is a long-running webcomic written and illustrated by Brion Foulke.
The comic is about four characters and their quests:
- Bernadette, a Lady of War and Maytag's long-time companion and friend.
- Crest, a young skilled rogue and the son of a famous knight.
- Maytag, a nymphomaniac in a jester costume.
- Regina, a wizard-in-training, who later abandons her wizard education to become Maytag's protege.
Together, they take on the challenges of a world ruled almost entirely by sorcerers, where dark magic and abuses of power run rampant. Their greatest obstacle, however, may end up being their conflicting natures.
The comic contains female nudity and therefore external links may be NSFW.
Has a Character Sheet
Tropes related to both comics:
Tropes related to the main comic:
- Absurdly Cool City: Eschelon. From its outskirts to the city itself.
- The Ace: Suspiria. She has awesome magical powers, but she usually is less helpful than Bernadette and Maytag, and as a result is more as support.
- Aerith and Bob: Bernadette is the daughter of Grant, friends with Maytag (nee Veranda), travels with Crest, is sometimes annoyed by Suspiria, used to work with Polymer Lyrica (who understandably prefers Polly), and was once hired by Seraph. It goes on.
- Aesop: The depictions of Marvallo are particularly Anvilicious...
- Aliens Made Them Do It: In Chapter 21: "Bed and Breakfast", Bernadette and Maytag are lured into a pool whose water is enchanted with a lust spell, which Glyph attempts to take advantage of. Maytag, being somewhat more in touch with her libido, figures it out and snaps out of it. Chapter 23: "Silhouette" reveals that this may have been a Secret Test of Character for Maytag, but the character saying this is not entirely trustworthy; Glyph wasn't really himself either.
- All Deaths Final: Subverted. There are a set list of rules for resurrection magic (done because the author felt it was a copout). First, it's very expensive, so not everyone can do it. Second, the body returns in a similar state when they died (minus a few wounds), meaning some curses and diseases will almost immediately kill the body again. Third, not said, but implied, this means old age and having had a few years to decay are both conditions that probably invalidate the effect. Fourth, the brain must be in good shape (brain damage is not really recoverable by resurrection). And fifth, there has to be an actual body to come back to, so a body cut into sections or burned/disintegrated is not an option.
- Antimagic: The power of the sword Bernadette has. She can't use it effectively without its twin, however.
- Antimagical Faction: The knightly order that Bernadette wishes to join eschews magic, which puts them at odds with the prevailing culture. Bernadette doesn't like it either and her personal quest involves finding a legendary pair of magic-nullifying swords.
- Artifact of Doom: The Xibulba collar grants you a large collection of powers along with bringing out your basic instincts, and not in a good way. In Voulger's case, it makes him a homicidal rapist. In Derricks' case, he turns into a revenge-obssessed psychopath. In an intermission segment, its possible effects on the other characters (including the author) are Played for Laughs.
- Author Appeal: It seems that the author has a dismemberment fetish. First Maytag cuts off her own finger. Then later she gets her arm eaten off. And the villain is a scar-covered girl who can regenerate any severed limb, which means that her limbs are frequently severed during battle. He lampshades it in Intermission 12.
- Badass Normal: The knights strive to be this, with their rejection of sorcery in a world where sorcery-boosted psychopaths run rampant.
- Bag of Holding. Maytag's purse.
- Better Than Sex: Maytag knows a restaurant with food so good, it gives you figurative orgasms. She also knows one with food so good it gives you literal ones.
- Body Horror: The Thin Man & Melter's experiments are full of this for their victims. Just look at what happened to Suspiria.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: An effect caused by the "Xibulba" collar.
- Brick Joke: Literally, in the intermission strips, which often have variations on Bernadette throwing a brick at Maytag. Later, the brick got thrown at other characters that stole the show, and once it was a Toaster instead. Bernadette claimed she was out of bricks.
- Broken Pedestal: Bernadette is quite disappointed to find out that her father Grant is pretty much a loser.
- The Bus Came Back: Regina gets put on the bus near the end of Book 0, and comes back only after they reach Eschelon. Blackbird, Bernadette's old flame, comes back after a brief mention in chapter 20.
- Doing In the Wizard: Magic is actually nanotech called "qualia." Some characters are aware of this but do not understand how it works.
- Double Standard: The ongoing relationship drama between Maytag and Bernadette is based on both a straight use and subversion of this, as while Maytag wants her lover to accept her Good Bad Girl act, she ends up compromising her own nature in order to please her monogamous and conservative partner. Thus, it's also an apparent subversion of the stock Be Yourself Aesop: sometimes it's worth giving up your freedom for the person you love... maybe. It has yet to be seen whether their relationship can survive this conflict in the long term.
- Emotionless Girl: Veranda Kingfisher as a child. She took on the Maytag persona as a way to get people to like her, meaning that both sides of her personality are an act.
- Expressive Hair: Suspiria has enchanted hair that changes shape in accordance with her moods.
- Fantastic Aesop: It's still possible to be friends with someone while they are eating your arm.
- Girlfriend in Canada: Maytag tells Crest (and others) she can't be their full-time lover, since she has a boyfriend, and he gets jealous. But you never seem to see this boyfriend. Her "boyfriend" is Bernadette.
- Heteronormative Crusader: The knights' devotion to the natural order leads to their opposition to sorcery and homosexuality.
- Honor Before Reason: The Knights' shunning of all thing magical - despite the clear disadvantage this puts them at.
- Horned Humanoid: *
- Horror Hunger: Bloody Mary is forced into cannibalism by the painful demands of her body.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: Suspiria can change her hair's color and style based on her emotions. Until she has her hair cut.
- Knights Templar: The Knights Of LaShoar, though they are slightly subverted in that their reaction to being directly proven wrong is "ok then" or at least "maybe we were mistaken".
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Surprisingly averted, given the prominence that Bernadette and Maytag's relationship has within the story, as the author is extremely careful never to mention it in the chapter summaries or book jackets.
- Magic A Is Magic A: The intermission segments expand on the world's formalized rules for sorcery and spellcasting.
- Magic Feather: Maytag's costume appears to be the key to her confidence; take it away and she's painfully shy. Subverted in Chapter 30, in which it's revealed that both personalities are an act — see Emotionless Girl.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Thin Man's claims towards magic. He says it's actually microscopic machines doing everything.
- Mundane Utility: Magic can be, and is, used for everything.
- No One Could Survive That: "Morioh Mortis", which conjures a flesh eating virus. Somehow, Bloody Mary survived. And now there's three of her.
- The Nudifier: "Thread Reaper", a particularly vile weapon Voulger uses against Maytag. In addition, Confringo appears to be a spell that destroys the clothing of anyone hit with it.
- Omake: the "Intermission" segments. In later chapters these are done in Yonkoma style.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: The author insists that it is the prettiest webcomic about a bisexual ninja/jester you'll ever read.
- Retool: The story is a sequel of sorts to the (less well drawn) original story, which is collected on the site as "Book 0".
- Ship Tease: The first six chapters focus on Crest, who is being strung along by Maytag as some sort of demented sociology project. It doesn't help that Maytag is an Good Bad Girl who would happily hop into the sack with him and anyone else who asked, but has a little problem holding her back: she's in a monogamous relationship with Bern. The Ship Tease is not purely on the reader's part, as poor Crest can attest to.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Regina.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Not quite. Suspiria claims she doesn't actually feel any different from the transformation, though she did have a nasty case of Reunion Revenge.
- That Came Out Wrong: "Did you enjoy that Maytag girl?"
- Utility Magic: There are spells for everything from regrowing limbs, to raising the dead (though the author says the circumstances of death are important, brain death or similar is impossible to raise), to very mundane activities, like keeping clothing clean and such. This is lampshaded in one scene, where two of the wizards are doing things like chopping wood with their hands, and setting fires.
- Utility Belt: Spells can be packaged and prepared in advance by another caster, so even someone without magic, like Maytag can use them.
- Web First: So far, the comic has spawned 5 books, each one comprising 4 or 6 chapters and their respective intermissions, if those chapters have one, plus some Bonus Material. (Book 1 comprises chapters 1-4: Book 2 comprises chapters 5-10; Book 3 comprises chapters 11-15; Book 4 comprises chapters 16-20; and Book 5 comprises chapters 21-26)
- With Great Power Comes Great Perks: No garbage about responsible use of power, wizards can use magic to do such things as cut wood, start fires, regrow limbs, and even raise the dead.
- Words Can Break My Bones: Basically how all magic works, except purely mental.
- Yuri Genre
Tropes related to Book Zero: