Thaco: We are NOT jumping off this roof to our deaths! (long pause) Thaco: We're jumping off THAT roof to our deaths. It's got a tree.
Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes is a webcomic written, penciled, and colored by Tarol Hunt, nicknamed Thunt, following the adventures of a band of, well, goblins, as they fight off evil adventurers. It's a role reversal of the typical adventure RPG Dungeons & Dragons, though familiarity with the game isn't required to understand what's happening.The main story follows five members of a cannon-fodder goblin tribe (Thaco, Chief, Big-Ears, Complains-of-Names, and Fumbles) who decide to stop being cannon fodder and become Player Characters. A side plot follows a sixth goblin (Dies-Horribly) who goes on a solo adventure arc quite against his will. It features detailed world-building (including quite a few whole-cloth, background creatures with detailed biologies) and characterization, particularly of the villains. One of the goblin characters, Big-Ears, is a rare instance of a truly gentle, heroic and noble paladin, while the paladin status of the most opaque and brutal villain, Kore, thus far is one of the most foreboding mysteries.The comic doesn't give its characters very long to get used to their newfound abilities as heroes. Goblins thrusts its main characters in over their heads almost immediately, locks them into a course of action they can't possibly handle, and then calls into play a series of oddities, Deus ex Machina, coincidences, character-driven actions, more Deus ex Machina, and Chekhov's Guns that collectively get the heroes into a position where they might possibly be able to escape their impossible predicament. Because it didn't seem like they'd get into this much danger this quickly, the story instantly became edge-of-your-seat reading.The comic is also known for its twice-weekly (usually) update schedule, juggling three plots at the same time, spending literally months on mook battles, and skipping comic updates to advertise products. Of course, this makes the comic sound far worse than it is, and it should be noted that the mostly wordless mook battles are often stunningly descriptive visuals and sometimes even Crowning Moments of Awesome all on their own.The site also hosts a sub-comic, Tempts Fate, about a lone goblin adventurer facing various dangers each comic. This part is Thunt's donation scheme and thus, people would have to stop supporting Thunt's artistic endeavors to kill Tempts Fate off. So far, he's survived every death trap.For the completely unrelated computer game, see Gobliiins. For goblins in general, see Our Goblins Are Different.
Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes provides examples of the following tropes:
Drowbabe misunderstands the purpose of the Mage Armor spell, thinking it lessens the damage she takes (when it actually makes it easier to dodge incoming blows). When Ears points out how the spell works, she realizes she should have taken more damage earlier in the battle, and promptly dies.
Minmax's oblivion sword is only able to exist because his mind can't fathom the concept of oblivion. In fact, Kin theorizes that his ignorance might make the weapon more powerful; his sword treats "nothingness" as a power source (somehow), so the more it is "nothing" the more powerful it becomes. To this end, the less concept its wielder has of what it is and how it works the stronger it gets. Minmax, naturally, and without realizing the implications, immediately names the sword "Oblivious".
Seemingly a deconstruction of the trope. The Goblins and such are portrayed as creatures who are just trying to survive in a world where they are seen as mere XP Fodder.
It's also justified in the case of the Elite Guard: In one scene Thaco compares the Elite Guards' motivations to those of the standard city guard, and for the rest of the comic, it's okay to assume that the Elite Guards are Always Lawful Evil. Ears the Paladin confirms this with his Detect Evil ability.
Amazing Technicolor Population: The goblins have a wide range of skin colors, including various shades of green, yellow, orange, brown... and the Viper clan goblins are all chalk-white. Hilariously lampshaded in one comic:
Saves-a-Fox: Okay, now try a skin coloured one. Grem: You mean a white one? K'seliss: She means a green one. Saves-a-Fox: I mean an orange one!
Ambition Is Evil: Kore's murder-spree was completely derailed by him seeing the powerful Axe of Prissan, suggesting at least part of his skewed definition of good is a quest for power. Since the axe is meant to be held by a Paladin, and Kore likely doesn't know/refuses to accept that Ears is a Paladin. In his own twisted way, he may believe that he's trying to save the world.
If what we see will be infinitely repeated, Biscuit and anyone the guardian demon owns. (Even Dies.)Cruel and Unusual Death indeed. Fortunately, the souls the demon owns were apparently released when she was banished from the Material Plane.
In one of the Alternate Universes, any creature can survive being decapitated as a result of a hero's wish to save his wife that didn't go according to plan. The Minmax from that reality beheaded Thaco, Complains and a third goblin, and carries the still-living severed heads around on a length of rope.
Angrish: A mild case of it, in terms of speechless anger, when Chief has just prayed to his god that there'd be no guards around the corner; this is his reaction.
Art Evolution: Thunt's style and technique have both improved significantly over the course of the comic's lifetime, most recently adding shading to the strip. The difference is so stark that the first page of the archive, rather than being the first strip of the comic, is a page showing just how much the art has changed over time.
The Axe of Prissan, which imprisons a demon of near godlike power. If the Axe goes 13 months in the hands of an evildoer, it will break free.
To a lesser extent, the Shield of Wonder. A localized example, but not a small one for those near it. Some of the results listed on its stats pages aren't even particularly localized. For instance, one effect is that the last person to verbally speak to the wielder is turned to stone, no matter where they are. Another is that the last creature the wielder killed appears in front of him. There are other examples, but perhaps one of the scariest is this: "No matter where he is, the 4th oldest dragon in the realm suddenly loses his wings as well as any ability to fly or teleport in any way." The dragon and the wielder both instantly know that if the dragon in question directly kills the wielder, these abilities will return.
As You Know: Psion Minmax feels the need to tell his version of Kin that he's killed her 817 times, and that she remembers them all, along with some other exposition that she really should know by now.
Kin: Don't throw the spear! Chief: Why not? Kin: I can't keep them back for long! They're going to rush in here in a moment, and that's our only melee weapon! (Chief throws the magic spear, and it reappers in his hand) Kin: (after a beat panel) THROW THE SPEAR!
Baleful Polymorph: A good reason not to use the random-effect magic shield Complains picks up. Alternately, a good reason TO use it if utterly and hopelessly outnumbered.
Barbarian Hero: Minmax was already fitting the trope when a pure fighter (by D&D rules). As of the fight in the magic forest room of the Maze of Many, he has officially taken his first level of barbarian. (With the "extra rage" feat, as befitting of a good minmaxer.)
Minmax: The strength bonus from raging is totally awesome!
Batman Gambit: Lampshaded. When Thaco challenges Dellyn to a duel, both of them know that Thaco has some sort of trap planned. Nonetheless, Dellyn accepts when Thaco points out that the only alternative is for Dellyn to order his soldiers to kill Thaco, and bear the reputation of not being able to kill a single old, frail goblin.
Battle Aura: Called Individual Magical Effect (I.M.E.) in-story.
Bavarian Fire Drill: Part of the backstory for minor character Sticks involves him bluffing a Brassmoon guard into thinking he's not an orc, but a soldier who's been polymorphed into an orc to infiltrate an army of orcs who are besieging the city.
Bearer of Bad News: Kin, explaining about the Maze of Many's counter. She really, really would rather NOT be doing so.
Because Destiny Says So: Many goblins with names that aren't the case already will be happening. For example, the goblin named "Dies-Horribly".
Beware My Stinger Tail: Scorpion!Kin from an alternate universe. She sees it as a major advantage over the fleshy, weak tails of all the Yuan-Ti!Kin. Up until our Kin snaps Scorpion!Kin's neck using her tail.
When Kin has had her tail liquefied and been left to bleed out on the floor, the alternate Kins the party had fought earlier come along and pass her the healing water, and go to help fight the Big Bad.
Big "NO!": Big-Ears when he finds out that Chief is dead.
Bilingual Bonus: After the initial three Driz'zt-clones get killed off, one of their players re-rolls a Japanese ninja...er, samurai. The character's name: Baka. Which, in Japanese, is the word for "Fool".
Saves-a-Fox: Duv... you and Maglubiyet can kiss my ass.
Blessed with Suck: Getting an awesome, new, set of armor from the Shield of Wonder. That grows until it crushes you to death horribly.
Blue and Orange Morality: K'seliss views fighting, eating, and mating as aspects of the same thing... and therefore believes that fighting anything he can't eat or mate with is sickeningly perverted, and refuses to do so. He also thinks eating the fingers and limbs of a potential mate is an acceptable display of affection. It's also implied that his entire race is like this, despite the fact that there's no more biological justification for it than there is for humans.
One of the Shield of Wonder's favorite tricks is to inflict horrific transformations on those who strike it (or anyone around them). An unlucky accident causes it to try to transform Complains into a demon. It partially succeeds before Big-Ears stops the effect. Complains now has scales, clawed fingers and fangs.
Though hardly the worst seen, one of the goblins that survives the escape from Brassmoon is a young female whose missing all the skin along her back, leaving her spinal column among other bones fully and completely exposed.
Yodette says it all: "I know what's going to happen! You two are gonna die and I'm going to be that trope of a big-boobed bimbo running alone and panicked through the woods until I trip over something stupid and fall down and get eaten!" Two strips later, she indeed trips over something stupid... Baka's upper half.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Invoked. After their duel has finished, Thaco tells Dellyn that he intends to remember the fight as a "random encounter" and that it will definitely not become the subject of goblin legend.
Buxom Is Better: Drowbabe and her replacement character. Lampshaded by Minmax to likely be the product of some lonely teenager who barely knows what women are like. Since Yodette isn't (literally and deliberately) falling out of her top, it's possible that Drowbabe's player is learning — a little. Maybe.
Not-Walter refers to Minmax as "bald turd". So does Grinnorarcen to Alt Minmax.
Calling Your Attacks: Calling your spells is not only done, but apparently required, since Kore is unable to Lay Hands on himself when his voice is impeded by the rope fused to his throat. This is an especially odd example, because by D&D 3.5 rules, there is no verbal component to Lay On Hands. It's a paladin special ability invoked mentally.
Chief announces stabbing himself in the eye by screaming, "Aaaah! I stabbed myself in the freakin' eye!"
Dellyn: What's the matter, Thaco? You didn't think that I'd spot your trap? Didn't think I'd see it coming? Thaco:Sigh. Of course it's a trap, you moron. Stop congratulating yourself for noticing the obvious.
Cerebus Syndrome: Initially the comic was mostly about making jokes based on various D&D tropes and conventions, and had absolutely No Fourth Wall, with the adventurers explicitly being characters in someone's role-playing game. Quite soon it grew way more serious in tone and began developing the fourth wall, although various D&D mechanics are occasionally referenced by characters.
On a darker note, although the issue was never raised until recently, there was an obvious clue that Dellyn Goblinslayer regularly rapes Kin way back on one page — Dellyn's bed in his room has shackles attached to it.
The Talking Wall of Brassmoon shows up in the background during one of the battles. It seems to have never appeared before and claims to have been created during a really long story arc. Word of God says it's a mundane wall that got transformed into the talking wall by the Shield of Wonder.
Minmax's "I AM GREAT" belt buckle, after being thrown through the magical hole in the wall of the Maze of Many, turns into a giant rock disc that crushes the alternate versions of Minmax and Forgath.
Other examples are Dellyn Goblinslayer and Fluffles' trainer.
One rather sadistic version in a recent update was what happened to Klik at the hands of the second Klik that was created from Dies's arm. That... thing was terrifying before it realized Klik's weakness, and now is just sadistic.
98!Minmax tortures his reality's Goblinslayer to death after he killed Minmax's friends.
Sacred goblin tradition requires them to keep their few magic weapons in The Poorly Locked Chest in the middle of camp, rather than use them in battle. Complain-of-Names is Genre Savvy enough to use the weapon and gets banished because of it.
Minmax and Dellyn Goblinslayer have both complained about the main characters subverting this trope. Dellyn even calls Thaco's classing into a PC class the most perverted thing that he's ever heard of.
The main universe isn't particularly doing much better, mind. Humans Are Bastards following a flawed morality and led by people far monstrous and evil than the creatures they kill for sport, and are generally fine with supporting genocide or torture of "monsters" good or evil. The Goblin Clan our heroes are from was innocent, but the clan intent on rallying all the others to a golden age is a murderous and genocidal bunch with the same prejudiced mentality and brutal methods as the humans, who see all other goblins as lesser. Forgath and Minmax may be more enlightened now, but they weren't initially that way and could be seen more as an example of My Species Doth Protest Too Much. So it's very possible that evil is not only winning in the multiverse, but also in the realm of our heroes - if not for our heroes, that is.
Crippling Overspecialization: Minmax is a god when it comes to fighting. He can't willfully blink, read, rhyme on purpose, dress himself, think hard, or understand complex concepts. Most of these weaknesses he got in order to get more combat prowess and bonuses.
Critical Existence Failure: Complains lampshades this by pointing out that, even with just 1 hitpoint left, he's just as effective at fighting as he would be with full health, provided he doesn't get hit.
Quite a few of the deaths in the big Brassmoon fight. A few especially nasty ones are the guard who excruciatingly turns into a bunch of snakes, the guard who starts turning into an ogre, only to be cut down by his captain, and that captain, who gets the honor of having his armor grow until it crushes him.
K'seliss. dies by having his body rot away at the "hands" of Mr. Fingers, while he's still conscious.
Cruel Mercy: Thaco leaves Goblinslayer alive, with the knowledge that the latter was completely and utterly destroyed by Thaco.
Cruel To Be Kind: Roak orcs take away their children's most love possession in order to teach them to accept loss as a part of life. The orc explaining this then tears off Duv's remaining wing, which has defined her turn toward villainy.
Dead Alternate Counterpart: In Alternate Universe #114, Forgath, Complains and Big-Ears were killed during the battle at the goblin warcamp, while One-Eye (a minor character who died in the same battle in the main universe) survived and became an adventurer working alongside Minmax.
Mryorg the Ogre, who features in the backstory of the Axe of Prissan, has a demon carve a rune into this chest for this purpose.
Mr. Fingers was created when a farmer begged a devil to cure his son of nightmares; the devil successfully extracted the source of the nightmares from the kid's mind, but let them loose upon the world instead of destroying them.
Discussed by the demon who inhabits the Well of Darkness. Demons need souls for nourishment, but most of them aren't powerful enough to take souls by force and can only claim souls given willingly; which is why the phrase "Deal with the Devil" has passed into common usage on the mortal plane. Dies makes one, but since his metallic arm effectively gives him two souls, the demon gets dragged to hell for breaking the deal.
Every major plot arc so far gets resolved through randomness that just happens to save the hapless protagonists. Some of the situations they get into are so bad that these don't get them out of hot water entirely, though...
The Shield of Wonder spams Ex Machinas of both the Deus and Diabolus variety every time it blocks a strike.
Similarly, Goblinslayer's tree half can do some major damage and produce its own wooden weapons.
One of the alternate parties in the Maze of Many has a Forgath with a staff that allows him to wear unlimited magic rings, but he needs to sacrifice a still bleeding finger to gain this ability. He also parties with a mute Minmax that gave up the ability to speak for a +6 to hit.
Minmax, who (as befitting his name) has min/maxed himself to have ridiculous combat stats but cannot even read (he gave up literacy for a bonus). With the extremes he takes this to, it may count as a Disability Superpower.
Hobgoblins, as seen in Sarcasm-Blind, though averted by the hobgoblin met during the Brassmoon arc. It is pointed out that while hobgoblins are usually keen strategists, the Chorgrak tribe that attacked the Viper clan was known for its... lack of subtlety.
The Viper clan couldn't open the main door to the Well of Darkness (the magic key being actually inside, with a group of dead adventurers), so they had their slaves dig a tunnel to circumvent it.
In the Maze of Many, Kin, Minmax and Forgath make use of a ceiling broken by an oblivion hole to reach a part of the dungeon crawl that they'd never reached before in their 1,982,771 previous attempts.
Even Evil Has Standards: Minmax may be a powergamer, a jerk, and have all the mental prowess of a brick, but bragging about raping female monsters in front of him may just get you thrown through a window. Even if you're Dellyn Goblinslayer.
Forgath: That seems like the most obvious, clichéd...
Evil Hand: Odd non-evil example. The living-metal replacement arm Klik gave Dies-Horribly. When he gets scared, the arm grows blades and spikes to defend him. Unfortunately, the (many) situations in which he gets scared tend to go downhill fast if you start brandishing spiky things (and when it goes south he gets even more scared, and the arm gets spikier, and...). Although Dies's hand can also form non-violent images.
Whether or not it still can be called "non-evil" is debatableafterthe incidentwith the demons. Perhaps this is why what Klik did is considered forbidden by his species. There's no more debate once the hand try to kill Saves-a-Fox (twice) and Dies has to struggle for control with it, going as far as taking a blade to cut it off....
Evil Twin: The majority of the alternate versions of Minmax, Forgath and Kin in the Maze of Many.
Saves-a-Fox: Go ahead, touch anything. I won't care. (K'seliss gooses her)
The Demoness in the Well of Darkness says that she's the guardian of the Blue Orb of Bloodlight, and offers a trade of "one soul for one orb". When Dies-Horribly offers her his soul, she gives away... an orb of ordinary blue stone. Leads to a Karmic Death when it turns out that Dies has two souls (presumably the second one is in his arm), which goes against the very Exact Words contract that the Demoness was manipulating, causing her to be banished into the deepest plane of hell which even demons themselves fear.
Biscuit after he chops his own leg off and reaches for a bag full of healing potions.
Grem:No! Don't let him drink the healing potions! Biscuit: (inserts most of the potion bottles into his mouth and eats them)
Alternate Kin. Wearing tight fitting corset which gives her an Impossibly Low Neckline, we can even see the start of a humanoid rear before it goes down to her snake tail. And unlike Kin, she also feels the need to wear a loincloth covering her front...
Kin the yuan-ti begs for death upon being recaptured by the guards.
There's a group of demons living in the Well of Darkness, who have enslaved an orc and continually resurrect and kill him in order to nourish themselves on his suffering. He's been resurrected and killed once every few hours for the last 600 years.
There is a circle of hell reserved for anyone foolish enough to attempt to break a Deal with the Devil so bad that even demons fear its torture. Since Dies has a second soul in his arm, the Demoness is sent there after trading "One soul for one orb."
Fed to the Beast: The Vipers try to feed Biscuit to the Switchbeast. That doesn't turn out well.
Early in the series, Young-and-Beautiful the goblin fortune teller predicts that Forgath will die in battle with another dwarf. "When the serpent becomes your prey, friends will become enemies and love will fuel hate." Now consider that he and Minmax have befriended Kin the yuan-ti and Kore kills anyone who even associates with the monstrous races...
Forest Ranger: The Goblinslayer was presumably this (ranger class, bow and sword, half-tree), but moved into Brassmoon when it was a more direct path to what he really craved — the power to rule over his little fief of sadism.
Four-Fingered Hands: The goblins, and just about every non-human race (including elves and dwarves — though not the demons). Reptiles (like kobolds, yuan-ti, or lizardfolk) tend to have three-fingered hands. All of them (well, those with legs anyway) also have three-toed feet.
Four Lines, All Waiting: Since the initial attack on the Goblin Warcamp that kicked off the plot, There are, essentially, three main plotlines in the comic. The story will follow one for a while, then put it on hold and switch to one of the others, and sometimes it will switch to a villain perspective for one or two strips. The main threads are:
The Goblin Adventuring Party (GAP), consisting of Chief now deceased, Thaco, Complains-of-Names, Big-Ears and Fumbles.
The (somewhat misnamed) Human Adventuring Party (or MFK), consisting of Minmax, Forgath and Kin.
The Well of Darkness party, consisting of Dies-Horribly, Klik, Saves-a-Fox, Grem and K'seliss now deceased, and later Biscuit the orc. After the party emerges from the well, their plot is further divided into three more lines, with one or two strips following each before switching:
Saves-a-Fox's duel with Duv.
Biscuit's one-orc assault on the Viper tribe and Grem.
Dies-Horribly's battle against his Viper captors and his sentient arm.
K'seliss. His dispatch of Noe (detailed above under Cutting the Knot) proved his raw intelligence, but later he displays surprising insight by correctly — and offhandedly — analyzing the Dies/Grem/Fox Love Triangle.
Readers believe, due to his appearance and the implications on one page that Saral Caine is one. Likely, he's a Stonechild: Somewhere along his family line, the primal element of Earth was fused with one of his ancestors, or him.
Dellyn Goblinslayer is one as well; from his appearance, he looks like he might be a treant/human hybrid. The yuan-ti Kin declares he was changed into his present state by a wizard. Given the most recent evidence, he might be a Half-Human Hybrid only in the same way a cyborg is — he looks to be a Half-Golem (a D&D template where an existing creature has golem limbs grafted onto it, kind of a Magitek cyborg).
Hero Antagonist: Despite both parties being good-aligned, Forgath and Minmax are these, opposite the Goblin party. Minmax's alignment doesn't really become obvious until he beats Dellyn within four hit points of his life for being so damn evil all the time.
Dellyn Goblinslayer was beaten and humiliated by a goblin, and later, coup-de-grâce'd by Kin, who he'd beaten and raped nightly.
The whole of Brassmoon City for allowing the Goblinslayer free rein over their defense against the "evil" races. Apparently, locking up and torturing a whole army of monsters, quite naturally bent on revenge, within the walls of the city wasn't that great an idea.
In a non-sentient example, the Shield of Wonder is eventually destroyed by one its own random magical effects.
And the demoness guarding the Bloodlight Orb got Dies to agree to giving her his soul for "the orb", which was NOT the one he thought it was, and in turn, got tricked into taking TWO souls — Dies' and the piece of Klik, banishing her to a portion of Hell that even demonsare afraid of.
The Viper Goblins dispose of prisoners by feeding them to a captive monster called the Switchbeast. When Biscuit provides it with a way out of its enclosure, it kills and devours many of its former captors in a bid for freedom.
Humans Are The Real Monsters: Humans in general are portrayed in one of three ways: outright evil (Dellyn Goblinslayer and the Elite Guard), dumb (Minmax and the three Player Characters), or ignorant and prejudiced (the townsfolk of Brassmoon). Forgath is a decent (dwarf) Player Character, but this is a stretch.
Kore has dedicated himself to destroying all evil, and will even kill young children just because they've been exposed to evil. He doesn't see the contradiction.
Dellyn Goblinslayer defines the term legendary by how much your enemies hate you. He prides himself on the fact that the goblins "would sacrifice anything for a chance at [his] throat." He denies any possibility that Thaco could be considered legendary, but at the end of the comic, states that he "would sacrifice anything for a chance at [Thaco's] throat."
Psion!Minmax, after apparently killing Kin states that his plan is to remove his existence completely from the universe, although in order to do so, he must wipe out all of the alt versions of himself in the dungeon. When Forgath calls him out on killing Kin, Psion!Minmax asks what makes her so important. Forgath respons by saying she was his friend. Psion!Minmax asks how that makes her more important than anyone else, and asks, "I wonder what it's like to see yourself with such omnipotent importance." He says this without irony, even though, for his own agenda, he is willing to nullify the existence of hundreds of alternate versions of himself and his comrades, all of which would probably prefer he did not do so.
Tropes I to L
I Call Her "Vera": Minmax creates a sword which is paradoxically made of oblivion, and Kin theorises it draws power from his ignorance. Minmax christens the sword "Oblivious".
Idiot Ball: By all means, let the Barbarian with the improperly healed arm tend to the almost dead Chief, it's not as if there's a fairly skilled healer, say a Paladin with lay-on hands ready to use, less than twenty feet from him. This is because Thaco divided up the duties for that fight and they had no plan, while Ears easily could have taken a quick round to heal Chief while Thaco and Complains fought Kore.
Big-Ears: Well I'm not abandoning my friend! I'm not letting One Eye die! (astonished looks) Big-Ears: I mean... (buries his face in his hands) You know what I mean.
I'm Melting: What touching Mr. Fingers does to you. More contact speeds it up and spreads it.
I Know Your True Name: Houseruled in, meaning the pit fiend can be forced to serve any mortal who speaks his true name. Incidently, his true name is definitely not Richard, Francis, Leslie, Winkypoop the slippery monkey, or Walter. (The forum have hence nicknamed him "Not-Walter".) Turns out it's Grinnorarcen. They encounter him again serving an alt-Minmax who's really good at guessing names, and Kin convinces the demon to reveal his name so she can order him to return to Hell, freeing him.
Implacable Man: Kore, oh so much. His armor is virtually impenetrable (as far as we've seen, anyway), he shows no mercy or remorse, and he will never stop hunting you. On top of all that, he's also a paladin (somehow, despite his wholesale slaughter of everything even potentially evil), which gives him all of the powers inherent in one. Seriously, getting a rope fused through his freaking neck only slowed him down long enough for him to cast Lay on Hands.
Big-Ears: No offense to your short sword, but that is the coolest weapon in the whole damn party.
Kore's automatic crossbows. They fire several bolts in one go, lock into his tower shield for cover-firing, and automatically reload themselves in seconds from bolt caches hanging from his side.
Duv's two razor sharp shards. They're short, and they don't even have handles. Watching her fight with them is epic, but how she is able to even hold on to them in battle and not slash her hands open in the process is anyone's guess.
Minmax's new sword — Oblivious! The blade is literally nothing, and can't be affected by anything that's not Minmax — not even time!
One of the overpowered artifacts is introduced out of the blue with a large wall of text. Justified since this information is instantly telepathically communicated to Big-Ears when he takes the axe.
Duv, the White Terror, is also introduced with epically-sized speech bubbles.
Informed Ability: It's repeatedly mentioned that Goblinslayer is a high level adventurer, yet the highest-level ability he ever uses is Magic Fang (fourth level?) and he loses in a mostly-straight fight against an enemy of his favored target species. Taking Dellyn's cockiness and need to prove his superiority into consideration, it was likely a combination of bad luck, a Critical Hit, and his lack of decent sight within the battle, not to mention underestimating his opponent. After all, he survived being impaled through the chest and everything from his final fight. Then Kin...
Saves-a-Fox: So if I had never taken adventurer levels, you'd kill me for taking adventurer levels? K'seliss: Damn right!
In Minmax's worldview, monsters are fit only to be killed for XP. He decides to make an exception for Kin... if he can find something normal about her. He can't. At all. She doesn't know her birthday or her father's identity, because of the way yuan-ti mate. He really doesn't want to kill her though, so he gives her a birthday. So she'll have something normal.
Ironic Name: Young-And-Beautiful, the fortine teller, is old and ugly. Her name is due to the fact that all goblins are named by the fortune teller, including the fortune teller herself, so she basically chose her own name.
Ironic Nickname: The ogre who died to give the others a chance had "COWARD" carved into his face.
It's All About Me: The Viper Clan is an entire tribe of this - their philosophy posits that they were literally gifted by the Goblin god to be the only tribe predestined to lead the rest, that other tribes and all other species are inherently beneath them while they are inherently above, and thus that whatever they want is their right to have. When Dies points out that by their philosophy they aren't truly responsible for their successes, as they are only such because their god willed it to be so - and that they thus should not be prideful (nor prejudiced) because of it - they are not amused.
Jerkass: Takn might well be the first completely unsympathetic monster character shown so far in the comic.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: The goblins that Dies-Horribly's psychopathic left arm killed. Their deaths were creatively brutal and horrific, but they kinda had it coming — they had just been trying to beat a fellow goblin to death while he cowered in fear, simply because they were too cowardly to stand up to their Viper Clan captor who gave the order. The one who survives is, appropriately, the only one who refused the order.
Killer GM: Herbert, the GM running the entire campaign. The protagonists are consistently faced with inappropriate encounter ratings. They only manage to survive thanks to Deus Ex Machinas, luck, Munchkining, and really quick and clever thinking. And all too often, they don't. Tuck of the Human Adventure Party dies on GM fiat alone, while Baka gets killed complaining about broken rules.
Knight Templar: Kore, to the extreme. This is a guy who's willing to kill anyone who has had contact with the monster races, even if the contact wasn't voluntary. Specifically, if the encounter may lead to said person (including children...) sympathizing with monsters.
Lethal Joke Item: The Anymug. It can create any liquid — so long as that liquid isn't magical or normally non-liquid and can be held by the relatively fragile stone the mug is made out of (so not too hot, not too cold, and not at all acidic). The most obvious use is for infinite free drinks, but you can also use it to set a guy on fire.
The Orb of Bloodlight. Duv thinks it can regenerate her wing and allow her to take her place as the White Terror and ruler of all goblins. Dies-Horribly finally uses it to gain a new magical arm in replacement for the one Klik granted him.
The Jade Teapot for Kin & Co. Its power is clearly stated as a form of teleportation aiming at individuals rather than places. Forgath and Minmax plan to use it to find the GAP.
Made of Iron: As a result of playing D&DHit Points straight. Important characters can be run through by several spears and swords, but still survive, and injuries rarely have any lasting effect. However, it's worth noting that the author has developed a custom set of critical hit and fumble tables that can indeed result in lasting or permanent injury, incapacitation, and many other things. These are highlighted with Complains' broken arm and during the sewer fight between Thaco and Dellyn Goblinslayer.
Made of Plasticine: Most low-level characters, due to their low hit points, can die to being breathed on harshly.
Pretty much every single goblin of the protagonists' tribe; names are given by the tribe's fortune teller and supposedly prophetic, which isn't much of a comfort for poor Dies-Horribly. (The Viper tribe's fortune teller pointedly doesn't follow this custom, but it still seems common practice among other goblins.)
Non-goblin examples are also not uncommon, such as a player character resembling a Japanese samurai named Baka. Or for a less subtle example, Minmax. Or the hardcore Kore. And Dellyn Goblinslayer.
And then there's "Duv", who might well be able to bring peace to the goblin tribes...
Medium Awareness: Intermittently throughout, since the characters are aware of the nature of their universe, and the rules by which it runs. The adventuring party appear to actually be players, who occasionally break character and even reroll when they die, despite the whole thing, RPG mechanics and all, being very real to everyone else.
Mêlée à Trois: In the Maze of Many, "our" Forgath-Kin-Minmax team vs. three alternate-universe Kins vs. a pack of undead made from many other dead AU counterparts. In retrospect, attacking a rival party fleeing from a lot of zombies may not be that wise.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: Maglubiyet evidently buys into this trope, as it's apparently a divine mandate that no females (spellcasters excepted) are allowed in a goblin warcamp. As warcamps are essentially decoys to lure adventurers away from the women and children, this means a lot of goblin males die to deflect danger away from their families. Especially notable as Young-and-Beautiful, the only female in the warcamp, hides whenever adventurers approach.
Mermaid Problem: Alluded to with Dellyn and Kin, but largely handwaved away. Of course, all things considered, that's probably for the best. It works, but involves healing potions. Given who we're dealing with, it might not have to though. Since, in one of the alternate realities, Minmax and Kin have been having near-constant sex since the birthday scene, it's a pretty safe bet there's a less squicky way for that to happen.
Forgath: That's it! From the waist down, you're mine! Minmax: Okay, that is the gayest thing you've ever said.
Mistaken For Pedophile: Minmax shouts to a girl that she is "13 and hot," by which he means she has a Charisma score of 13 and is therefore physically attractive. The people in the crowded city around him unfortunately don't know he's talking about ability scores.
Forgath: Yeah, we're gonna get lynched...
Monochrome Past: Every flashback since the comic started to be colored is in grayscale.
Forgath mentions at one point in Brassmoon that they shouldn't expect to find magic items in a blacksmith's shop since "even Herbert isn't THAT Monty Haul." It's clear from some of the other things that they DO find that they're playing a campaign where all the cool stuff they get is going to be necessary later.
Munchkin: Minmax is, in all likelihood, a subversion of this — while his character design is heavily minmaxed, he roleplays the disadvantages he took in exchange for all that combat potential to the hilt.
Forgath, after the slaughter of the goblin warcamp.
Fumbles, too, after accidentally injuring an elf girl. That's why he goes to Brassmoon, after all — despite having been rather explicitly warned that it's the home of the Goblinslayer, and having witnessed Thaco's reaction to the idea of anyone in the party going there.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Mryorg, after almost releasing the demon in the Axe of Prissan intentionally, his quest for the greatest pain lead to him choosing to end his time with the axe and give it to a paladin. He chose the demon's pain in the end.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Klik grafting a part of himself to replace Dies-Horribly's arm is considered forbidden by his species, but he did it anyway to save Dies' life. In the end, the arm becomes sentient and evil, Dies cuts it off, and it kills Klik.
Non Combat EXP: It features one conversation between two city guards in Brassmoon City about a time when a DM granted someone roleplaying XP for taking a dump. This granted him just enough XP to level up. Needless to say, things got crappy real fast.
Someone conveniently left a lot of broken rusty pipes sticking out of the water in the sewers.
The Well of Darkness is much worse.
Grem: Wow. The guys who built this place sure had a thing for long drops.
Not So Omniscient After All: Psion Minmax knows nearly everything about the Maze of Many. However his plan was hindered by what he believes is our Minmax and Kin being in love. later, he is perplexed to find that something is drawing on the power of oblivion to punch holes in time, but he doesn't know what (it's Minmax's sword). He remains determined, however, and notes that only an idiot would say that these happenings are impossible. Then he finds Forgath and Kin, when according to what he knows 1) they should be dead, and 2) nobody should make it to that room for another 8 minutes.
Mr. Fingers invokes this in all who look at him as a game mechanic, by means of a fear-causing aura (forcing a Will save against panic). Dies fails his savehere, while Fox blows hers soon after. Grem can handle the saves until Mr. Fingers uses an alternate method on him.
Said outright by Alt Minmax when Kin banishes Alt Not-Walter to Hell, depriving him of his only ally and ensuring he has a really bad time in the afterlife.
Kore is said to have wiped out entire armies of orcs and ogres by himself, making him a One-Dwarf Army.
Biscuit rapidly proves himself to be a One-Orc Army.
One Size Fits All: Generally averted; size modifiers have been mentioned, and human-size gear has occasionally been rejected as unusable. The Axe of Prissan and Big-Ears' armor play this trope straight, justified by them being magical and designed to reshape and suit the needs of whoever uses them. Note that One Size Fits All is an actual rule of D&D magic items. Imagine how much it would suck if you found some awesome magic armor you can't use because it's designed for an ogre.
Our Goblins Are Different: The goblins are the good guys this time around. Well, at least some of them. The only way to consider Duv even remotely sympathetic by this point is to take her backstory (told in the first person) as the whole truth. Even then, she behaves awfully like a beginning Evil Overlord, with a self-admitted sadist, Riss, as her Dragon. Either way, though, it's more character development than goblins usually get.
Our Vampires Are Different: Klik's green offspring is technically a vampire. It doesn't drink blood so much as absorb it through contact, and heals when it does so. Its vampire qualities are made especially apparent when it kills the halfing archer instantly by stabbing him with its claws and draining him of every drop of blood.
Minmax believes that monsters should be killed for XP and treasure. However, when he finds out that his hero, Dellyn Goblinslayer, has been repeatedly raping a yuan-ti... his first reaction is to promptly throw him out of a window.
Seth: Well, well. Three goblins who are too old to fight back. Easy XP. Thaco: You know, in the old days, we depended on ingenuity, rather than feats, the strength stat used a forward slash as a decimal point... and there were no such thing as drow. (pulling his cane into two swords) I miss the old days.
One example is Saves-a-Fox. She was prophesied to save a fox on a specific day. She decided to Screw Destiny by killing it instead. Eventually it's revealed that she DID save it... from terrible suffering due to an incurable illness.
Another example is Dies-Horribly. Fan theories abound about how it will be subverted. One predicts that he will eventually get over his fear of death and walk willingly into a Heroic Sacrifice. Another is that instead of being destined for a horrible death, he is simply horrible at dying... that is, he repeatedly survives things he really shouldn't. He's apparently died horribly at least once in the comic. Hard to tell if he'll do so again. And yes, both theories mentioned have been confirmed: he performed a Heroic Sacrifice, and he didn`t stay dead as he should have
Minmax considers Goblinslayer his hero until he learns exactly what the sicko has been doing with his yuan-ti pet. Then again, this was the first hint Minmax got, period, that Goblinslayer was much happier with things like vivisection than just killing his enemies. It's possible he may have reacted the same way to finding out that Goblinslayer didn't just kill monsters in fights, but also captured monster women and children and tortured them unspeakably.
On a meta level, at one point someone thought that a page that in context had nothing to do with rape was making light of it, leading to a (now deleted) blog post where Thunt explained how the very idea that he'd take such a thing lightly deeply offended him.
Razor Floss: What Dies-Horribly's metamorphic arm amounts to when it gets thin enough.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Fox gives one to Duv when, after having been saved from drowning by Fox, she then attempts to kill Fox. It gets to her.
Fox: Any adventurer will tell you that you need to be level 1 before you can reach level 2. In that same way, you need the power to kill before you can have the power to choose not to kill. It's the lesson I was supposed to learn the day I met that fox. It's what my name means. I just didn't know it until now. Duv: But as I've said, you're obviously wrong. You're going to die. You've lost. Fox: I'm going to die, a goblin. You're going to live as... something else. And since your entire purpose is to celebrate and represent all of goblin kind, I don't think it's me who's lost. (Duv drops one of her razors)
Red Right Hand: There is no explanation why Psion Minmax's arms are skeletal, colored black and purple, and ending up in clawed hands. One thing it tell us for sure, is that he's bad news.
Released To Elsewhere: The Viper Clan let all their non-goblin slaves leave through the "South Exit" of their territory, a arena-like pit containing the Switchbeast.
Ret Gone: When Psion!Minmax opens holes of oblivion, anything that falls in is not only destroyed, but erased from the memory of everyone, including the fact that they fell in. Kin is tipped off when Minmax throws his boots in, and she's left wondering how no-one ever noticed that he only wears one boot... er, he walks around barefoot...
Rousing Speech: One guard gives one to his men right before battling the party as a rare villainous example.
RPG Mechanics Verse: The comic uses a heavily houseruledD&D ruleset. The author has even gone out of his way to state that all the combat results that may seem like an Ass Pull are indeed legitimate. The system the comic uses undoubtedly relies on circumstance bonuses and penalties derived from good tactics, role-playing and the various in game circumstances. Called shots are likely factored in as well. It's also possible that certain effects like being doused in oil and lit on fire have been tweaked to be more realistic.
Latter, Minmax acquires a weapon that mimics whatever material it touches. Within minutes, he stuffs it into a hole in spacetime, which renders said weapon made of nonexistence. Fortunately it stops moving through time when he lets go of it and comes back when he needs it, which means that it's impossible for him to lose it.
Sadistic Choice: The teller of one goblin tribe, when confronted with the need to pick the successor to their deceased chief, had to choose between the rightful chief, whose leadership would provoke a civil war, and the son of the previous chief, whose poor leadership would doom the clan to obscurity.
Big-Ears:I detect sarcasm. Chief: You need to be a paladin to detect Thaco's sarcasm?
Save Scumming: Effectively what occurs in the Maze of Many, as every unsuccessful attempt by every iteration of the party is rewound to the beginning again and again until each one succeeds. This has already happened to Minmax's group almost two million times, which Forgath is flumoxed to find out about. Presumably that also means that exact conversation has taken place pretty close to that many times. And Minmax has kissed Forgath that many times.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Saves-a-Fox fell victim to one of these. She was given the choice between saving a fox from a trap, or killing it — and thereby saving it from a horrible, lingering, invariably fatal disease.
Chief goes to fight Kore knowing that he'll fail, but hoping to delay Kore. Kore simply incapacitates Chief and starts torturing him, knowing that Chief's screams will bring the rest. And then, when they do return to rescue Chief, he dies from his wounds before they can get him healed.
Dies-Horribly accepts a Deal with the Devil, believing it will free Duv's slaves from suffering, but the demon used Exact Words to give him a worthless stone orb instead of what he expected.
Sequence Breaking: Minmax, Forgath and Kin take a shortcut through the Maze of Many opened up by one of the oblivion holes.
Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Kin's first speaking page; high intelligence causes her to use unnecessarily long words when nervous. Or that's her excuse, at least.
Ship Tease: People have speculated on a Kin×Minmax pairing almost since she first joined the party, and it was helped along by the "birthday party", among others. Finally, the "tease" part was dropped.
Shoo Out the Clowns: Harshly averted, as Fumbles walks headlong into disaster rather than away from it.
Forgath Bladebeard has a horned helmet with one of the horns broken off. In R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels (you know, the ones with Drizzt the not-evil Dark Elf in them), this is one of Bruenor Battlehammer's defining features.
Kore wants to eradicate all evil. He's murdering kids, not-evil people, and torturing to avoid it taking him longer to do this. Hypocrite would be a compliment.
A lesser example; While bleeding out and on negative hit points, Fox accepts a healing potion, but takes a moment to wash the orc spit off of it, dropping down to negative 9 hit points while she does so.
Slasher Smile: Evil humans can contort their faces in some... interesting ways, although it's implied that this is as much a matter of their victim's perception of them.
K'seliss: This means nothing, ya hear me?! I... I was thinking about a battle I had ages ago!
El Spanish O: Senor Vorpal Kickass'o!!! And no, that tilde-less "n" isn't a typo.
Spanner in the Works: Minmax is this to Psion Minmax's plan to send everything in the Maze of Many into oblivion, first by being in love with Kin and second by using pseudo-oblivion as a weapon in the form of Oblivious.
Spell My Name with an S: Most of the goblins' names were using hyphens at the start of the comic. Later strips, however, tend to omit them. Thus, "Dies-Horribly" and "Dies Horribly", "Complains-of-Names" and "Complains of Names", "Big-Ears" and "Big Ears", etc., are both Canon spelling.
Step Into The Blinding Fight: Thaco attempts to exploit the fact that he can see in the dark by luring Dellyn into a sewer before fighting him, and blocking off all the manholes so the sewer is pitch black. Dellyn, however, subverts this by casting a spell that provides him with a light source, rendering Thaco's advantage moot.
The Stoic: Orcs of the Roak clan are taught to accept loss without pause or regret, so they aren't weakened by the pain of losing things. When Biscuit escapes from 600 years of demonic torture, only to find out that the rest of the Roak clan was destroyed 200 years ago and he may be the Last of His Kind, his response is "Meh, oh well."
Stop Helping Me!: In the Maze of Many, Kin is struggling with an alternate version of herself, and their snake-bodies are tangled together. She says this to Minmax after he stabs her because he can't figure out which body goes with which Kin. Twice.
Subverted/deconstructed: The first thing Kin the Yuan Ti does after being freed from Dellyn (besides murdering him horribly) is put on the most conservative coat she can find. She was only dressed this way in the first place, it seems, because Dellyn forced her to be. Which makes sense, considering what Dellyn used her for.
Saves-a-Fox needs to get some Genre Savvy. She really should know better than to talk about how her entire sense of self is built on Screw Destiny. Though if she doesn't believe in Fate in the first place...
Third Line, Some Waiting: There are three groups that share screen time: the Goblin Adventure Party, Dies-Horribly and Saves-a-Fox's group in the Well of Darkness, and the (mostly) non-monster party of Minmax, Forgath, and Kin.
Psion Minmax: I'd be tempted to say that this is "impossible", but that is a word used only by idiots who lack the patience and reason to consider their own surroundings. (Kin and Forgath unexpectedly arrive eight minutes early) Psion Minmax: Impossible.
To the Pain: One alternate version of Min Max described from the Maze of Many resulted from a universe in which Kin didn't kill Goblinslayer. 'Slayer later caught up with them and killed Kin. Somehow, Mimmax subdued him again, brought him back to Brassmoon, tied him to a chair and gagged him. He then tells him that he found a crystal ball at some point which showed him, among other things, all of the horrible things he'd done to Kin. Minmax produces drawings of each of these acts (not being able to write), then begins performing each one on Goblinslayer. Somehow, he survives... but then Minmax produces drawings of Forgath, who was separated from Minmax at some point and found by 'Slayer. He dies seven torture sessions later.
Too Dumb to Fool: Minmax's smarter traveling companions eventually work out he's too dumb to confuse as he can't see what's wrong with what they're saying... right as they need him to become bewildered or they'll all die. Almost Too Dumb to Live before Kin manages an alternative — which doubles as a Ship Tease.
Unholy Holy Sword: Inverted with the Axe of Prissan. It detects as evil, but that's really the demon it contains — the Axe itself is a Lawful GoodEmpathic Weapon meant to be a paladin's weapon because the demon can only be contained if the user does acts of good and the only people the makers considered capable of consistent acts of good were Paladins.
Unpredictable Results: The Shield of Wonder is a very nasty artifact that causes them whenever struck in combat. See the Nightmare Fuel subpage for some of these.
Upgrade Vs Prototype Fight: The fight between Klik and Evil Klik is this trope to a T; with an older model facing off against a stronger, more violent, evil model. The underdog doesn't win in this one, though.
Use Your Head: Minmax tries this with a locked treasure room door. All he manages to do is lay himself out on the floor.
Villainous Breakdown: Dellyn's really got started after he saw all he worked for being taken apart, then he found Saral Caine's corpse, shortly followed by his loss against Thaco, finally ending with his loss of position, being left as an angry drunk at a bar. And then came his Karmic Death.
Villain with Good Publicity: Dellyn Goblinslayer, known by the town as Captain of the Town Guard, who is nonetheless confirmed as having an evil alignment.
What Measure Is a Mook? / What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The comic is largely built on deconstructing the typical concept of goblins and other Always Chaotic Evil creatures being slaughtered without remorse by humans. This deconstruction is then inverted upon the Elite Guard of Brassmoon, who are always evil (being recruited as such) and are killed without remorse by the goblins.
Who's on First?: The summon guide appears any time his name is spoken outside of his presence. If he is summoned more than three times, he will just kill the summoner(s). His name is "Noe". You can certainly see where this is going. Though it is also subvertedquickly.
Dellyn Goblinslayer thought he was, at the very least, a legendary "boogeyman" figure to goblins. He's defeated by Thaco, and then told he's Not Worth Killing.
A Viper clan goblin psyches himself up to fight a huge monster that another goblin had just said is basically unkillable. He tells himself that "This is my moment. My destiny. My story". He charges it, dodges its first attack... and is immediately one-shotted by Biscuit the orc, who wasn't even looking at him.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Subverted after Kin falls off the wagon the goblins are using to escape Brassmoon and is recaptured by Dellyn. After a bar fight, she not only manages to escape, but she also gets the opportunity to stab her tormentor to death as well as two adventurers to assist her in locating the Jade Teapot.
You Can't Fight Fate: It's a predominant theme in the webcomic. Goblins are supposed to follow the path their seers saw for their future. As a result, there have been attempts to circumvent that fate.
See Screw Destiny for Saves-a-Fox's case. [[She later learns her belief that she triumphed over her fate was mistaken.]]
Played with in Dies-Horribly's case. He certainly did (die horribly), he just didn't stay dead.
Tempts Fate provides examples of the following tropes:
The Ageless: A Demon Lord curses Tempts with immortality so he can get revenge on him 10,000 years later. Tempts' response to this shifts from Who Wants to Live Forever? at the idea of being completely immortal, to Cursed with Awesome when he finds out he can still die from injuries.
Eye Scream: When Tempts kills a Demon Lord, the demon's (still sentient) eye latches on to Tempts' body. Unfortunately for it, Tempts makes sure it latches on to the sole of his foot, then goes for a walk across some gravelly ground.
Lighter and Softer: Compared to the main comic. One Tempts Fate segment involved Chris Hansen from Dateline (why doncha have a seat right over there.), a fast-talking giant maggot, the Kool-Aid guy (OH YEAH!!!), Wil Wheaton, and Michael Bay.
Take That: In "The Search for Fate", it's revealed that Tempts Fate has been imprisoned for kicking too much ass. An attempt to get a mole into the prison, which only takes the WORST criminals of all time leads to him claiming that he kicks puppies (not evil enough), kills people (not evil enough) and wrote the ending to Mass Effect 3 (Criminal! You're under arrest!)
Thanks for the Mammary: Happens to Tempts Fate in the Realm of Naked Mudhoney-Covered Babes... with three girls. In one panel. Subverted, though, as he has no attraction to human females and is therefore squicked by it.
Three-Point Landing: Tempts Fate lands like this after blowing up several demons in Tempts Fate 11.
Unflinching Walk: Tempts Fate walking away from the monsters guarding the Gates of Hell that he's just blown up.