Cale: Richard, we need to go back in time. For all of us you need to open the portal. We can't do this without you. We need your help.
Benny: Foolish elf, Richard doesn't do this for us! He doesn't travel at our side because he cares or secretly desires companionship. He joined us for the opportunity for destruction, the pleasure of killing - And most likely out of boredom.
Looking For Group is a fantasy webcomic by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza, the creative team behind Least I Could Do and the Blind Ferret Entertainment animation studio. It borrows from classic D&D conventions and World of Warcraft to tell an original story.The main character is Cale'Anon Vatay, an elf who yearns to be a just and good hero. Unfortunately, in the LFG world, elves are Always Chaotic Evil. However, this is something that Cale is not aware of until told to go forth and do heroic stuff by his monastery, after which he meets an undead warlock named Richard, who is the embodiment of pure Chaotic Evil. Seemingly out of boredom, Richard decides not to kill Cale outright but to accompany the elf and watch him anguish over his existence and antagonize him whenever possible.Shortly after meeting Richard, Cale is killed (guess who did that) and Richard helped him seek out a priest to resurrect him. Enter Benn'Joon, an unknown race priestess who, while more pragmatic than evil, has about as few qualms as Richard. She agrees to raise Cale for help with her pursuers in the King's Legion (who are also evil). Benny's adoptive father, a minotaur scholar named Krunch, also joins with them.Then they set on their quest: Cale to restore goodness and honor to his race, Benny to pay off her debt to the legion, Krunch to learn the secrets of the ancients that can help with both their goals, and Richard... well, he just likes to kill things, and following these guys around seems to afford him plenty of opportunities for a little carnage.As the group progresses, the story arc continues to get more detailed. Suffice to say, it is too interesting and vivid to be revealed here. Read it and enjoy!This webcomic was being made into a feature film by Blind Ferret that was due out in 2008, according to Sohmer. The trailer is available here. However, the efforts fell into Development Hell for several years, before being reworked as an animated series funded via Kickstarter.
Richard: In case you weren't sure, the skeletons are on our side.
He's also mayor of a small village whom he has made undead.
Annoying Arrows: Richard has been shot at with arrows by just about everyone with a bow, including Cale. Repeatedly. He has also been pinned to a ship's mast with arrows, been shot in the back with arrows, and had an arrow through his head when being "tortured." Seeing as how he's already dead he usually just plucks them out on his own so long as they aren't stuck... but, y'know... annoying.
Taken to the logical extreme when, since they're having a hard time removing an arrow from Richard, Cale just draws his bow and fires the arrow, with Richard STILL ATTACHED.
When an arrow actually hurts and draws blood, Richard realizes he needs to recharge his Nigh-Invulnerability.
Later, Richter and his legion of the undead have become mortal. Cale, who by this point has gotten used to using Richard or any other nearby undead ally as a meat shield against arrows, is having troubleadjusting to this.
Anti-Hero: Cale'Anon, an elf who tries to go against his evil heritage and be good (similarities to Drizz't Do'Urden are coincidental according to the author) despite being surrounded by amoral characters.
It seems that since they realized Cale's similarities to Drizzt, Cale's been used to parody said drow on several occasions.
Apple of Discord: While Richard's probably got a thousand and one reasons to turn on the party by now, it's the Book of Innocence that invokes this trope for real, especially since we've learned by now that Richard may have his reasons.
Badass: Richard is the party's almost unstoppable engine of destruction and can even hold his own with his fists when he can't cast spells, but taking on a giant bear and stealing its limbs for giggles with no arms takes the cake.
As of strip 781, the real Big Bad is, and apparently always has been, the Archmage. Everything bad that's happened so far was a result of the Archmage's plans to make Cale into the king the Archmage wanted him to be.
Big Damn Heroes: Subverted as the main characters arrive with reinforcements too late to save the Northern Army.
Big "NO!": Cale does this when he sees his wife kissing a rival.
"...Can we all agree he ran away like a little girl?" "Aye." "Moving on..."
The Blacksmith: Pella. The series also adheres to the tradition that smithing is to be expected from dwarves.
Blithe Spirit: Cale has dedicated himself to ridding the world of evil. It is not going too well. He gets to be a king though, so no sweat, the plot's getting somewhere.
A nice bit of coincidence is that the greatest evil he ever met is the guy whom he spends all his time with.
Boisterous Bruiser: Yup, Pella again. She cuts people's hands off to break the ice... and it works.
For Richard, anyway. Who knows what would happen if she tried that on a living thing like Cale...
Born in the Wrong Century: Cale believes he is this after traveling back in time to a kingdom of elves that shared his ideals. It says something when Pella, who is actuallyin the wrong century, fits in and knows what things are like better.
Break the Cutie: Good lord, has Cale been thoroughly broken. His master makes him think his wife, Shora, left him for another man and then, apparently, kills her to ensure that Cale has nothing to come back to and essentially force him to become a force for good. Then he has to kill an innocent child to return to his own time and ensure the survival of Kethenica. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Brick Joke: Richard introduces himself by his numerous titles, and at the way end he mentions he's "mayor of a little town up the coast." Guess which town becomes a major plot element much later?
While making a series of jokes about how many people seem to know the group in such a big world, a strange man rides up on an improbable steed and says he has a letter for Cale. It's relevant much later.
The first time Cale visits the capital, he comments on the lack of a towering dungeon, which Benny says that the king "didn't want his precious skyline marred". Fast-forward to 486 and the story of how Tavor became king...
Bulletproof Human Shield: This happens very early, but rather than a hero using Mooks, the Token Evil Team Mate-to-be Richard smugly drags an innocent peasant into the path of several of Cale's arrows (even though he wouldn't be killed by them anyway, being undead), and enjoys the expression on his face when he realises he's killed an innocent. He even suggests going after the son and wife to make the complete set.
Much later in the series Cale does this himself using Maikos. It gets hilariously lampshaded. Just because he's undead doesn't mean he can't feel pain
Maikos: You had time to grab me and put me in front of you? Why would you not use that time to dodge?
Even more hilarious in that Cale doesn't do it once, but twice.
Came Back Wrong: In one of the early strips, Ben'joon warns that this could happen to Cale when resurrecting him from being incinerated, and if she had cast Revive on his ashes with the centipede Richard had slipped in there still... well... in there, most certainly would have.
Cerebus Syndrome: In the first volume's intro, Sohmer tells that the first episode of the comic was written and drawn as a World of Warcraft parody, but the makers realized the potential of their own fantasy world, so from the second strip on the story starts going in its own direction. Nowadays Richard serves as the main source of comedy, with the other characters only occasionally delivering a punchline.
Richard did like to kill things, and we all saw what happened with that little boy and his village. And Richard's rabbit, though who knows if that was real compassion or just manipulation. But then again, he did heal Cale's neck when it was slashed.
In-Universe, done deliberately to Cale's wife so that he would leave her behind and begin wandering.
Chekhov's Gun: In the early days of the comic, Richard introduced himself as "Chief Warlock of the Brothers of Darkness, Lord of the Thirteen Hells, Master of the Bones, Emperor of the Black, Lord of the Undead, and the mayor of a little village up the coast". Think it's just an Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking joke? Think again...
The Sword of Truth appears to have been an early aborted story line once the writer found a more worthy plot for his webcomic... until it turns out that there actually WAS a purpose for it that just hadn't been revealed until much later.
A later strip has The Phares come back as the only guards on a direct road into the city.
And then there is Richard's trial. Needless to say, when supernatural beings hold court, make sure you listen to every single word, especially during your sentence.
Children Are Innocent: Invoked by a small boy who prays with Richard. Then the innocent child Cale kills turns out to be the Archmage in disguise. The innocence that had to be killed was Cale's, to badass him up.
Cale's group: in order of appearance - the omnicidal undead warlock, the female priestess of unknown race raised by minotaurs, her father, and the warrior-bard dwarf... who is a time-traveler from the distant past.
Comically Invincible Hero: Richard. Well, okay, he's not a hero, but he is on their team, views fatal injuries as flesh wounds (Usually), is incredibly powerful, and kills off enemies with ease. Hilariously. And he's not only undead but 'survived' several attempts to seal that deal, also hilariously.
Convection Schmonvection: Richard, being an undead cloaked in robes has no trouble at all fighting a Magma Elemental and even decapitates it. Then again, he's a warlock, so he probably has some trick up his sleeve.
Dark and Troubled Past: Later strips are dragging these out. We see Richard as a Cheerful Child in a flashback, and it turns out Cale had a wife who he presumably caught cheating on him.
Daddy's Girl: As much as they snark at each other, Krunch would never let anything happen to Benny if he could help it, and Benny is willing to support Cale's possibly hopeless cause because he refused to acknowledge that her father was probably dead.
Deadpan Snarker: Benny and Tavor, usually with Cale on the receiving end (he's just such an easy target for sarcasm.)
Cale's starting to become one too.
Commander Kickass: Did you know Aelloon is my son?
Cale: You must be so proud.
Death Is Cheap: Used inconsistently. When the comic is trying to be funny, bringing someone back to life is pretty easy. When the comic is trying to be dramatic, bringing someone back to life is impossible. This is best illustrated here, when Benny talks about her fiancé (who was Killed Off for Real via decapitation) while bringing her fiancé's father back to life by regrowing his head from nothing. She brings him back to life so she can kill him again.
Averted with Krunch's apparently irreversible death, despite it being perhaps the least destructive death in the series. He was 'just' stabbed. But his soul had been out of his body for too long. It was too late to bring him back.
Detonation Moon: In this strip. While there are other moons, Richard seems to have done this for noreason. Cale is horrified; Richard wants a high five.
Didn't See That Coming: The Archmage notes that the destruction of the Bloodrage Stronghold was not supposed to happen. This is coming from a guy who could be called a Magnificent Bastard. This was after he was revealed to be Richard's bunny in disguise.
Disney Death: Richard is apparently destroyed by the Archmage in their fight, but he turns out to be fine (albeit with physical damage).
Draconic Humanoid: The Guardians of Eight, an ancient order of dragon people connected to the origins of Kethenecia, the sword of truth, and the Archmage. Their appearances in the comic are pretty scarce, as they seem to be more active behind the scenes nudging the heroes in the direction of a brighter future.
The Dragon: Maikos is apparently Richard's. Richard is Cale's.
Elite Mook: Tah'vraay and Benny and Benny are captured by a quirky group of empire soldiers, Pella swoops down to save them with a bunch of gnomes, and challenges their leader... cut to next panel where all the gnomes are dead, and Pella's captured as well. She comments that the soldiers are stronger than their used to, and then one asks her to fill out a performance survey.
The Alliance: The Bloodrage, the Trolls, Gnomes, Sisters and Sons, and Richard's village. Though considering how they're all relocating to Kethenecia and Cale is supposedly king of that city they might end up becoming a rather cosmopolitan kingdom
The Ending Changes Everything: The last page of "What Lies Beneath the Underneath" shows that one of the dwarves had been working with the imps all along to lure other diggers to their doom.
Enfant Terrible: A toddler in Richard's village tears out a soldier's heart and holds it up so he can watch it beat as he dies.
For the Evulz: Lets face it. This is the only reason Richard travels with the group. Not out of goodwill, or some vague desire to improve the world. He's along for the ample opportunities for mayhem, murder, manslaughter, general cruelty, and evil. But mainly because he's bored.
Genius Bruiser: Krunch Bloodrage, who, while confirmed as being the "scholar" out of two brothers (the other being "the warrior") still hefts around an enormous hammer and has in the past tackled a dragon.
Just to be clear: This is not figurative; he leaped at the dragon and wrestled it to the ground.
Later on, during the Siege of The North, he descended into an Unstoppable Rage after the black dwarves killed his father, the likes of which frightened even his more martially-minded brother Ray'd.
Genre Savvy: When the party returns to the Gnome City, the following exchange takes place:
I Did What I Had to Do: Pella justifies destroying the gnomes's defense tower, thus forcing them to go to Kethenecia with the others as this, but Cale shoots it down.
Cale: "This justifies it?! What right had we to make that decision for them?!"
To say nothing of Cale's mentor taking steps to ensure Cale does not return to his sheltered life and becomes a hero, up to and including eliminating the one thing that could compel him to return, ie his wife.
Jury of the Damned: Richard is held in court to be judged by his peers — the damned, who don't think he's living up to his damnation. Subverted in that they don't have the power to enforce their ruling after all.
Kangaroo Court: At one point Richard is tried by a court of Lesser Demons who are accusing him of the crime of not being evil any more, which seriously offends him. The judge proclaims him Guilty until proven Innocent.
Prosecuter: "Not only does this Warlock travel with a group of Good and Neutral aligned beings and beasts - He hasn't murdered a single one of them."
[Courtroom filled with other Lesser Demons gasps in shock]
Not to mention his 'choke the bunny' moment. Any charm-type spell Richard might be under is just a convenient excuse, Richard wants to kill everything that's outside the party almost all of the time anyhow, and may not be opposed to an undead pet...
As it turns out, Richard must do this on a regular basis to keep his powers.
Commander Kickass also does this to destroy the Bloodrage city.
Klingon Promotion: Based on his desire for the Sword of Truth which is the only thing that could kill Tavor, and the fact Tavor gained the crown after killing the previous king, Aelloon was probably aiming for this.
Kneel Before Zod: When taken to "the Innocent", Richard is ordered to bow, so he bows in an exaggerated manner to knock out the guards. It's immediately subverted when Richard sees the Innocent and bows genuinely.
Kudzu Plot: A whole lot of plots seem to come and go and intertwine at rapid speed, when a simple premise like "finding the sword of truth" would be much easier to follow.
Lack of Empathy: Richard really does not understand that finding your own people dead is a solemn moment.
Life Will Kill You: Maikos considers becoming human again to be the same as dying. He and the rest of the villagers no longer know how to live as normal humans. They are completely unable to deal with things like sickness, age, and hunger.
Long List: Richard's list of titles, which I'm not posting here for the hundredth time on this page.
Mook Lieutenant: A few, like the mage who warned Aelleon of the crown. Tah'vraay and Benny are captured by a bunch of Elite Mooks lead my a mustachioed one, identifiable by a red sash; he's bipolar, thinks he's a woman at one point, and blames Obama for their financial situation.
Morality Pet: Averted, Richard loves his Felbunny, but is just as willing to kill after getting a pet as he was before.
Richard's cozy little village up the coast turns out to be filled to the brim with undead citizens. Yup, even the children.
Mugging the Monster: A group of bandits try to rob Cale, who is being accompanied by Sooba, Maikos, and Tim. To their credit, they actually (though indirectly) take Maikos and Tim out of the action, if only because Cale uses Maikos as a shield, not knowing that Maikos was regressing from his undead state, and Tim is told by Cale to keep pressure on the injured Maikos. Even then, they're still no match for Cale and Sooba.
Krunch Bloodrage. In a twist, he's one of the most reasonable of the protagonists. He'd much rather sit down and discuss ancient history than beat your skull in, but no-one seems to give him the choice.
Subversion: Richard actually has a complex regarding the fact that his name isn't intimidating. He compensates for it with all his titles.
At one point it seems like Tah'vraay one-ups Aelloon's army by surprising them from the sea, but Aelloon has his own marine forces surround and capture hers. Then subverted when it eventually turns out that Tah'vraay got herself captured intentionally.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Just as Benny is about to negotiate peace with Legara, Richard and Cale burst in and are interpreted as a planned ambush.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: As pointed out in his trial, Richard's slaughter of a certain village actually saved more lives then destroyed.
Knowing what we know now he might have done that on purpose.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Benny heals her ex-husband back from certain death, brought on by her team protecting her from him because she wants to smash his head in herself. He manages two words right before she does it.
The Plan: Turns out that many events that take place are for the purpose of molding Cale into the future king of Kethenecia.
Play-Along Prisoner: After apparently being captured by some battlemages, Richard is shown taking one of his hands out of their cuffs, though either this seems to have been a one-off gag or the power of the chains to control undead have prevented him from making a full escape.
Subverted by the fact he delays a fight against the bad guys to go kill some innocents (after verifying they are no less!) after noticing his usual pain/arrow immunity is gone, and wears undead makeup to look more evil - the psychopathic undead manchild may be an act relating to keeping his powers up!
A Rare Sentence: Since Richard's powers are fueled by killing innocents,this happens when Benn'Joon receives a gift from "the Innocent".
Richard: I'm going to need to kill that book. That was a weird thing to have to say. Even for me.
Relationship Upgrade: This could arguably be the case with Benn'Joon and Cale. At first Benny sees Cale as a do-gooder that constantly drags her into trouble. But eventually she warms up to him, this is lampshaded by Krunch when she agrees to help Cale fight Legaria because she trusts him. It culminates with this moment of heartwarming. We'll see if it sticks.
Judging from this it would appear that did indeed stick.
Also Krunch, right after his father is killed in battle.
Role-Playing Game Verse: Although the world and races look a lot like World of Warcraft, it's treated as a standard fantasy setting (not a game) most of the time. Every once in a while, though, this trope is invoked for laughs. For example, at one point the party is imprisoned, and Richard tells Cale "Kill yourself and roll a rogue. We'll wait."
Or when he's picked up by an attacking giant. he rolls a twenty-sided dice! "I rolled a Natural 20...! That means I win... you can fall down now."
Theres a "Loading please wait" screen when Cale jumps through the first Portal.
And in #396 where Richard considers a career change.
Squishy Wizard: Richard is given the pet name 'Squishy' by Tim. He's actually a subversion of this since, being undead (OR IS HE?), he's barely inconvenienced by things that would kill mortal fighters, like losing various limbs or being pin-cushioned with arrows.
He's also an extremely competent unarmed fighter, thanks to having drained the soul of a monk. It comes up now and again when his magic won't work.
Supernormal Bindings: There's at least two occasions where the Warlock, Richard has his powers limited by enchanted shackles after being captured. In the second case we're shown that some of the enchanted shackles can be used to control Richard's body by commanding him to do something.
Take a Third Option: When Pella was asked if she wanted to pursue being a bard or a warrior (presented with an axe and a lute and asked to pick one), she said, "I rather be liking the feel of them both".
With Aellon's force about to besiege Kethenecia, leaving the people in to fight off a siege or flee, Cale decides on another plan: capture the portal the Legion has made and launch an attack on Legara.
A more serious example is what Commander Kickass does to end the attack on the Bloodrages' city. He uses a hail of magical flaming arrows to burn it to the ground, apparently killing pretty much everybody.
Benny: Credit where it's due. He is getting better at his entrances.
Cale starts out horrified at the very idea of killing troops from The Empire. More recently, he watched Richard and Krunch rip a live dwarf in half like a wishbone and was splattered with the blood. His only reaction?
"What did you wish for?"
Too Kinky to Torture: Richard took to singing during his torture sessions. And pointed out that there was still room for an axe by his thigh. Needless to say, this really creeped out the torturer. He was just being helpful.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Twice in the quest to find the sand dragons. Originally they were looking for a device to control the dragons A poke`ball and at the same time, Richter was musing on how the dragons were magically summoned and whether or not he had the power to do it himself.
It sometimes happens to Richard as well, though usually it's a case of Worf Had the Flu for him (eg: being decapitated from behind or being faced with shamans who can't be harmed by magical beings). For unexplained reasons, the only ones able to subject him to this so far in a straight-up fight have been bands of battlemages.
It's Richard. Any religion that doesn't worship him exclusively is probably equally bad to him.
Worth It: After being enslaved and controlled by an imp, Richard breaks the control and dumps the imp while being chased by monsters; it's implied he was never under control and was playing along. Totally worth it.
Zombify The Living: Richard demonstrates this ability by forcing his enemies' skeletons to obey him... while they're still inside. More generally, Richard himself seems to have been a case of this, and can apparently change back if he goes too long without senseless slaughter.