Webcomic: Tales of the Questor
Don't piss off the Questor.Tales of the Questor
is a webcomic by one Ralph Hayes (RH) Junior
. It tells the tale of Quentyn, a young anthropomorphic raccoon (or "Rac Cona Daimh" or "Racconan" but who are we kidding?) who spends his days with adventure books and daydreams. When the traditional ritual where young kits choose their career for life approaches, young Quentyn shocks everyone and becomes the local laughing stock as he declares his desire to become a Questor - a type of noble hero-for-hire whose like hasn't been around for ages, and who are practically nothing but adventure book fluff. But, it turns out there are legal requirements to have one when someone offers. So begins Quentyn's own adventure - he's now an official Questor and it's up to him to do what a Questor must, even if it means having to face great dangers and things he's never had to encounter during his young, sheltered life — and practical exile as he's tasked with a gigantic quest that requires him to head into the lands of humans.
TotQ borders between a humoristic adventure comic and a more dramatic story about Quentyn's maturing and the problems he faces due to still being a young boy, with stronger emphasis on the serious side as it has progressed. The comic is also notable for its writer's tendency to convey his religious and political views through it, though these traits have decreased over time and transferred into other mediums. At its best, the comic works its themes into an imaginative fantasy allegory, much like C. S. Lewis
novels, and it constructs a deep world that helps alleviate these problems.
Pretty well on the Idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
Now with a new, still-bare-bones Character Sheet
Has a Spin-Off
comic: Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger
. The artist has recently started yet another arc that brings both Tales of the Questor and Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger together
dubbed "The Probability Bomb."
Provides Examples Of:
- Above Good and Evil: The philosophy of Rosad the Monster-maker and his followers.
- Achievements in Ignorance: The creation of Wildcard was accomplished by three youngsters who had gotten themselves drunk in celebration of Quentyn's becoming a Questor. Once sober, none of them had the slightest idea how they did it. Neither did certified experts, at least until they break out the "Deep Runic Scanner" - and discover fractal patterns for the first time in their universe.
- In the following page, it's revealed that they "invented" eight new runes. Those are logic gates, with the implications thereof explained in the page after that.
- According to Word of God, alcohol doesn't affect Racconans in exactly the same way as (most) humans. There's a point where they get smarter but lose all inhibitions - Drunken Mastery.
- On a far less Deus ex Machina note, Quentyn's elfshot pistol; a Magitek Automatic Crossbow which normally has "a hundred shots. Take a day or more to recharge, though..." Except his fires all one hundred at once. Turns out its regulator had been broken off, which a friend of his Wrench Wench childhood friend thought was a slick trick - and that he was lucky it didn't blow up in his hands. He then mods it so it won't, then adds a replaceable clip and settings to control rounds fired and spread.
- Hayes seems fond of this trope. Arlen was just trying to clean up a toxic village, and getting repeated browbeatings from Obstructive Bureaucrats over the bio-engineered plants he's designed for that purpose. He comes up with a pseudo-scam to get a permit; his uncle owns most of said toxic village, but though he can't actually profit from the tainted land, he can claim the deeds as the "undisclosed assets" of a company to which the bureaucrats would grant said permit. He's even able to get permits for other biologists doing odd research. Then the bureaucrats discover the Loophole Abuse, and change the laws to have the plants destroyed. But on the day the cops come to torch the fields, the sun rises on a field full of bushes bearing berries of pure aluminium. Read about the stuff on That Other Wiki and you'll realize that he just became the richest racconan on Aerith.
- Adult Fear: The arc "Hunter of Shadows." Imagine that your child has been suffering from inexplicable night terrors— unable to sleep for fear of monstrous creatures creeping out of the shadows at night to get him. Then one stormy night you come running to his room to find out that his terrors are REAL-- and are crawling up onto his bed after him....
- Adults Are Useless: Averted.
- After-Action Healing Drama: Second encounter with the wraiths
- After-Action Patch-Up: first encounter with the wraiths.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Quentyn's initial treatment by his villagers after his career announcement. Subverted later on.
- Alternate Landmark History: A human visitor thinks that the many stonehenges in Antillia must be some kind of temple or burial shrine. He's later embarrased to learn that they're actually used as glorified incinerators.
- Amazing Technicolor Battle Field: 'Looking' for lux, especially in the Seven Villages, usually involves a flashy rainbow-colored background.
- Animated Armor: Pelinor's master's armor was this. When he died in it, the squire claimed it was haunted by his ghost. What actually happened is still unclear, but something is in there.
- Anti-Magic: There are small cheap rods that soak up magic like a sponge but burn out quickly, rat-wights that eat magic and use it to duplicate, and dragons are completely immune.
- Also, granite is lux-proof, so granite stonehenges are used as containment fields for artifact tests and similarly violent magical tasks.
- Author Appeal: RH Junior really likes his anthropomorphic raccoons. Though it has to be said not to the point of fetish. In a certain D&D game RH was playing, his character, starting out as a Gnome Rogue, eventually got polymorphed into an anthropomorphic raccoon. From that point on, things that happened in the D&D campaign made it into the comic and vice versa (the Elf Shot pistol started out as a Magic Missile crossbow in the D&D campaign). Which leads us to:
- Author Avatar: Quentyn is not quite a direct avatar of RH, but after the above mentioned changes in his D&D character, Quentyn became more like the character, who in turn was more like the 'real' RH than Quentyn originally was.
- Author Filibuster: RH Junior's completely unrelated rant comics in-between the early run of the comic.
- No longer in effect once the site was moved to a new location.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted, see Bait-and-Switch Tyrant below, the Duke of Fenwych is actually more of a Reasonable Authority Figure even the Duke of Grymalkin, arguably more evil, is honestly just a well meaning man who is busy trying to make the best of a bad situation with dragons laying waste to his duchy. Sure it is underhanded politics in order to avoid footing the bill but its awfully reminiscent of certain modern day politician shenanigans than outright blueblood idiocy or maliciousness.
- Awesome Moment Of Knighting: Painfully subverted.
- Background Magic Field: Lux. It's emitted by all living things, but in a twist, it can also be mechanically generated (the Luxfont, located in the central village, is very clearly the magical equivalent of a hydroelectric plant).
- Badass Boast: See image at the top of the page. And that's only the first half of it.
- Badass Creed: Quentyn, during the fight with the rat king.
The lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for thou art with me,
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparedst a table for me in the presence of mine enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.
- Badass Normal: The farmer's son. He not only enters and escapes Tir Na Nogh in a nearly-impossible yet completely successful rescue mission without a moment's hesitation, but he takes on an Unseleighe Sidhe armed with nothing but pies and lives to tell about it. This trope does not do his deeds justice.
- Quentyn as well. He's for all intents and purposes only an "amateur" lux user, his most common use of magic is from magic items (most of which are half-broken and only work when and how they want). On top of that, he's a three-foot tall adolescent raccoon-person. And yet his periodically-repeated (and ever-growing) Badass Boast is still entirely true.
- Bad Dreams: Nessie has them.
- Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Elder Gilder. In private, he says that Quentyn is the only one besides himself who takes the role of Questor seriously, and acknowledges that he's a rather good one. He just thinks that the existence of the position is in itself dangerous.
- As some crooked political schemers later proved, he was right.
- And the very next day, Quentyn proved himself so worthy of the title that Gilder holds pretty much the grandest festival the village has ever seen in Quentyn's honor.
- Later, the Duke of Fenwyck. Our first impression of him is that of a tyrant who steals from his own people and drives them further into poverty. It turns out that he was forced into it by the Fae Prince, and when Quentyn gives him the knowledge to fight back and protect his people, he immediately takes the opportunity.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Some Racconans and other non-human races don't use shoes at all, but many do much of the time. It varies from individual to individual. Quentyn uses shoes most of the time, especially in more recent parts of the comic.
- Beat Panel: "Caught you at home, didn't I?" [...] "Got any macaroons?"
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Ralph has fun with this one.
- Zigzagged with Quentyn's wishes: Quentyn IS very careful, but later thinks he wished for the wrong things, and then learns that he's mistaken in his second-guessing.
- Played straight with Rahan. He wishes that he could get a real good look at Quentyn's face after a prank involving tar and feathering goes off. He does, right after the prank goes hilariously amiss. Quentyn, who has overheard Rahan, even lampshades that.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: One of the theories off why humans cannot accept 'Lux energies' and kept calling it magic (which they think is evil)
- Or more specifically, belief in the Universal Church's tenets, after all both the author and the hero are rather devout "protestants".
- Berserk Button: Understandably, considering his size and All of the Other Reindeer status, you do not mess with children around Quentyn. You especially do not trap a 10-something scared little girl in a cage - and then hold that cage underwater.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Quentyn is one of the sweetest guys you could ever meet, right up until you hit a Berserk Button. "You shouldn't have made her cry" indeed.
- Also, whether you're the leader of a gang of thieves or the ruler of a duchy, do not look down your nose at him. He's fully aware of just how much of a badass he is, and he's not afraid to inform you of the fact in spectacular fashion. Even if he is going to hyperventilate and/or puke from the stress as soon as you're out of sight/earshot.
- Big Bad: While we only hear about this creature from a story, and it's existence is only the theory of a mad scientist, the Patronum Monstrum, a creature believed to be the origin of all of the evil monsters in the world, creating monsters for the sole pleasure of inflicting pain on all other beings, would certainly qualify, if it exists.
- Bilingual Bonus: Luft is German for "air".
- Black Sky Take Warning: Oh crap. Also Foreshadowing.
- Blasť Boast: Quentyn's father can be one evil old goat.
- Blessed with Suck: The young Duke's realization upon seeing that his castle is literally flooded with treasure.
We are going to be up to our eyelids in gold-crazed trouble.
- Bodyguard Crush: Nessie to Quentyn after he saved her from three Gragum cultists.
- Bothering by the Book: Quentyn, of all people, pulls this on hostile politicians: A covenant clause means a contract will be passed someone's successor—in this case, Quentyn of Freeman Downs, who is considered the successor of Quentyn of Ridgedale. The clause must, by Racconan law, specify a number of generations—but if it doesn't, limitation protocols restricts it to one, which means it won't apply to Quentyn of Freeman Down's successor, something that the Expansionist Party overlooked. Quentyn, armed with this knowledge, goes out to fulfill the contract or die trying.
- Boxed Crook: The squire
- Brick Joke: Artimeus mentions a scholar that found the Racconans, though he doesn't believe him, we now have a few pages from his journal.
- Not entirely—these filler pages were taken from the Tales Of The Questor CD, and were from a longer storyline on the CD. The pages were drawn long before the strip mentioning the journal.
- Bring News Back: Trying to bring back news of the dragon's rampage.
- Broke Your Arm Stabbing A Dragon
- A Boy and His X: A girl and her swamp dragon.
- Celestial Deadline
- Celtic Mythology: Pops up from time to time as an apparent influence for the setting.
- Character Filibuster: A few in-world strips are essentially giant blocks of text, with political meaning both within and without the comic.
- Cheap Gold Coins: Averted. The seven villages are poor in metals, to the point that it's becoming a major political issue. Also, racconan money consists of beads and rings, rather than coins, with the only coins in the setting being human coins found in old treasure troves. This leads to a gold coin being more money than most racconans see in a lifetime.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Linneaus the Priest, who might be a lost boy in another story's one hope.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Quentyn
- Circle of Standing Stones: The Racconan homeland of Antillia is littered with stonehenges, which were built essentially as magical incinerators. The ring of lux-proof granite acts as a containment field when destroying dangerous or unstable artifacts, as well as spell testing and other violent magical tasks.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: To Nessie.
- Cold Iron: Apparently that's a mistranslation. It's magnetic iron you want.note
- Colossus Climb: With a dragon. One twice as big as the one Quentyn was prepared to face.
- Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: used in-story when Quentyn's "proof" that the human coins were fake turned out to be a research failure on his part, but it fooled the bad guy (who didn't know any better) anyway.
- Cool Old Guy: The Eldest.
- And to an insanely greater extent, Quentyn's father. The fact that he effortlessly combines Crowning Moments of Awesome and Funny repeatedly throughout the comic cements this trope as an understatement for him.
- Cool Sword: Wildcard
- Corrupt Church: The Universal Church is strongly hinted to be this, if not an outright Religion of Evil. Subverted in the arc after the dragon hunt, where Quentyn's party is receiving sanctuary with a monastic community. The monks avoid the group as much as possible and generally act awkwardly suspicious despite their generosity and kindness, but suspicion of strange guests isn't unwarranted when your monastery is actually a secret sanctuary for peaceful werewolves.
- Cross-Melting Aura: Fae lords are tougher than the regular mooks.
- Crush Blush: Quentyn, while flubbing an apology for what he did while drunk.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of the Sojourner fits Christianity with a stag strapped on the side, while the Universal Church aims more for pointing out some of the more misguided and superstitious results religion can lead to, without being actually evil.
- They were a lot worse in the back-story.
- It was recently revealed that they once suffered terribly from several religions, not just Hayes' thinly-disguised fantasy version of the early Catholic Church.
- An odd comparison as in the middle ages, white stags were considered ominous creatures and several saint stories from the time involve them. Its thematically appropriate.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells:
"Cold" Magnetic iron and rowan wood.
- Doing In the Wizard: After over a hundred comics of treating Lux as just the Racconans' technical term for their medieval-era world's Force Magic version of Functional Magic, complete with constant uses of terms like "spells," "magic," and "wizard," the author devoted a text-heavy side arc to explaining the difference between Lux and witchcraft, both of which are referred to In-Universe as magic. The former is a naturally occurring, if somewhat fantastical, force that behaves according to a set of discernible laws, while the latter is mostly sleight of hand and obfuscation used by hucksters, cultists, and other people with more ambition than morals to gain power and influence.
- Another side arc, much later in the comic's run, went further and showed the tragic consequences of Racconans referring to their magic-like powers as magic, implying that they weren't even going to use magic-related terminology anymore.
- As You Know
- Culture Clash / Sufficiently Advanced Raccoons / Clarke's Third Law: While the raccoons had a deep understanding of Lux, humans believed it was powers of the supernatural, and wasn't able to comprehend when Racconans tried to explain it... so (in-universe) a group of Racconans adopted words like "magic" and "wizard" to pose themselves as supernatural beings. The raccoon leaders and the clergy were... not amused, but the terminology stuck.
- Get Thee to a Nunnery
- The major unseleighe and seleighe fae are a minor inversion, they are explicitly said to have abilities that even Raconan wizards state should be impossible. And during the Wild Hunt arc we see the Prince use powers that are blatantly supernatural such as turning the very land itself against Quentyn when he got sick of being jerked around. Partially justified in that fae are extra dimensional beings who operate according to universal rules that aren't applicable to mortal races but are clearly capable of using lux as well, making it a case of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane
- Deadpan Snarker: Artimeus is quite good at this.
- Description Cut: At least three times so far.
Todd: You don't think Quentyn or Pa are in trouble, do you? Sam: Hm? Nah. Quentyn? Little mister nicey-nice? He's probably got your old priest eating out of his hand right now... [cut to Quentyn getting doused with "holy water"] Priest: By this holy water I bind thee! Quentyn: Will you STOP THAT?? It's really annoying!!
Duke Fenwyck: The Racconans of folklore are a bartering people. It is simply their way to postpone any binding decision 'til a night's sleep and a good breakfast. I assure you, he knew every word he was going to say tomorrow before he even left the room. [Later, in their room] Quentyn: I have no idea what to say to him tomorrow! I mean, what on earth do you charge for slaying a dragon?
Duke Grymalkin: Well, any such scholarly querying will have to wait — this morning he took his men "to see where the dragon attacked." No doubt he is using some arcane Racconan art to divine the nature of the beast he pursues... [cut to Quentyn, holding a book and a quill] Quentyn: Okay ... so what did it look like?
- Drunken Master: Between them Quentyn, Kestrel, and Fen created Wildcard, a weapon whose intricacies stumped the best minds around, out of a enchanting-practice sword while completely drunk.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Quentyn says it all here.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Squidge isn't exactly intelligent but he's still the one who finds a solution no one else noticed.
- The Junior Questors are attempting to distract a suspected cultist... by knocking on his door and trying to sell cookies to him. The suspect points out all the problems with this (they're kids selling cookies in the single most dangerous part of town and that it's very strange that they would try selling cookies at this time of night). They respond that they managed to get him to answer the door, so it must be working to some degree. The suspect acquiesces, and asks if they have macaroons.
- Dungeon Punk: The Seven Villages, especially Sanctuary City. Not so much the rest of the world due to the Universal Church banning magic.
- Though technically luxcraft is a science, it just looks like magic.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: And how. On any given adventure Quentyn winds up dragging himself by sheer will to victory half dead and humiliated, with no one having believed he could have gotten even halfway to where he is. Fortunately, the author is really good about rewarding him for his hard work afterwards.
- Eldritch Abomination: While not as immune to being punched out as your average world-ending horror, the rat-king is an absurdly powerful and remarkably intelligent being with only one goal: to feed. Within the comic it's demonstrated as wanting and able to destroy and consume anything and everything with lux. Word of God says that includes pretty much anything alive.
- Actually, the shadow rats produced by the rat-king are ephemeral and sustain their existence by consuming Lux. The rat-king itself is a flesh and blood creature that needs actual food to survive... and sends out the shadow-rats as drones to fetch food back to itself.
- Also subverted when Quentyn fights a "Chooley", a swamp kraken that isn't nearly as tough as it looks.
- EMP: Quentyn once built a magical version (involving a keg of salt and copper tubing left under the Luxfont for a few days) in order to neutralize the Royals' and Redcaps' magical weaponry and the magical suppressors surrounding Wildcard.
- Empathic Weapon: Wildcard
- Epic Fail: Rahan tries to tar and feather Quentyn as a prank. Squidge gets in on the act and completely turns the tables.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Quentyn blows an Expansionist conspiracy to hell and gone when he takes up his predecessor's Impossible Task rather than let his hometown be repossessed.
- Exact Words: An important point in the Wild Hunt arc. Black Tom is trapped and cannot warn the prince or free himself thanks to careful pre-planning on the prince's part. The Selieghe Absinthe also denies seeing Quentyn's track - while he hides in a pond not two feet away. Best used hereand here
- Failure Is the Only Option: Inverted. Quentyn's quest is to bring back a bunch of lost artifacts to fulfill an old contract, otherwise the land his hometown sits on will be repossessed. He has little hope of bringing back all the artifacts before he dies, but if he dies trying, the debt ends with him, and his ultimate goal is fulfilled.
- However, he's just found the first artifact. Maybe there's hope after all.
- Fake Action Prologue
- Fan Vid: The comics' first major story arc is powerfully summarized in an awesome fan video that is, unfortunately, no longer available.
- Fantastic Racism: Due to their history, many Racoonans and Humans have very low opinions of each other's species. The human bigots are convinced that the Racoonan are members of the Unseleigh court and/or followers of demons while many Racoonans, especially those sympathetic of the Expansionist Party, regard humans as little more than dangerous animals so stealing their land and risking war with them is of no moral significance to them.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Partially subverted, in that we see a Racconan guard captain use a shotgun in an early story arc, but aside from Quentyn's lux-shooting Magitek Automatic Crossbow, and a quick bit with a homeowner firing up through his roof at Quentyn(mistaken for a thief), we never see another firearm. Somewhat justified, since the Racconans have few metal resources and no trade ties.
- Also justified because of their inherent physical limitations, as explained here. The long and short of it is that they're still at the flintlock stage of development, so until they invent cased ammunition, any gun big enough to actually hurt something bigger than they are (which is just about anything) will send any Racconan without Stout Strength flying backwards from recoil. Most of the fuzzballs aren't even big or strong enough to carry a BFG the size of a human rifle.
- And also, they can fire lightning from their hands and don't really need guns in normal situations. It's like they come with a built-in gun. "There's no such thing as an unarmed Racconan."
- Fictional Political Party: Antillia has a more relaxed approach to politics than the American two-party system; parties form around political goals and dissolve after those goals are met, instead of pursuing goals and garnering support over generations - the Rac Cona Daimh hate the very idea of generational power gathering in such a manner. Exposition; all seven Hidden Elf Villages are currently in a downturn; though they were built in a fertile and wealthy area, they've been cooped up in it for over a century, and are starting to feel the crunch in recycling metals and such. This has led to the rise of two particularly powerful parties; the Open Traders, who want to begin carefully trading Luxtech with nearby kingdoms for more minerals, and the Expansionists, who just want to steal land from nearby kingdoms.
- Filler: Used occasionally to take the edge off the periodic Schedule Slip. Particularly frustrating when the climax of the Dragon storyline is intercut with a human scholar's travel-log into The Seven Villages, three or four pages at a time per page of the main storyline.
- Foreshadowing: Just lost a chickenor two...Not a problem whatsoever...
- Foregone Conclusion: Narration is always first person by Quentyn, looking back on the events of the story. You don't know how long after it is, and what condition he's in at that point, but you know he lives at least long enough to record the story in his journal.
- Fridge Horror: The Duke experiences this in-universe here.
Servant girl: I... Can only imagine what is running through your mind, Your Grace...
Duke of Fenwyck: At the moment? That time you told me there was a monster under my bed when I was ten.
- Friend to All Children: There all along, but especially prevalent in Quentyn's attitude towards Marsha; he's completely aware that she's too young to be responsible for her actions, and is very sweet towards her even as she pulls his whiskers and twists his tail.
- From Bad to Worse: The entire dragon arc has been a big Break the Haughty arc for an overly-confident Quentyn. It starts with the duke's hired swords abandoning them in the middle of the night. Then Sam left too. Then Pelinor refuses to follow him into the dragon's lair. Then it turns out they've tracked down the wrong dragon—this one is bigger. Oh, but Sam and Pelinor come back! And they kill the dragon! But Ember was maimed in the process, and they have to put her down. And then it turns out there were two dragons, and when a dragon smells a dead dragon, it goes into a berserker rage. The younger one starts burning the countryside with no one able to stop it. And then, to top it all off, the duke's personal priest comes back, admonishes him for working with "witch-rats," and all but announces the start of a holy crusade to bring the region back under the church's control—especially the neighboring duchy.
- Funny Background Event: this strip.
- Furry Comic
- Funetik Aksent: If you can't tell what the hell the swamp dwelling Racconans are saying, try sounding it out.
- Gang of Hats: Various street gangs.
- A God Am I: Ralph Hayes plays this one like a fiddle. Here's how it plays out:
- God Guise: Non-Rac Cona Daimh lux users tend to end up with their own cargo cult, even if some of them don't have much power.
- Go Look at the Distraction: Recommended procedure for dealing with dragons.
- Gone Horribly Wrong/Gone Horribly Right: Hard to tell which, but he succeeded in killing one dragon. The problem is that there were two, and the other one goes berserk at finding the corpse of the first.
- Good Shepherd: Linnaeus
- Groin Attack: Sometimes necessary when you are a questor.
- Happily Married: His parents.
- Hearing Voices: Colin, apparently
- Heroic Sacrifice: Quentyn believes this to be the only option after inadvertently releasing (and, if he doesn't succeed, feeding and reenergizing) the Rat King. Nothing at this venture is going to save him, and if it gets loose the entirety of Antillia will be next on its menu, so he has to make sure it dies with him.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: the fey prince, after he calls the Wild Hunt on Quentyn, who is protected by two separate ancient boons (One on the Racconans in general, one bestowed by the white stag), and ends up being forced to give Quentyn three wishes, and he ends up losing all his wealth of debts owed to him and, ironically, being forever barred from hunting the mortal plane.
- Honest John's Dealership: Merchant Max. You mustn't deal him with while you're drunk, but his goods are reasonably decent quality and his advice to Quentyn of how to talk turkey in the Human Lands is on the money.
- Honor Before Reason: At times, but not when he takes on the quest to retrieve the artifacts. If he takes the quest, he may never see home again. If he doesn't, he won't have a home to go back to.
- Humans Are Warriors: see here
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: They look like creepy, newborn rats. Eugh. However, their hair can sometimes look nice; too bad it doesn't cover enough for a proper pelt.
- Idiot Ball: Duke Grymalkin's sage was told to deliver every bit of information, fact or fake, to him. He almost comes through on this...but immediately dismisses the one account that holds any truth without bothering to go into any more detail on it.
- I Gave My Word: When asked whether he really meant what he said about becoming a questor.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: When the Unseileighe's spy raven was attempting to flee the castle, none of the guards came even close to hitting it.
- Impressive Pyrotechnics: Quentyn's malfunctioning Elf Shot pistol - which fires off its entire magazine in one giant burst, although it is later fixed.
- Also, the distress flare he uses to swat off a dragon attacking his luftship. The folks below literally ooo and ahh at the pretty lights in the sky.
- Instant Messenger Pigeon: Averted bigtime. Quentyn sends a message via sparrow to his parents, but seconds after he sends it, it gets eaten by a hawk. The message does eventually arrive... via the White Stag... which talks.
- Averted again when a bird refuses to go out into cold weather.
- Instant Knots: The entire point of a "Glimmer Rope".
- Jackie Robinson Story: Subverted with Kestral in that the Engineering faculty head and male students were tired of having to encourage getting more females into the demanding Comprehensive course, only to have practically all the females drop out. Once Kestral proves she's seriously going to see her education through, they begin to accept her.
- Justice by Other Legal Means: Owning books by Betherite the mosnter maker, or wearing a ring with his symbol is not illegal.
- Animal Cruelty, via stealing the neighbors' pets and turning them into mutants? IS!
- Jumped at the Call: Sometimes seeming to beat the Call to the punch.
- Karma Houdini: Subverted (see Karmic Jackpot).
- Karmic Jackpot: The Fae Lord sets a hunt for Quentyn, who a) won, b) just happens to be of a protected race AND c) is personally blessed by a being honored by the Fae, making the challenge a huge no-no twice over. He ends up getting triple the normal punishment: three boons for Quentyn to choose.
- Kid Hero: Quentyn's a youngster when he becomes a Questor. This is used against the Archivist's Guild later on.
- Kill It with Fire: A simple Lux application by our hero can turn a simple candle flame into an impressive shortranged flamethrower attack.
- Knight Errant: Quentyn is one and viewed as such by outsiders. Double's as bilingual bonus as in certain parts of France, Questor was in fact exactly what you would call certain types of knights or Chancellors of a court, particularly in Brittany.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Quentyn's first time seeing a cow.
- Licked by the Dog: The monastery dog approves of Quentyn.
- The Lost Woods: Where the squire says they can take refuge
- Mage Killer: The rat-wights eat lux, which in racoonan society is extremely dangerous. Then there are dragons, who were clearly built to fight lux users. They're immune to all magic, but they are able to sense it and really, really hate it.
- Mana: By Any Other Name, in this case, Lux.
- Marshmallow Hell: Kestrel gives one clueless male a quick visit here.
- The Marvelous Deer: Shows up to give advice and blessings. Will also occasionally deliver a letter.
- Meaningful Name: Wildcard.
- Mercy Kill: Quentyn must do this to the mortally-wounded Ember.
- Metal Poor Planet: The region of Antilla where the Racconans live has no mines and no source of iron, copper, tin, lead, or anything else of that nature. All of it must be imported from beyond the Mist Wall and recycled to exhaustion. However, thanks to a bio-engineering experiment meant to detoxify soil, Antilla has a brand new, never-before-seen metal: aluminum.
- The Missionary: Linnaeus
- Mood Whiplash: First Quentyn and his friends suffer defeat, bereavement and injury. Then they realize their failure has had wider consequences than they suspected, and they have to go on the run because they're afraid the victims will blame them. Elsewhere, events are unfolding that seem to prove their fears entirely justified. And then without warning the scene shifts to... this strip.
- Morph Weapon: Wildcard can add this to it's long list of abilities
- Must Make Amends: Delivering the letter to God
- Naked People Are Funny: Admit it, you laughed, You Bastard. Poor Quentyn.
- Never Accepted in His Hometown: His impressive heroics eventually changes that.
- Never Land: The elves, with an unpleasant twist.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Quentyn and the second dragon.
- Oh, Crap: Done a number of times, but most prominently by the Princeling when he finds out that, the moment he called the Wild Hunt on the "hairy little mortal", whose race and mystical cowlick made him taboo for such twice over, he completely and irrefutably screwed himself.
It can't be... I waited decades...I made sure you were all long gone...WHY ARE YOU HERE???
- And here's one from Quentyn. Beware, spoilers:
- Earlier, Quentyn facing the Rat King and its horde of shadow wights.
Did you ever know you were going to die?
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Expansionist Party is said to have had one when they learn Quentyn's going to try and perform the quest—and they don't have a clue what to do now. Especially since Quentyn is the last Questor to whom the contract applies.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: It is unwise, when assuring a girl that she looks like a girl, to mention her hips.
- Open the Door and See All the People: Quentyn Quinn gets this. The second time, he's in his pajamas. The first time, pajamas would have been an improvement.
- Our Elves Are Better: Or at least they were...
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: At first glance they seem to be pretty standard werewolves, but then they turn out to be a peaceful and harmless group of monks dedicated to teaching other werewolves how to control their gift
- Perpetual Storm: The Racconan homeland of Antillia is protected by a giant dome of magically stilled air. The western portion of the dome (the windward side) always has a giant thunderstorm boiling up around it as damp ground-level air is forced upward.
- Post-Victory Collapse: Yeah, Quentyn, Son of Quinn, the Questor of Freeman Downs, is an unrelenting Bad Ass who can deliver the most Badass Boasts with the greatest of ease. It's just that afterward, he always realizes that he also happens to be a teenager who can bite off more than (he thinks) he can chew with the greatest of ease. At least the second time he didn't throw up.
- Precision F-Strike: Using Symbol Swearing, of course, but it does show up when Quentyn remembers the water-activated dynamite in his pocket—while he's underwater.
- Precursors: The Lemurians.
- Pretty Butterflies: Wildcard produces them once.
- Pride: After all of Quentyn's spectacular victories, it's only natural that he is feeling unstoppable, and he pays a heavy price for that hubris in the Dragon story.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Quentyn uses this trope against Master Rillcreek, who lampshades them under the ..."Hurt Baby Fawn Eyes" name. Apparently Rillcreek isn't the only one he uses them on.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The dragon is dead! And Quentyn's arm is broken, the head is way too big to haul back as a trophy, and poor, poor Ember... (look up at Mercy Kill). As Quentyn puts it:
It was the bleakest, emptiest victory of my life.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: NEVER threaten Quentyn's friends and family. Ever.
- Subverted in the case of the monks, who turn out to be helpful and friendly, despite being werewolves.
- Rescue Romance: Nessie is convinced she will have one.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Quentyn says that human coins are forged because the heads are facing to the right instead of the left. He's wrong, as the heads can face either way. He's absolutely right about the coins being forged, though.
- Rule of Three: the fae lord is asked three times about each boon, which is the point at which they take effect.
- Rules Lawyer: Pretty much all of the Fae, and identified as such, though the Seleighe and the Unseleighe are specifically mentioned.
- Schedule Slip: The strip has gone through periods of this. Then in late 2012 Hayes switched to an "updates happen when I get X amount of donations" model.
- Servant Race: The Fae.
- The Shadow Knows: This reveals werewolves.
- Shapeshifter Baggage: Specifically averted with bogeymen. No matter what form they take, they retain their original (minuscule) strength and mass, to the point that a bogey taking on a really big form essentially becomes a cloud of blue gas.
- Shoot the Dog: Quentyn having to put down Ember, after a dragon attack left him mortally injured.
- Shout-Out: The title of the first human nation Quentyn befriends? The Duchy of Fenwyck!
- Shrouded in Myth: the dragon. Within days of its appearance.
- Fridge Horror: Unless each account of it is correct, which could only mean one thing: Dragons. Plural.
Except for Especially the sock stealing one...
- Oh crap.
- Skunk Stripe: Quentyn's white lock.
- Smooch of Victory: Quentyn's not quite expecting it.
- Spanner in the Works: Without his realizing it, Quentyn's accepting the artifact quest to save his village thwarts the people who wanted to use the situation for political gain.
- Subverted in that Quentyn is hardly The Fool. He knows what he's doing, he's just unaware of the full consequences.
- If anyone's The Fool here, it's the people he's being the Spanner to. The one thing they failed to account for in their plans: Someone doing what was honorable, just, and right.
- Squidge is one as well. A very deliberate one.
- Spin-Off: Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger
- Squick (In-Universe): The kids that were captured by the Fae made the mistake of asking the mirror-fairy where babies came from. Their reaction was... well, as expected of children.
- Stab the Sky: Quentyn in the cover page.
- Still Got It: Squidge, being a bogeyman, was despondant because he thought he wasn't scary anymore (his intended victim thought he was cute). In the Rat King Arc, he successfully scared off a bunch of rat wights by appearing as a monstrous cat, which delighted him to no end. Then he used his powers to turn Rahan's prank completely upside down.
- Stress Vomit: When an arrested gang leader threaten's Quentyn's family, Quentyn breaks his nose, gives him a long list of reasons not to try, and stomps out...and then promptly vomits into a trash can as soon as he's out of sight
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Racconan wizards are basically university academics.
- Summon to Hand: Quentyn is told that his bond with Wildcard will eventually let him do this.
- Symbol Swearing: Has occurred twice thus far.
- Once when Quentyn remembered, after being tossed into the marsh, the water-activated dynamite in his pocket.
- Once when the Junior Questor gang gets trapped on a roof by a livid Beitherite, who in this case is the one doing the swearing.
- Take a Third Option: More than once - in fact, for many quandries, "hire a questor" is the best alternative, as Quentyn himself has noted.
- The Bully: Rahan
- The Quest: Quentyn agrees to go to an seemingly impossible grand quest to save his town from being repossessed.
- The Fair Folk
- Thicker Than Water
- Thieving Magpie: A fay lord collects like a magpie.
- Three Wishes: Quentyn's reward after the Wild Hunt. Which he uses to great effect against the Princeling Dolan.
- Through His Stomach: The advantages of a woman's touch
- Too Fast to Stop: Quentyn's speed-enhancing boots.
- Sadly destroyed during the Wild Hunt when their heat buildup completely incinerated them.
- It appears, however, that he's managed to either repair them, or craft a new pair, as he's seen using their wall-scaling trick later on to run up the neck of a dragon.
- Word of God says that the enchantment, er, Lux circuitry, resides in the buckles rather than the easily-damaged leather. As long as the buckles survive, all he needs is a new pair of boots.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Quentyn gets a lot more bitter and irritable during the Dragonslayer arc. It's implied to be a combination of the cold weather driving a need to go into hibernation and the fact that he's started to give up on ever finding the artifacts. He seems to be back to his old self in recent strips though.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Squidge loves him some berry pies.
- Training the Peaceful Villagers: Quentyn teaches the Duke of Fenwyck how to fight the Fae, and he likewise distributes the weapons and tactics to his subjects.
- Treasure Room: After Quentyn has everything the fae lord took unjustly given to the Duke.
- Note that the exact words are important. He MEANT "Everything the Fae lord took from the duchy." He GOT "Everything the Fae lord took."
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kestrel
- Unpredictable Results: Quentyn's magic sword, Wildcard, which can go from invincible to useless between attacks. Noteworthy in its tendency toward the useless side when it would be funny. If Quentyn's life is in danger, however, the results can be reeeeeeeeeally ugly, and even an apparently "silly" effect can turn out to be exactly the sort of vital delaying distraction needed to ensure Quentyn's survival. This may be justified by being an Empathic Weapon.
- Unreliable Expositor: Pelinor claims that ever since his master died in his Animated Armor, its been whispering and murmuring to itself, and occasionally moving. Quentyn, as one might expect, doesn't believe him. Turns out he wasn't telling the whole truth.
- Unsuspectingly Soused: It wasn't blackberry sherry, it was blackberry BRANDY.
- Variant Chess: A four-player variant with the same social role as poker.
- Weak, but Skilled: The Racconnan race in general; two-foot tall "Lux"-wielding furries in a High Fantasy world of elves, dwarves, orges, etc... but their lack of power has led them to Analyze Magic Sufficiently to put them "head and shoulders" above the rest - the only Steam Punk civilization on a world stuck in The Dung Ages.
- Quentyn in particular; Despite extensive studies he's a "black ribbon" Lux user - just one step above no power at all. He's clever enough to scrape through school through rote memorization - but not brilliant enough to be a scholar or engineer. He's strong, fast, tough and well trained - but short even for a racconan his age. Put another way: he knows lots of subtle low-power spells, he's great at MacGyvering both tech and magic, and he's a Combat Pragmatist. In short, he's a pretty darn good Questor.
- The Racconnans are also this way to human Lux users: while a human may have enough power to level a forest, it's like "a Neanderthal with a club verses you with a crossbow."
- We Need a Distraction: Stumble on the mad scientist's lair, with his experimental animals just when you need a distraction.
- Wham Episode: Old Secrets story arc.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: As a rule, Quentyn tries to avoid getting involved in politics on principle, but inevitably finds himself neck deep in the regional politics wherever he goes.
- With Due Respect
- The Wild Hunt
- With This Herring: Averted. When preparing for The Big Quest, Quentyn gets all the equipment he needs, and more. He tends to prepare for his minor quests, albeit from his own saved money, and had significant physical and scientific training.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Due to a childhood prank, he's afraid of jellies.
- Mind, he was tricked into believing they could dissolve living flesh. Ever seen The Blob?
- What the Hell, Hero?: Quentyn to himself in the aftermath of his encounter with the Gragum—pretty much an inverted "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- World of No Grandparents: The average Racoonan lifespan is 250 years, yet it has been nearly a hundred years since the last Questor went beyond the mistwall, yet we see nobody in the story who knew him personally, nor any of his family members. Possibly justified in that the red plague killed alot of the older Racoonans. There is some inconsistency though in that the current Elders of Freeman downs were 'no more then kits' when the plague hit, which means the Eldest of them has to be at least under 100 years old yet looks ancient, so it is possible the racoonans were just lying to the human scholar when he asked how long they lived.
- Word of God, they do live 250 years. The Elders of Freeman Downs are, in Racconan years, middle aged, but due to their rank cultivate white hair and beards. The High Eldest is the oldest Racconan in all of Antillia, is twice as old as any of the Elders of Freeman Downs, and one of the few survivors of the plague.
- Would Hurt a Child: The Shaman. Oh, my, yes, they would hurt a child.
- Wrench Wench: Kestrel
- Wretched Hive: The Tumbledowns
- Zeppelins from Another World: Racconans ''looove'' their "Luftships".