, apart from not being available to everyone—even things like monitoring Hell are only deviations in scale from the routine. Some ritual stuff and horror and of course the major world-saving quests are the main exceptions.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Karnak's attempted way of dealing with the love triangle between him, Miranda, and Donovan. He thought better of it without actually killing anyone, so one hopes it didn't count too much toward damnation.
Overlapping with Oh, Crap: The Infernomancer's response when Dominic tells him the demon lord he was supposedly bound to serve didn't have control over him: "Now I get to kill you the way I've always wanted to — slowly!"
Miranda banishes the Infernomancer to "the planes beyond all reason and imagination...an unspeakable place between the known dimensions". Unfortunately this allows him to become corrupted and controlled by the Beast. Later, Dominic blasts Celesto into the same place when he destroys the Storm of Souls in the Elemecca; when Celesto breaks free later still due to the War in Hell, he accidentally brings the Infernomancer, and the Beast, to the Material Plane with him.
Something the Shintula Chieftain experiences in the form of Luna's Chosen One status, which would never have happened if he hadn't cursed the Callanians with the affliction that would lead Luna to being born with 'Tusk-Mouth' in the first place.
The Infernomancer stabs Quilt...but that just allows him to get in close and impale him in turn, as well as Rilian...thus corrupting the Infernomancer with the Blight and freeing Rilian's necromancy from the Big Bad's control.
No Bisexuals: Szark was apparently deluding himself that he was turned on by his wife back when he was a hedonist, even though hedonists don't go in much for that. Because he's gay now. Totally. And doesn't like women and makes gay jokes pretty much every time he opens his mouth. It's part of the Heel-Face Turn package. The monks helped him realize it and now he's comfortable with himself. Because obviously only people who're sunk deep into depravity would like both girls and guys, and they also usually express that by having threesomes.
Although, since he describes "the feeling he felt towards girls" as how he felt about killing other people for pleasure, it's quite likely that he means that it was something that brought him short-term pleasure but knew deep down wasn't what he wanted.
Szark's relationship with Luna's sister is heavily implied to be the result of her using magic to enchant him, and that he has been gay all along. He even mentions that he was crushing on Dominic for a while when they were younger.
During 'Two Thief' Szark makes a passing remark (and a tasteless joke) that revealed that at some point during the several hours Amelia had Bumper as her brainwashed 'exotic toy,' they fit in a foursome. This is technically rape, and one has to hope Bumper doesn't remember. That night was traumatic enough for him.
Actually, that was established in the original arc. Background of panel two. He seems to be asleep.
Celesto Morgan: Although, from what we have seen of him, he is more asexual, using sex simply as a tool for manipulating others.
No Indoor Voice: Inverted; anyone whose portrayed as talking really quietly or high pitched is written in no-caps.
No Name Given: Stunt's female boss didn't get a name until the last page of the WILD EDGE! story, (Gail Vazkes); meanwhile several male poachers got names much earlier despite being Red Shirts.
Not In This For Your Pilgrimage: Initially Stunt doesn't care one whit for Jayden's spiritual journey into Eldariat (not that he actively wants to support her supposed quest for death either). All he cares about is the Lost Treasure of Luana. This changes a bit as they get closer to the end and explore each other's motivations for taking the pilgrimage together.
King David also tries to pull this on Dominic, based on their both being The Chessmaster and doing their level best to preven the tragedies they foresee. Of course Dominic's methods are nothing like his, and while he tries to prevent the death and suffering of loved ones and friends, the king is trying to prevent the loss of magical prominencefor Callan (and himself).
Oblivious Younger Sibling: Gregory refuses to believe that his big brother Jacob is at all evil... until Jacob admits he tried to kill him.
One-Winged Angel: The diminutive Dirk the Mighty can transform into a powerful ogre. Infernomancers like Caylen Bren and Bulgak become more obviously demonic the more they tap into their demon lords' power. After becoming the servant of an Eldritch Abomination, TIM shifts between a mostly human form and a mass of tentacled horror at will.
Only Six Faces: Lampshadedhere. There are other occasions where it's clear that Mookie is aware of it. Dex Garrit and Dominic Deegan look alike because they share similar hair. The mystery and dramatic reveal of the Oracle Hunter's identity was only able to keep the reader guessing because of this trope.
Gets kind of ridiculous when you add Generation Xerox: Dom and Greg look like their mother and father while their older brother has their mother's parents' hair and better-than-thou attitude. It also kind of messed-up the dramatic entry of The Infernomancer into the Beast's and King Johan's plot since wasn't named and he looks like a buffed-up Greg with cool gauntlets.
Orcus on His Throne: Since his reveal as The Beast's partner-in-crime, the King of Callan has been fairly passive overall. It's eventually revealed that this is because he was waiting for the Beast's champion the Infernomancer to regenerate. It also highlights just how little he thinks of his enemies' efforts against him.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Are their own culture, and come in two flavors: Werewolves, and Spellwolves. Both can shift at will, and retain pretty much all their mental faculties. Spellwolves are a special, rarer type of Werewolf that can use considerable magical power. The moon is significant in the culture, and Spellwolves can use the full moon to scry like seers.
Out of Focus: Given the comic's large character base and varied locations, it's not uncommon for the focus to change drastically from arc to arc. Supporting characters like Milov and Jayden will sometimes disappear for arcs at a time, and even main characters like Dominic and Luna will occasionally take an arc off.
After the end of the Maltak arc, Dominic and Luna were absent from the comic for nearly an entire year.
This strip gets funnier if you imagine the phrase means "motherfucker", although anything with fuck in it is probably broad enough for the number of places "Ilka Tuk Tak" get's used.
Given a lookup in a Scots dictionary, Ilka Tuk Tak would translate to "Gather each thorn." Taken as an idiomatic phrase meant to convey an incredibly demeaning and humiliating task (or the feeling associated with it), this meaning makes sense and fits with their culture/herbivorous nature.
Later comics give us "kiak", "fak", "uruk", and "thok".
Parent Ex Machina: Miranda, somewhat exceptional in that the main character is (ostensibly) no longer a child. Actually lampshaded at one point when Miranda tries a few puns on the phrase, including "Mama Ex Machina" and "Deus Ex Momina," and, after seeing the confused reactions of her audience, she settles for, "I'm his mother, and I'm going to fix everything."
Pet the Dog: Jacob resurrecting Luna. "Don't say I've never done anything for this family."
Just after Celesto kills Brett Taggerty: "Go. Get out of here. Run home to your daughter, hold her tight, and thank her for that 'good luck pinch.' It just saved your life."
Phantom Zone: A nameless, Lovecraftian dimension exists that has, so far, been used as a convenient way to get rid of villains so they can return later. Although the indiscriminate infiltration of tentacles into their various orifices seems to be a bad side effect of staying in this dimension for too long.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: A rare case of this being presented in a positive manner. At the conclusion of the Maltak arc, the souls of the Orc dead are absorbed back into Maltak to help it recover. Essentially, the souls of the Orcs have been turned into spiritual mulch.
Rather, it's explained that this was a natural cycle that the poison in Maltak was halting, which is why the place was barren in the first place.
An Acibek is a golem created by merging multiple souls into a single collective entity using Order magic. The original Acibek was created by the elf tyrant Raf Maliksh using the souls of his own followers. It's no wonder Acibek immediately turned on Raf in disgust. Two other characters, Dirk the Mighty and Leaflette the former Sylvan Oracle, are also Acibeks. Dirk was created by Leaflette to be a guardian for the Dryad using the souls of a tree ogre, slumber flower, and a halfling. Leaflette was created by the original Acibek using an unknown combination of souls. This is also an unusually positive case: Acibek assures the loved ones of Raf's sacrifices that the souls inside him are at peace within his collective being.
The Evil Counterpart of the Acibek, the Storm of Souls, is as nasty as it sounds. It's an Eldritch Abomination composed of the souls of the Chaos worshipping Chosen that can devour other souls as well. Unlike an Acibek, the souls within the Storm are not at peace.
The Power of Legacy: Used twice: once when Donovan sees Karnak jump into Hell after beating him to a pulp, he chooses not to tell Miranda about what had happened. Later on, Dominic follows his father's example by telling Milov and Jayden that Siegfried died as a knight of Callan, even though he was a genocidal maniac who promptly went to Hell. The first example is the Trope Namer and is found here. The second one is here.
An earlier example was when a character said "shit" for the first time, though Mookie played up on it in his post, despite much more mature content done in previous comic strips. Specifically, he had originally intended the character to say "Oh, Crap", but felt "Oh shit" was stronger and fit better.
Pretty in Mink: One of Amelia's dresses. Miranda's mother had a fur muff.
President Evil: King David. Don't let the king title fool you, he got elected after the previous king was murdered. By him. After that, he joins forces with an advanced AI that's made from his eyes and hungry for souls.
Pathetic. Hard to believe I ever considered you a threat. Look at you. A sad imitation of a real seer, and more animal than oracle. You cling proudly to your "identity", but at your most powerful you are not yourself. You are me. But unlike me...and unlike a true champion...you cannot bear the power you are granted. You don't even possess enough power to fuel a Mindbreak, like a real seer. Without your stolen powers and cheap imitations, you are nothing. Well, maybe not "nothing". You can still serve one purpose...as an appetizer.
Redemption in the Rain: Played straight, in Maltak, where the orc tattoos washing off, was used to show show their powers are returning to nature.
Retcon: Borderline: What happened to Stunt's mother and why. In a deleted comic, Stunt said he "slit her nasty throat" because she was abusive. That was removed and replaced with one where he just said she was his first murder. Then it turns out he was just trying to scare her and his mother's lesbian lover apparently (accidentally?) pushed her in front of his knife.
The Reveal: Throughout the Oracle Hunter Arc, it's heavily implied that Barnet is the illegitimate child of Donovan and a woman he dated prior to meeting Miranda, making her Dominic's half-sister. However, it's later revealed that she's actually one of Luna's sisters.
Rule of Cool: Mookie is known to invoke continuity errors or unexplained events for the sake of coolness. For example: why does Melna's hammer have lightning coming from it when she kills the Doma chief? Because "it's pretty f* cking metal."
Mookie also invoked this involving a Rain of Arrows that inexpicably changed direction from one strip to another:
Mookie: Okay, I know in yesterday's strip that the Rhazgala archers all had their bows pointed up and today those arrows are flying horizontally past Suyan's head. This "continuity error" is just a dramatic choice on my part because I felt the arrows flying straight on past him looked cooler.
Also Mookie himself pointed out in a comic "And so with Chris's death today I continue the tradition of killing people who win a named appearance in the comic via ConnectiCon's Webcomic Charity Auction."
Lower Back Problems
CURSE YOU, RUNCIBLE SPOON!
Sadist Teacher, subverted. During his tenure as a teacher, Dominic gained a reputation of being a hardass before the first day of class even began. He admits that Second Sight (the course he was teaching) would be hard, as there is a lot of history and heavy reading involved. Despite this, he has a positive relationship with his students, and vice versa.
Scarf OfAsskicking Equals Authority? During the meeting of the new-and-last chiefs of the Orc tribes, most of them have a scarf on, and Mookie's commentary notes that a scarf in this comic makes you badass.
Screw Destiny: At the end of the Maltak arc, Melna tells fate to kiss her ass. A few comics later, Kiya steals her line.
This is pretty much what Dominic does throughout the comic. The only time fate ever won was with the "Fated Fatal".
Some of My Best Friends Are X: Siegfried uses almost the trope name in the 'War in Hell' storyline after Dominic calls him a racist. Unusually, what he says is absolutely true and not particularly tainted by stereotyping or tokenism: One of his best friends is a spellwolf. It's just orcs. He has this huge problem with orcs. Oh, but "orcs aren't people."
Luna's narration: Dominic and I, having just been in the presence of such a majestic creature, reacted the way any pair of intellectuals would have... (Dominic and Luna stare at each other) Dominic and Luna: (bouncing up and down) DRAGONDRAGONOHMYGODDRAGONOHGODOHWOWDRAGONDRAGON!
Strange Minds Think Alike: In the first story arc, both Siegfried and Spark use the phrase, "In my defense, it had tusks" to describe Luna (which Dominic catches right away when Spark says it). The two instances occur several days apart. Subverted in the second case, as it turns out Spark wasn't referring to Luna, but to a sea monster that also had tusks.
Straw Critic: A highly-regarded but unnamed and unseen music critic shows up in The Power of Rock story. He thrashes Greg's "dumbed-down" music and while he doesn't exactly praise FACEBATH's proto-metal he does like that it's original; naturally by that point Greg and his two bandmates (a dude with tuskmouth and the jerkass bisexual(?) elf son of his father's bandmate) don't care.
Taking You with Me: The Beast tries this several times with both Dominic and Celesto. It finally succeeds with the latter, only for the seer to turn the tables by destroying them both with a chaos explosion.
The Beast: Pathetic seer! If I must go, I'll take you with me!
Justified Trope if you take his 'They stayed back because I told them to' as an admission that he might hurt his own tribe if he really went all out against the Bikta Chief. Given that their fight was interrupted before Thuen Gor got serious, we'll never know.
As the comic enters its final year Mookie proclaimed that there would be several character deaths in the coming story arcs. A comic page before the Infernomancer drives his claws right through Bumper's chest.
Too Dumb to Live: The poachers are dumbed down to irrelevance, even by the standards of a fun story about weird critters and murdering bad guys. They're hunting a mongrelman, an unknown quantity that survives in the Wild Edge - a plain where Reality Is Out to Lunch, known for giant horrible teeth bursting out of places you'd least expect, that has already killed some of them. They catch it by (1) throwing a net over it, and (2) gloating. This when they have been shown to have Instant Sedation - causing tranquilizers that can knock out a tosserphant. There were body parts everywhere.
Really, Too Dumb to Live kicked in earlier, when the one guy decided to just ignore the leader's advice and pick up one of the little fuzzballs.
Tranquillizer Dart: Instant paralysis darts that seem to only be in effect while they're still stuck in the person.
Traveling at the Speed of Plot: In a bizarre on-panel example, a character walks out of an empty, flat wasteland and into an enemy camp. A similar scene takes several minutes on Lawrence of Arabia, and the traveler is on camelback. Here the traveler is past the camp's guards in the time the guards take to spot her, recognize her, and recover from the surprise that she's alive.
True Companions: Dominic's network of friends and allies. A werewolf's social worth revolves around their "pack" and to insult one is a major Dude, Not Funny! offense.
Two Guys and a Girl: A repeated trope to the point the Xerox is starting to edge onto Naruto's turf. Donovan, Miranda, and Karnak seem to have been this, though it's unclear how Karnak felt about Donovan most of the time. Stonewater, Grenchka, and Bulgak also follow this pattern, with a variation in that Bulgak knew Grench first, but does not get her. Milov, Jayden, and Siegfried are eventually revealed to have been this not just in gender combo but in dynamic.
This seems to be the preferred composition of any given adventuring party in the setting, which owes a lot to fantasy RPG conventions, though not in the story. Greg, Luna, and Dominic fell into it early on, and if Szark had been a little more sane in his intro and the plot a little more conventional, he probably would have wound up a party with Dominic and Luna and given us the variant where the girl and one of the guys both like the other guy. Instead he's just the Pet Homosexual.
Happens to Reinholdt during the climax of the Maltak arc, though not without a price.
Similarly, when Luna is stabbed with the Hukthak, her injury disappears as soon as it's pulled out, but it too comes with a price: She can never have children.
Unholy Nuke: A rare example of one used by a good character. Dark Soul Burst is a spell powered by anger and hatred, and is typically used by Luna when someone REALLY pisses her off. The first time it's used, it knocks out Siegfried, a rather strong royal knight, in a single shot. Later on, an ally deliberately pisses her off to make the spell more powerful when she casts it.
As part of his endgame, King David uses a combination of the imprisoned Rilian's necromancy and the Beast's power to launch gigantic "Blight-Bombs" to destroy everything outside of Callan.
Veganopia: Major piece in developing the orcs. It's not that they're not a violent, primitive society, but they're herbivores, and it adds a certain buccolic innocence to Maltak.
Also note Karnak's bizzarre behavioral tic of taking unnecessary mouthfuls out of his enemies and then spitting them out. He was raised an orc. They had to boil the food for ages to get it soft enough for his human teeth. No word on what, if anything, he's actually eaten all these years in hell.
The Voiceless: According to Luna, Jayden hasn't said a single word since the Shadow of Siegfried incident. Demon Siegfried may qualify as this as well, though he seems to lean closer to The Speechless since his mask obstructs his mouth (Though he can still communicate with Karnak without the use of body language somehow). Jayden finally breaks her vow of silence to wed Dom and Luna, only to be interrupted by Greg.
Webcomic Time: Frequently and often lampshaded, sometimes straight and sometimes through continuity nods. Usually it gets so confusing over how much time has passed during the arcs that it can only be determined by Spark's lampshade hanging via hunger.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Celesto Morgan, who first wanted to cleanse the world with Chaos after deciding the people in it were all assholes, and who now says he's trying to save the world from The Infernomancer while incidentally destroying Lynn's Brook, which he calls "a small price to pay."
He also thinks brutally murdering a teenager (who he claims will grow up to be a bad person anyway) using methods that will implicate the King and the Beast is justified since it's for the "greater good".
Wham Episode: The folks that Dominic and Luna meet in their relaxation cruise, namely: Suin Seyera from Faria, The Dragon from Nagastrali, Buckley Hussle and the Dwarf he had a fight with from Olde Tucklebruck Island, The Trickster from Quastrilla, Milov from the Winter Archipelago and Arcangelo Scarlatti from The Semashi Kingdom. They are called together by Brian, who's RILIAN in disguise! THE MAESTRO was in on it too.It was a test, but still! And apparently one of his student's theories was right as well.
The one aiding the Beast in gaining power is the king of Callan, former Archmage of the Fifth Circle (for whom said circle was invented!) and one of the most powerful magi in Callanian history. All of his battlemages are either being corrupted by the Beast into humanoid Eldritch Abominations, or already have been, thus giving it even more power. And it seems Celesto may be on the same path.
Wham Shot: Occurs in this strip when the storms hammering Maltak finally subsided, and all the orcs assembled at the border ran back to their homeland... to find it reduced to a desolate, lifeless wasteland. Donovan's reaction to all this 4 strips later tells the tale.
What Happened to the Mouse?: While there are quite a few characters who have not been heard from for a while (possibly to make a cameo later) the most infamous example to some fans is Brok who just vanishes from the comic completely with only passing mention from Stunt and Bumper later about losing him. Granted that he was only a hired thug, it still felt odd to just drop him.
Word of God was that Brok himself was a reference to one of Mookie's friends, and on reflection Mookie felt he didn't really "fit" in the comic.
Mookie planned on Luna dying at the end of the Maltak arc, but realized that there'd be no way that her death wouldn't break Dominic (having previously established what A Bad Thing Dominic breaking down would be). Enter the last-second rescue by Jacob.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Dominic thinks that Celesto is suffering from this due to keeping his powers as the Champion of Chaos. According to Dominic, humans aren't built to wield that kind of power indefinitely and that it's warping Celesto's mind.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Heliner, who keeps trying to base his life on comic books. For example, Dominic is a seer, which means he must have godlike reflexes, right? And Chance is rich, which means he must be a jerk who deserves to be treated like crap, right??
Worthy Opponent: King Dave to Miranda, the only mage he couldn't put under mind control.
Earlier, there was Dominic as the Avatar Of Balance in the "Storm of Souls" arc. It seems to be a recurring theme in the comic.
You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Miranda says exactly this to TIM when he attacks her in the "Ecstasy and Evil" arc. The true meaning of her words weren't revealed until years later, but the "Archmage of the fifth circle" isn't a rank in the archmage academy. It's literally the circle in which she stands in the five-being council that rules ALL the archmagi.