For a webcomic starring stick figures, The Order of the Stick has quite a lot of these. For the sake of the servers, please refrain from marking everything that happens as one of these.
The Order of the Stick
- Roy recruiting Vaarsuvius into the order in On the Origin of PCs. Specifically, he uses Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness to prove to the elf that, far from being just another fighter with intelligence as his Dump Stat, he's got a formidable mind that can rival any wizard's.Vaarsuvius: Bah!! You are clearly only hiring me because I intimidated you intellectually, to the point where your masculine pride requires you to establish your dominance over my superior mind.
Roy: Maybe. Or maybe I'm hiring you because I require the creation of a managed spherical energy release with a thermal signature no less than 1850° Kelvin, which can be manifested at specific X, Y, and Z coordinates from verbal cues. I require this specific temperature because it is the minimum level at which necrotized epidermis has been proven to combust and I have reason to believe that my mission will require the incapacitation of multiple post-organic hostiles.
Vaarsuvius: So...you need Fireball spells to toast the undead you expect to fight?
Roy: Did I stutter?
Vaarsuvius: ...A pleasure to serve under you, sir.
- "YOU! BROKE! MY! SWORD!" is...pretty darn good.
- Saving the rest of the Order from execution using nothing more than his broken sword and Bag of Tricks.
- "Oh. Oh no. I wouldn't touch your skinny uptight ass with a standard-issue 10-ft. pole, you overbearing self-righteous bitch."
- After he beats Sabine, she tries to seduce him by saying that he can do "anything [he] wants" with her. Roy looks at her as she strips, cocks an eyebrow, and says "anything I want, you say?" and proceeds to knock her out the window.Roy: You're right; that did feel better than before.
- The whole Roy vs. Miko final battle is a notable one for Roy, showing off some of his best wit and badassery so far. "Treasure type O" indeed...The page right after that one is awesome cubed times awesome squared to the power of awesome. POW!
- "Rematch". Yes, he failed; yes, Azure City was taken; and, yes, this still counts as a CMOA. Roy risked (and lost) his life to avenge a man he never knew for a father he never loved, but more importantly for the lives of friends and thousands of innocent people. He did this from a sense of courage and honor that makes most Paladins seem like cutthroats in comparison, and even though he lost, we'll always know that he tried. Made even greater when he demonstrates that his dedication to stopping Xykon is too strong for even his death to even hinder.
- The way he tells off his father, Eugene, in Heaven. It's not even an angry rant. It's a reaffirmation of what Eugene is, a selfish and bitter old man who's not even worth the effort.Roy: I'm not going to change who you are as a person by shouting a few insults at you, no matter how clever they might be. I used to think that I could; that if I could just deliver the perfect retort, it would open your eyes a little. But if everything you've been through with Mom and Eric and Grandpa and the literal forces of the cosmos hasn't made you want to be a better man, I doubt a one-liner from me is going to do the trick now. You are who you are, and every time I stoop to the level of engaging you with an angry tirade, I'm a little more like you and a little less like Mom.
- Ending his fight with Thog by making the raging barbarian destroy a portion of the arena seating and bring it down on his head. Just to be perfectly clear: Roy goads Thog into using Roy's own body as a battering ram to damage the pillars supporting the roof...This fight is so awesome that Elan's father congratulates him on it even though he destroyed part of the arena. One of the guards asks for an autograph. It's worth pointing out that, right before Mr. Scruffy knocked Sir Scraggly into the arena, Roy was overpowering hulked-out Thog.Roy: Cross-class...skill ranks in...[huff]...Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering)...
THAT'S how I use my Intelligence score in combat, DUMBASS!
- His ambush of the Linear Guild. With just a smoke arrow and a Holy Word, he manages to separate one member with a trap, flat out defeat another, and deafen most of the rest including one spellcaster that requires exact pronunciation, incapacitating half the guild in one swoop and disorienting the rest. As if that wasn't enough, when Nale rushes to get his sword, he gets ambushed by Belkar, and immediately attempts to put the latter into a suggestion spell...and fails because Belkar was also deafened by the Holy Word.Roy: It's not a bug, it's a feature.
- Realizing that Girard's Gate was being hidden in a pillar that was marked "SORRY, YOUR GATE IS IN ANOTHER PYRAMID" and, upon finding it, deciding to destroy it so that no one can try to control it. Then you realize that Roy came to that conclusion thanks to investing skill points in a cross class skill. Knowledge [Architecture and Engineering] once again proves to be useful for the fighter. It demonstrates that his smarts are more than just for show.
- Page 917. With an entire army bearing down on him, two allies, and a single summoned outsider, Roy quickly and calmly comes up with a plan to survive for as long as possible. The outsider goes on the front lines (its damage reduction means mook weapons aren't going to do much) with Roy (who can carve through anything in reach with Great Cleave), Durkon works on hypnotizing enemy soldiers (while the turned ones get killed quickly, that means less people trying to kill them), and Belkar (who currently has the Constitution score of a half-dead field mouse) kicks up sand for concealment. And he comes up with all this in seconds, as he's getting pincushioned by crossbow bolts. He may not have the intelligence to match the comic's Chessmaster-level villains, but in terms of adaptability, Roy is unparalleled. Cutting a dinosaur and its rider in half in one swing is pretty awesome too, as Belkar himself admits. The whole scene is humorously lampshaded by Tarquin in that he meant for a tragic execution scene but ends up making Roy look badass in a climactic battle instead.
- Near the end of the battle against Tarquin, he applies his anti-caster move he learned from his grandfather, stopping Miron's Horrid Wilting spell cold and allowing his teammates to drive him from the field.
- One of Durkon's flashbacks shows a scene in which Roy gets swallowed by a giant frog. Upon receiving no help from his teammate, he kills the monster from inside out by imapling it with his sword.
- When Roy learns that the purpose of the Godsmoot is to decide whether or not the gods should unmake the world to prevent the Snarl from being unleashed, he goes against the rules of the Godsmoot so he can give his two copper pieces on the matter. He points out that the gods have nothing to lose and a whole new planet of worshipers to gain from starting over, and that while he enjoyed the afterlife during his time there he's in no hurry to return to it. He wraps up by asking the gods for a little more time to fix things. The speech falls flat because the gods can't actually hear him, but every mortal present is moved by it.
Wrecan: A bodyguard who raises arms against the priest of another god must be put to death immediately!
- Shortly after delivering a great speech and breaking the rules in the process, he decides to play by (or more accurately abuse a loophole in) the rules. The expressions of everyone in the background illustrate the average reader's reaction to "DURKON!".
Roy: Are there any rules about what happens if a bodyguard attacks their own priest?Wrecan: ...No.Roy charges.Wrecan: (Smiling) No, there are not.
- His fight against the High Priest of Hel gets off to a spectacular start when he manages to shrug off the High Priest's vampiric gaze!
- Call-Back: Roy has a high enough Wisdom to have been a cleric himself.
- Also, Durkon himself figured that Roy could shrug it off.
- During the fight, when it seems as though he's really down for good, he finally figures out the High Priest of Hel's identity: "Oh. I understand. YOU'RE NOT DURKON AT ALL!"
- He then proceeds to give him an awesome Curb-Stomp Battle, FINALLY using all the power in his sword (which, if you remember, can sometimes "glow with deadly green energy that particularly harms the undead") and venting all of his rage over Durkon's death in one sitting, not even letting the Priest of Hel get a spell in - which is yet another use of the move his grandfather taught him while in Heaven.Roy: I am going to stop you, and if that means I never get my friend back because he was twisted into being you [strikes High Priest of Hel], then I will be sad, but you will be DEAD!
- Also a great moment is when Roy again uses the move he learned from his grandfather to cancel one of Durkon's spells. A few bystanders recognize the technique as the Spellsplinter Maneuver while Wrecan comments his disbelief, thinking nobody alive still knew it. It seems Roy's connection to his grandfather allowed him to revive a previously dead Secret Art.
- In the end, he quickly guesses that he is not allowed to attack the new High Priestess of Hel, and is able to use Rules Lawyering to keep the Church of Hel from claiming Malack's staff and its obscure spells by snapping it in half, rendering it useless. He even uses the exact same logic that the former High Priest of Hel used when he almost killed Wrecan just so it can't be twisted.High Priestess of Hel: That staff is the property of the Church of Hel, and the official regalia of the high priest. I hereby issue a formal request that it be turned over at once, in accordance with protocol.Roy: (small) Oh, of course, gotta follow protocol.Roy snaps the staff in half and tosses the pieces in her face.
- Now he's found out how to induce the green fire at will.
- Roy can summon his sword to teleport back to his hand should he lose it.
- He takes on a Flame Strike without a sweat and One Hit Kills the vampire that had thrown it at him.
- Roy puts his new ability to summon his sword back to his hands to good use by throwing it at one of the High Priest's minions, bringing it back, and repeating.
- As of 1124, nearly all members of the Order are either dominated or knocked out. Roy is, for all intents and purposes, left alone at the battlefield. Whereas this would normally be an occasion for the villain to start gloating, The Priest of Hel remains serious and even tells his minion that the fight is not over yet. He recognises Roy as that much of a threat. And, seeing how Roy keeps on fighting, he is likely not wrong about that. On top of that, Roy manages to take down Belkar, Haley, and Elan nonlethally while killing all of the other vampires besides The Priest of Hel and his two remaining minions.
- Haley decides to take a decidedly physical approach to passing a clichéd test of the mind. Just look what happens when she drops by again.
- Haley demonstrates why she is second in command by figuring out what Xykon is really up to.
- Three words: "SNEAK ATTACK -- BITCH!"
- Haley renders Belkar speechless.
- Haley fillets her way through a dozen Thieves' Guild members, and even goes toe-to-toe with Bozzok, someone explicitly at least four levels higher than her (and who had just defeated her previously).
- [Knock Knock] "Who's there?" "Roland."
- Haley achieves a feat of trickery greater than any previous by stealing a diamond from herself to resurrect Roy. Note the page of the comic she stole it from.
- Behold, the power of lying.
- "You'll excuse me, of course, if I just go fix the world while you rot!"
- "HEY! TARQUIN!! Catch." Particularly impressive is that she manages to not only fire both arrows directly at Tarquin's eyes, but that she managed to do it with one of her arms broken and thus aiming while sitting on the deck and aiming with her foot. And she found another practical use for the manyshot feat most players find useless.
- Even better, this was also an example of Haley's cunning and strategy skills, as she remembered Tarquin being able to Arrow Catch and so launched two arrows right at his eyes to make him lose his grip and fall overboard.
- After Bandanna gets the group to the Dwarf country, Haley refuses to let Bandanna's stint as captain end there. So she goes to the mechanics, and talks them from a 200,000 gp bill down to 43,000. Behold, the Game-Breaker that is Diplomancy!Andromeda: What? How-? Did she use magic on them?!
Roy: Nah, magic makes sense. What she does defies the natural order.
Haley: She also threw in a 25% coupon at the local potion master, and four free passes to brunch.
Elan: Ooh! Waffles!
- While Crystal is trying to kill her, she finally uses her Boots of Speed to take her far from the other people in town and find the time to convince Crystal that she is being used by Bozzok as a tool. Crystal promptly goes after Bozzok.Haley: I shot you in the face. Bozzok stabbed you in the back.
- Haley finally putting an end to Crystal once and for all and showing how far she's come as a person. It's official: push her too far, and Haley Starshine will kill your ass...then go and enjoy a hearty brunch.
- Extended Greater Invisibility + Multishot = Dead Encounter.
- Elan's very first Awesome Moment, chronologically, is when he meets Roy in On the Origin of PCs. Roy's having trouble recruiting adventurers, so Elan sets him straight by having him dress as a Mysterious Stranger and sit in the corner of a tavern. Just when Roy's ready to pack it in, a line of adventurers are at his table! That's right, if Elan hadn't used his Genre Savvy to help a complete stranger, the Order of the Stick might never have been formed.
- "Brother Against Brother":Nale: No one denies me, Elan. Not father, not you, no one.
Elan: [blows a raspberry in his face] Deny. Deny. Deny! (stab) Deny the psychopathic egomaniac!
- Just like a Vin Diesel movie.
- Elan forcing one of the teenage goblins in Xykon's dungeon to reveal everything he knows about Xykon's plans using...unorthodox methods.Elan: But I have a different method of persuasion. Tell us what we want to know, or...Goblin: Or what?! Do your worst, human!Elan: I'll cry!Goblin: ...what?Elan: You heard me! I'll start bawling like a toddler that dropped his ice cream on the sidewalk! In front of your friends, your teachers, any girls you like, and I'll tell them it's because you wont be my friend!Goblin: You wouldnt!Elan: I think I might be misting up already!
- Elan gets one in "Death from Above" after Taking a Level in Badass. Directly after that entrance he starts cutting up his brother, who wasn't expecting a fight at all. When his brother regroups and attacks him with reinforcements, Elan manages to duel his brother (an accomplished swordsman who handily beat Elan last time they fought) and creates an illusion to scare Thog (a Teletubby!) at the same time.
- "Rock the Boat":
- Twice:Kubota: What are you doing?!? You'll sink us both, you fool.
Elan: Gosh, really? Good thing I'm not wearing any armor!
- And after that.Elan: You were her captain...now you're going down with her ship.
- Elan manages to pull off a Moment of Awesome and a Heartwarming Moment with a single headstone.
- Elan choosing to openly defy the same narrative traditions he'd been enforcing since day one, because having a fulfilling relationship with Haley was worth more than following the script.
- Elan might be a bit smarter at using his skills than we've been led to believe. Bonus points for having done so on a succubus, of all creatures.
- Elan then evades Nale and Sabine using his Genre Savvy and, amazingly, his wits. Cornered on a building? He invokes Scene Transition. Nale's trapped him? He turns Amun-Zora's wrath on himnote . Nale and Sabine almost find him? CELESTIAL TREE SLOTH ATTACK!!Sabine: Ahhhh! It's hanging on me! Get it off! Get it off!!
- Elan breaking the party out of their Lotus-Eater Machine by doing what he does best, being Genre Savvy. Even more awesome if you think about it. He showed real emotional maturity by being willing to accept that his perfect world is so unlikely as to be functionally impossible. A real change from his usual childish "the heroes always win" optimism. Not long ago it took burning people alive to make him see that his father was Evil. Not only that, he shows his growth by acknowledging his wishes were "childish ideas that never should have happened" and his family is "screwed up and broken". His maturity allows him to face reality, even at the cost of the happy ending he always wanted. And despite all that, he doesn't break. Quite the opposite; he's even more sure that things will work out in the end — and his optimism pulls Roy out of the funk he'd been in since Durkon died. Put another way, Elan saved the day through Character Development. Elan. Awesome.
- Right before going to his friends' aid, Elan takes a moment to give his father a long overdue verbal smackdown.
- In #927, Elan, of all people, comes up with a brilliant plan on the fly to save Roy's life and strike a telling blow against his father and his father's backup. And then, to rub salt in Tarquin's wounds, he immediately turns authority back over to Roy, trusting him to have a better idea to solve this mess.
- Elan literally stands between Roy and Tarquin, and tells his father that:Elan: If you want Roy dead, you'll have to kill me first.
- The plan he made before finding Girard's Gate: to combat his Evil father, he called in a favor from his Good father-figure: Julio Scoundrél. And he did so by convincing Scoundrél to do what Elan was already doing: making a more interesting story by defying traditional tropes like the Mentor-always-dying cliché.Elan: Tell him...tell him this: the hero of any story can defy danger — but only a special hero can defy stories themselves. And wouldn't that make a cool story anyway?
- Elan manages to defeat his father by being a complete and utter badass without raising his sword once or saying a single spell. Haley shoots two arrows at Tarquin, and Tarquin catching them means that he's off-balance and clinging onto the railing. He offers Elan some better plot lines which involve dragging him on board, and Elan thinks about it and says this:Elan: You know, the first time I met Nale, we ended up in almost the exact same situation. He wound up hanging over a pit of monsters, and I pulled him up. He didn't understand why I did it. I told him it was because I was the Good twin, not the Neutral twin.
Tarquin: Good, good, glad to hear it. Now pull me up, I think my fingers are slipping.
Elan: But see, Dad, that's the thing. I'm not a twin anymore. And you're not the real villain.
(Tarquin's eyes widen as he finally loses his grip and falls overboard)
Elan: (mockingly) Don't worry. You'll live.
- Ironic Echo to Tarquin's prior reaction to Elan's Go Through Me moment. There's also the sheer Fridge Brilliance of finding a reason he shouldn't have killed Nale that Tarquin can actually understand: without Nale as his foil, Elan is no longer "the Good twin" and so does not have all the former motivations he had, including potential motivations towards Tarquin. Elan effectively weaponized an anticlimax and managed to make it into a genuinely awesome moment. Bonus points for the "you'll live" being an
- And to rub salt in the wound, as lampshaded by The Giant himself, Elan gave Tarquin a Fate Worse than Death: making him irrelevant to the story and making sure he got the point across to his father - He's not the Big Bad, and is at best an Arc Villain.Tarquin: THIS IS A TERRIBLE ENDING!!!
- Elan managing to think up a scheme to take down Tarquin that Ian couldn't find fault with (you have to remember how paranoid Ian is here) and at the same time, finally breaks the ice with him.
- Elan swooping in to heal Roy so that he can knock a giant out. Even better since it really cements himself as a support character instead of the hero his father wants him to be.
- Elan figuratively saves the day by spinning it from a display of Roy being callous, aloof and indifferent to their existences to a representation of how much Roy has grown to trust them, pointing out that the old Roy would never have left them to their own devices, due to regarding them as a pack of morons needing constant supervision. The icing on the cake, as he admits to Haley afterwards, is he did that on purpose to cover Roy's ass though it's also a very touching scene given how he is still completely right in that it is a show of trust. A true showing just how much he's grown from the blissfully stupid happy-go-lucky dunce he was in his past.Elan: He said to do whatever needed to be done, so I did. Does it matter? After a drunken Roy gives out the most half-assed "go team" speech in the history of the comic and stumbles away to sleep it off,
- "EVAN'S SPIKED TENTACLES OF FORCED INTRUSION!"Trigak: Wait, what?
- V to Miko:Vaarsuvius: Belkar is a horrible, loathsome, supremely selfish creature, who behaves contemptuously, laughs at the pain of others, has no manners whatsoever, and whose mental acuity would be compared unfavorably to that of a table. And yet I find I still prefer him to you!
- V beating Nale with genre savviness.
- V at the Battle of Azure City: "Paper Beats Rock!" and "MASS ENLARGE PERSON!" Basically, V's whole elemental-battling section of the Battle of Azure City is essentially a perfect combo, capped with the final, life-saving feather fall, of all things. Vaarsuvius is a wizard. Being ridiculously well-prepared is in the job description.
- V recognizes that Kubota is evil and blasts him away in one shot, thus saving the crew time in dealing with yet another villain. Also, that mustache did not do him any favors.
- V versus the elder dragon. It may have been brutal, it may have been evil, but it was still undeniably awesome.
- V's second chance: although terrified, beaten nearly to death, and with no spells that can help against an Epic-level Lich...giving up a chance of Feather Falling out of the tower to safety to go back to heal O-Chul.
- When O-Chul attacks Xykon with nothing more than his fists, the once somewhat craven Vaarsuvius is right behind him, getting ready to throw cantrips into Xykon's eyeholes, despite visible terror.
- "Guess what spell I cast before giving this to the bird." and the strip after it. Bonus points for the fact that V actually takes Xykon's advice to heart and uses it against him — it's not how powerful your spells are, it's how you use what you've got. Fittingly, Xykon is clearly impressed, when he realizes V has given Blackwing his phylactery.
- This is even more apparent in V's rematch with Zz'dtri, who's tailored his entire build to defeat V. After spending the majority of the duel blasting away to no effect, V realizes that by focusing on V exclusively, Zz'dtri has exposed a huge weakness to archers. So V brainwashes the Linear Guild's current Belkar counterpart (since Haley was Taken for Granite), who has dual crossbows and has him go to town. Keep in mind Vaarsuvius starts the counter attack with Haley's three favorite words and finishes by keeping calm and resisting Zz'dtri's taunts.
- Double-teaming Qarr with Blackwing to get the information that yes, V was responsible for everything V did during the soul splice (which the audience already knew), who Qarr is really working for, and that Roy and the others are no longer in the same location they were in when V fell down the hole. All in one page.
- V comes to the Order's rescue, snapping out of a Heroic BSoD to provide some much needed magic support and turning the battle around in the Order's favor. Special mention must be given to them casually using Chain Lightning to obliterate the Empire of Blood's aerial forces sent after them in the time it took Haley and Elan to start coming up with a plan to defeat them.
- V still has their work cut out for them, but just their presence alone in the face of Tarquin having defied Elan's plan and being about to kill everyone and cripple his son is so awesome.Tarquin: It has become clear to me that the only way you will accept your proper role is for me to utterly crush you here and now. So I am going to murder your lowlife girlfriend, burn this ship and everyone on it to ash, and chop off your hand. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THESE THINGS ARE DONE! And when you are off brooding and healing for our inevitable final duel, I want you to remember one thing: That you forced me to do this. Just like Nale did.
(A huge pink Bugsby's Forceful Hand flies straight into Tarquin's face, almost knocking him overboard and causing him to drop his dagger)
Vaarsuvius: Apologies. I was looking for signs of pursuit and did not notice we had taken on stowaways.
- The fight itself is an impressive Wizard Duel between two masters of the arcane arts, but how it ends is an amazing payoff for V's new policy of conserving power.Laurin: (after breaking out of V's Resilient Sphere) You already tried putting me in a box, wizard! You're wasting everyone's time! I can counter any spell you have left, so why not just save yourself the pain and—
V: (calmly) I have in excess of twenty-five spells remaining. Not counting cantrips.
(Laurin stares at them for a moment before teleporting away)
- A smaller and more subdued example, barely worth mentioning on its own save for context; Haley laments not being able to manage any sneak attacks with her bow whilst shooting from open ground, to which V responds with an Extended Greater Invisibility, coupled with quip of "Yes, yes. Magic is very nice. Shall we?" where pre-splice V might've spent much of the ensuing battle casting spells with one hand and patting themself on the back with the other. That Character Development is coming along nicely. Indeed, V in general is an MVP throughout the entire encounter. Their spell casting expertise allows them to locate a group of giant clerics before the ship gets close enough to do anything, cast a Mass Suggestion on all but one of them, and then used Improved Counterspell to block the remaining one. It also speaks to their Character Development since in the past V would have wasted most of their spells trying to find something that worked.
- A joint one for both V and Hilgya: During the fight against the High Priest of Hel and his minions in Firmament, V casually flies into a room before getting immediately mobbed by vampires... and one of them then breaks their fangs on V's skin because V had warded themselves against both energy drain and physical attacks.Vaarsuvius: (barely able to suppress their smirk) Fortunately for you, there are no compelling disadvantages to congregating in a relatively compact area.
(The vampires swarming V all suddenly give massive Oh, Crap! looks)
Hilgya Firehelm: (from out in the hallway) Chaos Hammer!
(A massive glowing hammer suddenly smashes right down on V, stunning all of the vampires while V only grimaces and otherwise shrugs off the pain)
- Even after getting hit with a Cone of Cold, V is still able to keep their concentration and finish casting a Forcecage spell on the Exarch vampire, only failing since the Exarch is able to get behind cover in sufficient time. Not bad for a Squishy Wizard.
- During On the Origin of PCs, Roy has given up on this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits after their Epic Fail of a first encounter, but Durkon stops him. He persuades Roy to give them another chance with both a soft sell and a hard sell. Without him, the Order of the Stick would have disbanded immediately after forming. Clearly Odin knew what he was doing when he arranged for Durkon's exile.
- "...weathercontrolweathercontrolweathercontrolweathercontrolweather--" All while Roy's popular sister is trying to distract him with boobs. Someone invested ranks in the concentration skill.
- It bears repeating: Durkon uses Weather Control to create such a massive bolt of lightning that the resulting thunder acts as a blast of Sonic magic and manages to completely obliterate the group of evil treants summoned by Leeky Windstaff in one blast, saving V's life. This is regarded as so awesome that even though it's acknowledged to not make any sense In-Universe, Thor himself lets it pass on sheer Rule of Cool factor.
- And immediately afterwards, he puts Julia in her place with calm and common sense, making him the first person she acts respectfully towards since her introduction.
- It must be something about Leeky, because he gets another one against him here.
- Pretty much any time Durkon uses Thor's Might is a clue that asskicking is coming, but this one is acknowledged as awesome in-story (fitting, as it's his third against Leeky).
- Durkon knows the value of timing.Durkon: I'm on the balcony because it be tea time.
- Durkon finally gets to use Holy Word. Even more awesome when the consequences of the Holy Word are made clear in the next strip: Sabine gets sent back to her plane and both Nale and Zz'dtri have gone deaf...as well as Belkar. Also in the ensuing battle, he manages to hold his own against Tarquin for a round or two, and even gets a compliment.
- In a non-physical example, Durkon's stubborn refusal to back down in the face of honeyed words, biased offers and the unspoken threat of death before him...to save Belkar, of all people. Sometimes that dwarven attitude works.
- Durkon just made a simple healing spell badass. Because Revive Kills Zombie...and other undead. To put this in perspective, he's going up against Malack who is quite possibly equal in level to Tarquin, and he's not just holding his own, but is able to No-Sell several of Malack's attacks, and get several impressive hits in.
- And then he tricks him into talking so he can find him. And then mockingly compares him to Nale.Durkon: Mebbe — but at least Nale keeps movin' around when 'e starts with tha pontificatin'!!
- Even in death and his soul subjugated and made into a record for the vampire spirit to peruse at his will, Durkon still found a way to provide a very nasty setback to Hel. Extra points for determination and not even letting the vampire's bullshit argument get through to him. And then he tops it by figuring out how to weaponize his memories. Smell this, vampire.
- The Order realizes that Xykon would be ruling the world if Durkon hadn't been with them, holding them together when they were each at their lowest.
- Durkon finally gets a solid one on the High Priest of Hel by showing him the day he learned of his mother's most selfless act, donating an entire treasure chest of gemstones to save five complete strangers from Hel, despite having tons of reasons not to. After always having a response to at least try to shut down Durkon, the High Priest is left flabbergasted, and more importantly completely silent at the end.
- You want to see the awesome might of pure, undiluted, non-metaphorical wisdom and willpower? TAKE 'EM ALL! Durkon finally unleashes upon the High Priest of Hel a lifetime of memories of how he dealt with his mother's sacrifice, of confusion and mixed feelings, the complex but resolute moral foundation upon which he built decades of his life and faith...which the High Priest has no experience or lifetime dealing with, and transforms the vampiric spirit (which is just him in the lowest moment of his life) — into the complete him. That's right. Durkon weaponized an entire lifetime of Character Development.Durkon: But be careful. B'cause ye know wha ye are if'n ye haf me body an' all me joys an' sorrows?
Both Durkons: Yer me.
- Even more awesome is the fact that Durkon effectively got the High Priest to agree to be flooded with all his memories.
- Thor himself basically describes it as "talk[ing] a vampire into nonexistence".
- Rich Burlew summed it up in a post:"Durkon is a high-Wisdom, high-Will-save character who possesses an unimpeachable Lawful Good alignment. That makes him unique. He may, in fact, be literally the single strongest willpower character who has ever been vampirized, ever."
- The newly Durkonified vampire dismisses the anti-life shell and deliberately bares his chest for Belkar's stake, knowing that a) he'll never, ever convince the Order that no, really, THIS TIME he's the real Durkon, and b) the personality change may not actually be permanent. Ladies and gentlemen, a Heroic Sacrifice done right.
- That ancient, forgotten secret that Thor told Durkon? It's essentially a mortal's version of Mjolnir.Durkon: "Death an' destruction." Tha's wha Odin's prophecy said I'd bring wit me when I came back home. Turns out me whole life were shaped by tha, an' I dinnae ev'n know it. But now I know. An' I already brought so much death ta so many. So I say it's aboot time fer some destruction.
- Durkon stops the Council of Clans and foils the Exarch's plans... by breaking their table with a piece of fallen ceiling, invoking a minor rule that the council table must be in one piece. As his mother states, the vampires really should have known better than to take on Durkon in a battle of Rule-Fu.
- At the end of negotiations, Redcloak asks Durkon how many goblins he has killed personally. Durkon's response, while imploding, is short and simple: "Na as many as ye."
- Facing down an epic-level lich sorcerer, Durkon's response is to simply chuck his hammer into Xykon's face before leaping off the cliff with Minrah. He even catches the hammer back in the jump!
- Made better by the fact that Durkon and Minrah also tanked Xykon's dreaded Energy Drain and a Maximized Fireball because they were warded.
- Belkar outsmarting Yokyok.
- Combat Pragmatism in his fight with Miko was great and, for the most part, showed him averting his usual Stupid Evil tendencies. Belkar's great use of
- Belkar is being attacked by Miko but he can't fight back. What does he do? What does he do? He mocks her.Miko: At least I will be able to finally execute you for your crimes before I leave.
Belkar: Funny. I always figured I'd be killed by a paladin.
- Belkar falls off the walls of Azure City after saving Hinjo from an assassin, finds himself surrounded by a literal horde of hobgoblins... and proceeds to kill so many of them that he's able to assemble a mountain of their bodies at least a few dozen high.
- Just when you think he couldn't top it, he undergoes a fullblown Vision Quest, and recovers from his coma just in time to kick simply ungodly amounts of ass. In short order: he slaughters half the Thieves' Guild (aided by Mr. Scruffy and the Cleric of Loki), seduces the Guild's bard/rogue/sorceress mid-battle, saves Haley, and shows a more refined level of cruelty by not killing Crystal or Old Blind Pete (instead leaving Crystal alive so that her Arch-Enemy can finish her off, and leaving Pete alive so that the cleric who Pete had just betrayed can Pay Evil unto Evil). In Belkar's own words: "Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime."Belkar: (to the Cleric of Loki) Back me up and I'll cut a path through these guys!
Cleric of Loki: Sounds good!
Belkar: Wait, did I say "path"? I meant a five-lane blacktop highway with a two lane service road--and I'm packin' a fist full of tokens and a radar detector.
- This whole sequence also shows Belkar capable of being a fantastic team player in how he effortlessly holds off both Crystal and Bozzok to give Celia enough time to rescue a critically injured Haley, with this being perhaps the most important development. He also gets in a good shot at both Crystal and Bozzok's egos during his duel with them:
- While it's thankfully kept off-panel, Belkar feeds the guard that mocked his cat the entrails of the gladiator that his own had just disemboweled.
- It was actually Belkar's idea to save bounty hunters Gannji and Enor from being executed in the gladiatorial arena by unleashing the Allosaurus normally kept to devour gladiators to shield them from the arrows fired at them. But he lets Ian, the one who picked the lock to the dinosaur's cage in the first place, take the credit.
- It's him, of all people, who snaps Roy out of his Heroic BSoD over Durkon's death (in his own way, of course). And on an interesting side note, this may be Belkar's first CMoA that doesn't incorporate any violence at all.Belkar: (after Roy suggests them all quitting outright) Hey, uh, quick question: If I'm experiencing intense nausea right now, do you think that's due to the blood lossor because your whining is making me want to puke?
Haley: Belkar, I don't think this is the best time for
Belkar: (now genuinely angry) No, no, I think I have something to say to Captain Wallow-Pants here! Do you have any idea how bloody useless we were while you were taking your dirt nap?! The redhead can't lead anyone out of a wet paper bag, and I almost vomited myself to death because you weren't there to keep me from doing something stupid! And the other half was just as bad, from what I hear; Elan couldn't see past some lame subplot, Durkon sat on his thumbs, and I think the elf almost went nuts. So you're gonna pussy out now and "sound the alarm"?! Sure, whatever. I mean, that bell got rung when a billion hobgoblins stomped up and down on Hinjo's face. And I don't hear the cavalry yet.
Belkar: Now, the get-the-hell-out-of-here part, though, I can get behind. Try to lay low. Bet you can hide on your ditzy girlfriend's cloud. Bring your sister, too. And hey, maybe some other hero will pop out of nowhere to stop this Snarl thing at the last minute. Who knows? It would probably make a better story than this one.
Belkar: (now giving a Death Glare to a furious Roy) Of course, it would mean that your best friend got horribly killed for absolutely no damn reason at all. Me, I'm a heartless little bastard. I can shrug that kind of thing off. But you seem like that might bother you at some point down the road.
- Despite having recently been drained of most of his blood, Belkar thinks quickly enough to hide in Girard's sarcophagus to protect from the collapse of the pyramid. Even more unbelievably, he brings the rest of the Order with him. Considering the circumstances, that means it had to be a reflexive response. He reflexively saved the lives of Roy, Elan and Haley. Even if he could excuse it as just trying to save Mr. Scruffy (being carried by Haley), that's still remarkably quick thinking for Belkar, especially regarding the circumstances.
- Belkar tames and rides a goddamn Allosaurus! Even more awesome, as Roy points out, this involves actually acting like a ranger, which Belkar almost never does. Oh, and the Allosaurus lets Belkar ride on its back because he was nice to it in an earlier strip (he set it free so it could eat its guards and help Gannji & Enor escape).Belkar: BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Flee! Flee before me, worms!
- Belkar being the only person on the team who's aware that Durkon is lying about himself — and he's aware because he has personal experience with character development, and he knows that Durkon has not gone through character development.Belkar: I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun doesn't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days!!
Belkar: And FYI: I spent months trapped behind enemy lines where the only things I was allowed to kill were undead. So I've gotten pretty good at it, really.
- Belkar, being unable to shout for Roy because of Possessed!Durkon's Silence spell, turns around, activates some kind of aura, and goes out fighting, with the possibility that he survived a fall off of a massive cliff. That aura? It's the Protection from Evil spell from his clasp. While it protects Belkar from several of his opponents abilities, it also hurts Belkar nearly as much. As he needed to activate it himself, that takes serious anti-heroic willpower.
- When the comic finally cuts back to him after he gets thrown out of the temple, Belkar once again frustrates legions of guessers about his death prophecy by displaying foresight and planning of all things! Also on that page: he recognizes a vampiric smoke from the Durkon/Malack fight, and then that Malack's staff has a "speed up vampyrification" spell.
- Thanks to Mr. Scruffy activating his Protection from Evil charm, Belkar wakes up during a fight where everyone else in the party is incapacitated, and proceeds to go berserk on the vampires while burning from his own enchantment. Special mention must be given to Belkar tackling "Ponchula" and stabbing her in the neck with enough force to decapitate her in one swipe of his dagger. Oh, and while it's Durkon who actually lowers the Anti-Life Shell, Belkar is the one to finally kill "Durkula".
- Taking command of the Dwarven group as leader and making Hilgya back down when she questions it.Hilgya: Uh, excuse me? Who died and made you boss?
Minrah: Me! On both counts, Miss Cleric-Who-Can't-Resist-Domination-Magic!
- When she sees a vampire shift away Durkon's Cousin's Brother-in-law's Niece's Fiancé, she immediately begins giving the undead a beating. She later is shown to have beat the vampire into submission and drags her under the sun to be incinerated.
- Saving Durkon from imploding with Thor's Might and freakin' Durkon's Mjolnir! And then the next strip reveals that she and Durkon took steps to protect her from Redcloak's magic, having been prepared in case negotiations broke down.
- When Redcloak states that he's willing to make a bet on the next world being better for goblins (disregarding the fact that the Dark One would not survive to the next world or brushing off the possibility that the next world would not have goblins or other humanoids at all), Minrah calls him out for putting the potential goblins of the future over the ones he's the current leader of.Minrah: You're just a...a big phony, talking about stuff like equality and justice to make yourself feel better about shoving them off a cliff! I don't think you really care about them - you just feel bad about not caring!
- As she and Durkon flee from Redcloak and Xykon, Minrah gets the idea to trick Team Evil into thinking they ran into the tunnels of Monster Hollow, while she and Durkon actually meld themselves into the stone. It's good enough to fool both Xykon and Oona (although Redcloak would've figured it out if not for his boss).
- It's notable that Blackwing never seems to truly fear for his own life, sans when V tried to send him out against a Death Knight. He's faced down Qarr, Laurin, and even Xykon. All beings who are plenty more powerful than him, yet the only response we ever get from him is his usual adorkable snarkiness or him being a Drama Queen for the hell of it.
- Blackwing's Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of V's soul splice arc, as he shows up exactly when his particular skill set as a super-advanced flying stealth dinosaur, is exactly what O-Chul and V need to save the day. The fact that he wasn't able to drop the phylactery into the rift doesn't detract.
- Blackwing's status as Morality Pet to V makes him a larger problem for the IFCC than anything else we've seen so far, and through his fight with Qarr he deduces as such almost immediately, while still dodging disintegration rays and remarking on his proud status as a "super advanced flying stealth-dinosaur".
- "BIRD TO THE FACE!" Without command from V, Blackwing takes it upon himself to take a shot at Laurin and grabs a "bauble," i.e. one of Laurin's Ioun stones (orange, +1 caster level), in the process. That was not a poor decision.
- The pets are being overwhelmed by a swarm of rats and Blackwing can't get V to respond to his Empathic Bond. So, while Mr. Scruffy fends off the rats, Blackwing finds a magic scroll and weaponizes Magic Misfire to blow up the room and all the rats.Blackwing: Hmmm. OK. Well...the bad news is that this is a spell of Locate Creature - which is a completely useless spell in the current situation. The good news is that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.
- Mr. Scruffy managed to survive Azure City's occupation, alone, for months before Belkar found him. Pretty impressive for a formerly pampered housecat.
- Mr. Scruffy manages to take down a caster, giving Belkar trouble during his badass rampage through the Greysky City Thieves Guild.
- Mr. Scruffy straight up disembowels a gladiator that was threatening Belkar, finishing the guy so fast he didn't even realize what happened.
- While flying with Roy's Belt of Giant Strength, saying how he needs to get it where it can do some good, all while Roy is having a rough time in a duel with Thog, Blackwing drops it...on Mr. Scruffy, who is currently cornered by Sir Scraggly. Mr. Scruffy then sends Sir Scraggly flying through a hole in the wall.
Bloodfeast the Extreme-inator
- Bloodfeast the Extreme-inator becomes possibly the most destructive asset the Order has ever had, tearing through Empire of Blood troops like they were nothing and even going toe to toe with ANOTHER Allosaurus and absolutely owning it by tearing out its neck.Elan: See? SEE?? I told you dinosaur rides were awesome!
- A fridge moment of awesome for Bloodfeast comes up in #1014. Even after being polymorphed into a small lizard he's still willing to attack a vampire. While that's cool enough on its own, what makes it a truly awesome moment is that he actually succeeds in damaging the vampire - No small feat given a vampire's high armor class and huge damage reduction. The surprised vampire even comments on it and decides to leave early instead of making sure all the animals die.
- In Start of Darkness, Xykon defeats Dorukan while giving an evil "World of Cardboard" Speech, followed by his brutal crushing of Redcloak's will. One line that stands out in light of some of Redcloak's claims of being the one who is manipulating Xykon:Xykon: Oh, Redcloak. Don't confuse not caring with not knowing.
- Another one in that: Xykon has the Monster in the Darkness charmed to eat Redcloak and spit out the phylactery if Redcloak ever betrays him. So Redcloak's control over Xykon, as mentioned in the his section, may not be as ironclad as he'd like to think it is.
- Xykon ends the rather one-sided duel on the zombie dragon by explaining three things Roy failed to consider... Brutal, yet awesome.
- Moral Event Horizon, and yet are just so...stylish. Particularly the bouncy ball bit (especially with his ending line), the crown, and him casually snarking at Soon mid-battle along with other more brutal moments in the prequel book Start of Darkness, like his slaughter of Lirian and Dorukan. Xykon's Moments of Awesome tend to be things that also cross the
- Xykon mopping the floor with V.
- For one, the sight of a super-powered elf storming his domain amuses him.Xykon: Someone tell the TeeVo to cancel movie night — I think we've got our own action-comedy-drama here.
- He then casual energy drains V, who laughs it off — but not the soul splices, causing them to lose their Epic Level spell slots. When V tries to Dimension Anchor Xykon chuckles, "Wait, YOU are trying to stop ME from escaping? Someone got two scoops of self-esteem in their raisin bran in the morning!"Xykon: Oh, you poor dumb elf. Don't you get it? Be a vampire, be a ghost, or an immortal with a paint-by-numbers portrait in the rec room. Hell, even a brain-in-a-jar, in a pinch. Anything to avoid the Big Fire below. So what this tells me is you're channeling the "raw unlimited energies" of two chumps who didn't have the balls to stay in the game. So MAXIMIZED Energy Drain, dumbass!
- He then ends the fight by crushing the elf with a rock. Followed by this absolutely terrifying monologue:Xykon: I used to think spells equaled power too, back when I was alive. I've learned a lot since then. You know what does equal power? Power. Power equals power. Crazy, huh? But the type of power? Doesn't matter as much as you think. It turns out, everything is oddly balanced. Weird, but true. For example...(reaches out and puts the currently invisible Vaarsuvius in a choke hold) ...right now, power takes the form of a +8 racial bonus to Listen skill checks. So, Uncle Xykon, what's the moral of the story?
Xykon: A big pile of spells isn't enough when the other guy has a big pile of spells AND the strength to crush your windpipe with his bare phalanges.
Xykon: And they died happily ever after. The end.
- For one, the sight of a super-powered elf storming his domain amuses him.
- "That eye? That's your individual Idiot Tax."
- At the beginning of Start of Darkness, Redcloak displays the powers of the Crimson Mantle by instantly killing a Sapphire Guard paladin (splitting the paladin's head open while he was still alive) to save his brother.
- Redcloak got passing grades in Chem. So far we've seen him use titanium, chlorine, osmium and silicon elementals. Made better by the Demon Roaches: "He besieged me with SCIENCE!"
- Redcloak's finest moment comes in "Change of Direction". Also interesting in that it's a rare villainous example (as in, not leading to a complete HeelFace Turn) of a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
- Redcloak's casual anti-humanism, which also Foreshadows the upcoming clashes between him and Tsukiko; even if it was mainly due to Redcloak being a dick.Redcloak: Oooo, I'm sorry, this party is invitation only, and you? You're not on the list. If you have any questions, you'll have to take it up with my assistant. His name is "15d6 Points of Whirling Death for Humans".
Tsukiko: Fine. Where can I find him?
Redcloak: Right here. Blade Barrier.
Tsukiko: AAAH! HEY! I am SO telling Xykon about this!
Redcloak: Yeah? Don't forget to mention the elemental.
Tsukiko: Huh? Mention what about the elemental?
Chlorine Elemental: KILL ALL HUMANS.
- Redcloak gets one along with Xykon when the two manage to defeat the entire Sapphire Guard, who are in ghostform, all by themselves, with Redcloak working out how to do so using negative energy to turn them.
- Handing Hinjo his ass with one spell is a huge heads up, not only to the party but also to the readers, that for all the bowing and scraping he does for Xykon, Redcloak is not someone to underestimate.
- "We stand on the precipice of a new Golden Age of goblin civilization, my friends, and it all starts right here, right now." The subversion of Know When to Fold 'Em is an added bonus.
- Nightmare Fuel. Redcloak's effortless defeat of the Azure City Resistance, with "implode" as additional
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Tsukiko and the Nightmare Fuel that follows. And the real kicker here? Redcloak controls Xykon. Not the other way around like the entire rest of the comic would have you believe. Every insult, humiliation, and frustration Redcloak has suffered is one he allowed to happen so he could maintain his subtle control over Xykon's actions. And then he goes and proves it by outright telling Xykon he killed her and basically manipulating the truth so that he leads Xykon to the conclusions he wants him to make without even having to lie. And very, very subtly, when Redcloak murders Tsukiko, he watches the whole thing, not even blinking or flinching as he stares straight at the Gory Discretion Shot. That alone shows how committed he is to the cause. Directly followed by his
- Tries to hit lightly. This was probably when most people realized that there was a good reason Xykon and Redcloak kept the Monster around despite his "unique" personality.
- "STOP!". The sheer force of the Monster's shout coupled with the genuine anger on his face terrifies the crap out of both Belkar and Haley, both of whom immediately realize that the Monster in the Darkness is not to be trifled with.
- The Monster stomping the ground. Holy shit.
- Heartwarming, he ''actually remembers O-Chul's name and shows genuine concern for the Paladin when he goes off to fight Xykon on his own to help save Vaarsuvius. In a mixture of this and
- the Monster saves O-Chul and Vaarsuvius' lives by teleporting them both away in time. Even better, this instance of magical teleportation serves as a massive shock both In-Universe and out, helping remind everyone that the Monster's powerset isn't just physical, but arcane, opening up a whole new can of Epileptic Trees. And then, a few strips later,
- In a surprising show of intelligence, he comes up with an extremely clever way to stop Xykon from killing "Mr. Stiffly"'s friends.MitD: Which of these sounds like the hero you need to worry about: The last paladin of a conquered city, beaten but never broken, sworn to stop the evil lich who wiped out his holy order — or some random fighter guy you already snuffed once?
Redcloak: Yeah, but you're forgetting that Greenhilt has some...thing...about his father, I think? Crap.
Xykon: Weird as it is, I think the dim bulb has a point.
- It turns out that the MitD is actively working against Xykon and co.: while staying behind and marking off doors to keep track of which parts of the tomb they've searched already, he also marks off some doors they haven't searched, possibly preventing Xykon and Redcloak from finding the gate at all. The Monster has officially gone full Wild Card.
- Despite not being high-level enough to be much of a direct threat, an unnamed hobgoblin wizard gives Haley an Oh, Crap! reaction with nothing more than a cantrip by using it to summon backup.
- is broken on a remarkably frequent basis, Tsukiko gets her Moment of Awesome by using Electric Orb to break the third wall for a change.Haley: Hey, that's not a core sp— (ZZZZZZZZZZ POW) In a comic where the fourth wall
The Linear Guild
- Nale's first plan goes off almost without a hitch and only fails because Haley made a nearly impossible shot.
- Nale manages to lure the Order to Cliffport under the pretense of kidnapping Roy's little sister, while in reality the whole trip and ensuing battle is an elaborate plan to isolate Elan, switch places with him, frame him for the mass homicides Nale himself had been committing for several weeks prior, have him imprisoned, and supplant him among the Order as they leave town for another country. Just so you know, it's executed to perfection. Here's the definitive scene.
- And he was going to kill Haley too, after seducing her. He almost pulled it off, even after Elan came crashing back to save the day, by magically manipulating Elan to think that she was the Linear Guild's spy, temporarily turning them against one another.
- When he finally skips the complexity he proves himself as an actual dangerous mastermind, such as when he kills Malack in #906, and reveals that he's finally gained some Genre Savvy. Ya do your old man proud.Nale: You may have been thinking about killing me for the past two years — but I've been thinking about killing you since I was nine years old! I murdered your children as a practice run! Now BURN, you insufferable leech!
- CMoF, but Zz'dtri returns after several real life-years by invoking Parody Retcon on his resemblance to Drizzt.Zz'dtri: (as they hurl a spell at Vaarsuvius) Parody is protected speech. Mixed with
- A super-pissed-off Thog giving Roy a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the gladiator pit. He may have lost in the long run, but he did beat a high-leveled main character so bad that it actually made Roy, Determinator that he is, give up and try to surrender...and then Thog beat him even more with the crumbling stadium's own rubble.Thog: STOP! TALKING!
- Sabine gets one while cleaning up the TV she broke after seeing Nale's death, quietly telling V (who was still in Hell at the time) all she can about Tarquin, Laurin, and likely Miron. That also means when V told everyone to attack Miron first earlier in order to trigger his contingency spell, it was likely because Sabine told the elf about it. Not only is it great revenge, it doesn't put her at risk to get it.
- Just when the Order gets surrounded by the dwarves the High Priest of Hel has turned into vampires with little hope of survival once Vaarsuvius drops the Forcecage surrounding them, Hilgya Firehelm makes her re-appearance, distracts the vampires long enough for the Order to destroy most of the vampires, and contributes with a Turn Undead that makes the few that attack her run away before they are destroyed.
- She also gets another later on when she unleashes an Empowered Flame Strike on the HPoH and his lackeys, which is so hot that one vampire can be seen dying in the background despite being several feet away from ground zero.
The Vector Legion
- Tarquin laying it all out: even if Elan defeats him, overthrows his empire, and slays him, Tarquin still wins, by sheer virtue of the awesome story that will result that will immortalize him as a legendary villain remembered for all time. And the real kicker is that once Elan runs away in horror at the realization, the final panel is of Tarquin calmly sipping his drink, basking in the moment.Tarquin: If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend.
- Various scenes showing how Genre Savvy he is, including having actually competent guards. Moment of Awesome with a side order of hilarity, there.
- "Parental Insight" contains two: First is him revealing he knew Elan, Haley, and Vaarsuvius were in cahoots with Roy, Belkar and Durkon all along, but put the band back together for his own benefit...but not for catching Nale, since there is no chance he has left the city yet, or even the palace. How does Tarquin know this? As the strip's title says, parental insight...and because he got a Ring of True Seeing for his birthday. Cue an invisible Nale shitting himself as Tarquin smiles at him. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny too.
- Taking on the whole Order of the Stick by himself was pretty cool, but Tarquin's real moment of awesome came here, after Malack gives him a much needed chewing out for wasting time with his own agenda right after telling Malack to hold off on avenging his children for the good of the group. Tarquin apologizes and tells his friend that he is absolutely right, showing a great deal of maturity for a villain (or anyone, for that matter), despite being the biological reason Nale responds to quasi-imagined slights with murder.
- Herd. Of. Freakin' DINOSAURS!Tarquin: Hello, Nale. Walk with me. We have a lot to talk about.
- "What did you think the price for killing my best friend would be?" Made even more awesome and chilling by the fact that he let Nale walk right into this, and gave him every opportunity to stop himself. After all, if Nale didn't want nepotism, charity, pity, protection, or anything from Tarquin, what was left?
- Even as he's hanging from an airship by his hands, Haley (in her own above moment of awesome) shoots two arrows at him. He catches both of them, and then still manages to grab back onto the airship.
- One word: HARM. That single spell completely changed the dynamic of his fight with Nale. Also, notably he follows it up with another damaging spell in what is considered one of the best cleric combos in the game. Guy knows his stuff.
- Malack putting Belkar in his place with minimal difficulty.Malack: Hrrrm. Typical.note
- During his duel with Durkon, he uses his gaseous form to escape a losing battle, allowing Durkon to free Belkar...who has been affected by Malack's vampiric Hypnotic Eyes and immediately attacks Durkon, causing Durkon to waste a couple spell slots and allowing Malack time to heal himself.
- It turns out that as he is a vampire and will live much longer than any of his teammates, he will control all three empires once they die. Tarquin's actually fine with it since it means his empire will continue, all he asked was that Malack get him a bigger statue later on.
- Malack put a backdoor in the Death Ward he and Durkon created together that allowed him to dispel it with a single word, just in case he'd need to fight Durkon. He promptly helps himself to Durkon's blood. Genre Savvy doesn't begin to cover it. And his staff can speed up the vampirification process so he doesn't have to bury those he turns for three days and wait when he's in a rush. Just WOW. The guy is officially as Crazy-Prepared as his boss.
- In strip #903, he gets this with a simple "No" as a supreme jab at Nale's mistake (and his own minor betrayal of Nale for not mentioning that he noticed the Order behind an illusion earlier). Malack is clearly over working with his hated enemy by now.
- O-Chul's performance in the episode of "Dead or Alive?" made an instant Memetic Badass out of the last survivor of the Sapphire Guard. On top of the events in that comic, his captors have apparently been doing this to him for months, and upping the ante each time — and he's still going.
- Tied up and helpless, O-Chul still makes Redcloak look like an idiot:Redcloak: Logic dictates that the simplest solution is the most probable.
O-Chul: And you find the idea that I have some sort of secret knowledge implanted in my brain by the elders of the Sapphire Guard that has been so deeply suppressed that no magical effect can unearth it to be SIMPLER...than the idea that I just don't know anything?
Redcloak: ...I like the way I phrased it better.
O-Chul: No doubt.
- Even when he completely fails, he inspires heroism in others. Also a Moment of Awesome for the people of Azure City.
- This really should be elaborated further. Redcloak was threatening O-Chul that he would throw Azure City citizens into the Snarl if O-Chul didn't give him the information about how Girard's Gate was protected, information which O-Chul did not have. When Redcloak snaps and orders the citizens to be returned to their cells, thinking they'd hate O-Chul for condemning them to their deaths for a measly piece of information, the people instead saw the hobgoblin priest frustrated by O-Chul's refusal to break, and are inspired by his actions to continue resisting their occupiers.
- His ability to inspire friendship in the Monster in the Darkness, and his speech to it/him. The demon cockroaches were desperate to shut him up because it was working! O-Chul was on the verge of inducing a HeelFace Turn with Xykon's most powerful minion.
- Two words: "Smite...Evil." This strip may as well be called " O-Chul Is Awesome". He escapes his cage, uses the bar he broke from the cage as a spear and stabs Redcloak in the eye with it. The goblin tried to Disintegrate him and he took it like a champ - compare this to Roy when he got hit by the exact same spell, who got knocked off his feet. Redcloak retreated, leaving O-Chul with Xykon's phylactery. Most Cleric spells require a Divine Focus, a.k.a. a holy symbol. By ripping out Redcloak's holy symbol (and Xykon's phylactery), he essentially disarmed Redcloak from 95% of his spells. Or in other words, in two attacks, he utterly destroyed a nearly epic-level cleric while naked with an Improvised Weapon.O-Chul: (snatches phylactery) No more spells. (readies spear) No more goblin.
Redcloak: Word of Recall! (disappears, leaving the phylactery)
O-Chul: (looks at the phylactery) ...No more lich, then.
- Xykon is about to strangle V — and guess who looms up behind him in the last panel?
- Furthermore, O-Chul also deserves an honorable mention for helping inspire Character Development in the Monster in the Darkness, as the Monster saving V and O-Chul by teleporting them both away just as Xykon is about to inflict them both with a point-blank Meteor Swarm was only thanks to O-Chul's patience and gentle encouragement for the Monster to engage in self-improvement and reflection. Not bad for someone who has Charisma as his Dump Stat.
- #666 has O-Chul threatening Belkar to gut him with his bare hands. Yes, Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon without the spoon.
- "The War Council" shows just how awesome O-Chul is with the following exchange:O-Chul: It's Xykon's spell list. Or most of it, anyway.
Roy: Are you kidding?!? How did you get this??
O-Chul: One saving throw at a time.note
- How the Paladin Got His Scar is more or less a non-stop one of these, and not only on a purely physical level. It says something of O-Chul that, even as a fighter, he is more of a Paladin than the actual Paladins of the Sapphire Guard and ends up inspiring a lot of people to live up to their better natures.
- The story starts with O-Chul as the last soldier standing against a hobgoblin raiding force, surrounded by the corpses of both friend and foe. The hobgoblins are retreating. And immediately after reporting in, he volunteers for a dangerous mission to investigate the cause of the hobgoblin raids.
- The titular moment of the story. Before Gin-Jun has the opportunity to lead the Sapphire Guard in an attack on the hobgoblins (which would start a bloody war between the two of them), O-Chul challenges him to an honor duel with Hinjo's help, knowing that Gin-Jun would be too proud to refuse. However, O-Chul never intended to actually fight him, he just called the honor duel so that the rest of the Sapphire Guard would come listen to him expose their commander's madness. He even invites an equally zealous hobgoblin general just to demonstrate how similar he is to the very enemy he's sworn to fight against (and that the pretext he has for attacking the Hobgoblins, the Crimson Mantle, isn't even there), and throws away his weapon. When the other Paladins agree with O-Chul, an enraged Gin-Jun delivers the scar-inducing blow...and gets thrown out of the Sapphire Guard for injuring an unarmed civilian, honor duel or not, exactly as O-Chul planned.
- "I heard you the first time."
- She beat the entire Order of the Stick minus Durkon off panel after Roy's "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Miko proves herself able to fight and defeat Redcloak in a duel without any backup or preparation.
- She manages to defeat Hinjo in a straight-up fight after losing her paladin status.
- Calmly shooting down Sabine's offer by walking up to her and snapping her neck.
- Miko may be a crazy Jerkass, but one has got to respect how badass she is. She not only kicks Jirix's head so hard it decapitates him, but it hits another hobgoblin with enough force to kill him too. Then she casually snaps the last hobgoblin's neck while walking past him. And while it also unfortunately allowed Xykon and Redcloak to escape Soon Kim's wrath, her destroying Soon's Gate also makes it all the more difficult for Team Evil to take control of the Snarl. In the end, through Miko's actions, Team Evil's conquest of Azure City is ultimately a Pyrrhic Victory.
- On a similar note to the above, How the Paladin Got His Scar, she calmly snaps Gin-Jun's neck to save Zhou Bo's life.
- Lord Shojo's final words are definitely awesome. Satisfied deadpan snarking on the now fallen paladin who killed you? Awesome beyond words.
- He will stand between any two murderers he wishes. That's what a paladin is.Miko: DIE!
- "I call my proposal, 'Giant Dwarf with a Hammer'."
- He will stand between any two murderers he wishes. That's what a paladin is.
- Soon Kim:
- "Arise, my children. Only the honor of a paladin is unbreakable -- even by death itself. Ghost-martyrs of the Sapphire Guard -- ATTACK!" Man, does Xykon look scared, or what? The way it is delivered adds gallons of extra awesome. It's like something out of The Lord of the Rings.
- Followed by Lord Soon pounding both Xykon and Redcloak into the floor, proving himself to be a bigger danger to them than the rest of the Guard put together. It's pretty much the only time in the comic thus far that we've seen Xykon on the receiving end of a serious ass-kicking.
- Lien, defending Hinjo's docked ship, explains that her parents were fishermen, and that if any hobgoblin approaches she'll use her Blade on a Stick to gut them like the catch of the day. When the hobgoblins fail to be properly intimidated, she follows through by impaling two of them in one go. Her speech was so awesome it named a trope.
- CMoF, Kazumi Kato killing the assassins coming for her and her husband while heavily pregnant. Mixed with
- During Redcloak's attack on the Resistance's headquarters, Thanh tells Niu to escape and get word to Hinjo. He then kills The Mole and singlehandedly charges Redcloak, and even after he's captured by one of the goblin's elementals, tries to goad him into fighting one on one by insinuating that he's afraid of the paladins. It doesn't work, and Redcloak has him killed, but it was still pretty badass. More importantly, he distracted Redcloak long enough for Niu to escape. Sure, Redcloak killed him, but the taunt did make Redcloak pause long enough to monologue at Thanh about how the taunt won't affect him, not realizing that Niu is escaping.
- The unnamed Sergeant and his sister from Good Deeds Gone Unpunished. The Sergeant was confronted by a young boy, the near-feral child of two thieves and murderers, and instead of hanging him as a murderer, or throwing him in prison, or even giving him to an orphanage and forgetting about him, the Sergeant instead chose to adopt the boy, take him to his sister in another part of the country, and work with her to raise this child properly. What's more, they succeded: That child became O-Chul. Everything in his section above only came about because this unnamed soldier and his sister were willing to put in the effort to redeem the delinquent child of two bandits.
- When the Linear Guild tries to recruit the newly-vampirized Durkon after killing Malack.Durkon: Aye...mebbe I haf changed. But tha two o' ye're still tha same old dicks! (brains them both with a single swing)
- Followed immediately by snapping Zz'drti's neck, thus additionally banishing one of the LG's summoned fiends, sending the other to fight the Silicon Elemental, scaring off Nale and Qarr and diving into the fight alongside the Order once more.Nale: What are you doing? I helped you!
Durkon: An' I'm helpin' ye back. By cuttin' down on yer employee overhead.
- "GIVE ME MY STAFF!"
- After it is pointed out the storm on the ship is being caused by Thor, the High Priest uses a simple control weather spell and schools Durkon on theology.
- Even though his actions will destroy the world and enslave all of dwarfkind to Hel you cannot deny it is impressive the level of The Plan he has been running: enforce a tie in the Gods' voting to ensure the demigods have to vote, several of which are willing to vote in favor of the proposal, and when one of them balks down, tying the vote again and putting the destiny of the world in the hands of the dwarven clans, he has already prepared for that by having the priest he vampirized earlier with Malack's staff steal the Teleport Orb bought by Vaarsuvius so that they can teleport to the dwarven clans' meeting and dominate all of them to ensure they are the cause of their own destruction - and fulfilling the prophecy that got Durkon kicked out at the same time.
- "I'm just saying, if I knew my Evil Doom Plan might hinge on me invading a subterranean country, I might not worry too much...about the sun."
- Two words: He. WON. The Order had a number of advantages they don't normally, including intelligence, an actual game plan, appropriate warding spells, and even a surprise extra party member. Vampire!Durkon won anyway. An ultimately short-lived victory, but a victory nonetheless.
- Durkon's mother, as revealed in this Whole Issue Flashback: goes straight from a sweet talk with her infant son about the sky and how his father used to love it to racing to catch a fellow dwarf before he falls down the mountainside, holding him back long enough for others to arrive and pull him to safety, then brushing it off as something any dwarf would have done. Did we mention that she only has one arm, and so that's dedicated solely to holding up the other dwarf, and she doesn't even think about the fact she has nothing to stop her from being pulled over with him? Comes back later as to explain how she lost her arm in the first place, she never let go.
- She knows how to make a good first impression on Hilgya. For bonus points, she says this without changing expression, implying that her tone doesn't change either and then immediately goes to asking if he's on solids and talking about how Durkon loved mashed carrots as a baby.Sigdi: (to Kudzu) Such a sweet baby. I bet yer mam just loves ye to bits, aye? I bet yer ma feels better knowin' thar's someone in yer pa's life who knows how ta take real good care o' ye - just in case she ev'r puts a scratch on 'im again an' yer Granma Sigdi needs ta end her.
Hilgya: [Oh, Crap! expression]
Sigdi: (to Hilgya) Is he on solids yet?
Roy: Wow. I haven't seen a Feint like that since Fencing class.
Haley: (to Durkon) Don't take this the wrong way, but I want to grow up to be your mom.
- In comic #1162, Sigdi continues to show off her badass credentials by marching into battle one-armed against a pair of earth elementals, giving Hilgya a brief but succinct summary of the Mama Bear philosophy, and, in a moment that also doubles as Heartwarming, summoning the entire extended/adopted Thundershield clan to aid the Order in this critical battle.
- As shown in Strip #1169, Sigdi doesn't let being a one-armed old lady stop her from kicking ass.
- It's Played for Laughs, but the moment when we find out just how extensive Sigdi's extended family is. Literally dozens of people who would never have been born if not for Sigdi's sacrifice, who brought in dozens more who would never have cared about Durkon in different circumstances.Unnamed Paladin: Hello, Durkon. I'm your cousin's brother-in-law's niece's fiancé.
- He walks right through a blade barrier to get at the Exarch, without it slowing him down at all. Even with Durkon cutting his speech short it's a pretty awesome moment.
- When the Exarch strikes Logann blind, he refuses to let Durkon heal him, as he's aware that the Exarch is just trying to distract Durkon and buy himself time. He then proceeds to kick ass despite being blind — and able to just knock Dominated dwarves out without killing them.Sigdi: Och, ye grew up to be a good lad.
Logann: When this is over, I will accept any food-based expressions of that sentiment you wish to offer.
- When the law-runes on the council chamber are neutralized, the entire family surges in to dog-pile the Exarch, one of the spellcasters uses Bull's Strength to preempt his attempts to fight back, dragging him into the beam of sunlight from the hole Durkon put in the roof, holding him down until he's reduced to ash.Sigdi: Funny thing aboot tha law...Nothin' left ta bind ye...means nothin' left ta hide behind.
- The entire group instantly shoots down Hel's idea she could still somehow win with her one surviving vampire she can actually do anything with through sheer intelligence and pragmatism: they instantly put the entire council put under watch by soldiers with silver blades and holy water, have wards against mental influence put on them at all times, and just to be sure put together a party to hunt down the surviving vampires just in case.
- Strip #894 is a posthumous awesome moment for Girard Draketooth. The final room of the pyramid contains nothing but a huge stone block with the inscription "Sorry. Your Gate is in another pyramid." Which of course means that the first reaction of someone who finds it will be to go and look elsewhere. Instead, it's a double-bluff. The Gate is actually within the block, encased in lead so as to be undetectable by magic.
- One for Serini Toormuck: her gate also serves as Kraagor's Tomb, and it is actually formed by countless tunnels built within a cliff side, with only one door leading to the actual gate. Each door leads to an area that contains some of the strongest monsters she could find, reflecting Kraagor's belief in the power of physical might, and according to Oona, they always come back after her clan hunts some of them. Despite the proximity of a native Bugbear clan that often delves into the tomb, her gate's defenses are amongst some of those that delayed Team Evil longer than any other gate before other than Dorukan's Gate, which had magical defenses that even Xykon didn't want to personally touch that left them stuck for several months. This includes the city that was defended by an entire army, an elite Paladin organization, a group of adventurers and the ghost-martyrs of the Sapphire Guard's past. And just how strong are the monsters guarding the place? From the mouth of the lich himself, strong enough that Xykon, an epic level undead sorcerer lich, actually gained experience from some of them.
- And it gets better: As of the latest strips, it would appear that each of the dungeons exist in an extradimensional space, with a very subtle and hard-to-detect spell-trap teleporting intruders into the dungeon. The only way to actually access the Gate is to disarm the portal trap, and the obvious challenge of the mega-dungeon makes it extremely unlikely that anyone would think to look for such a trick. In effect, the entire dungeon is a shell game.
- And while it's mitigated somewhat by how Serini is unfortunately Locked Out of the Loop regarding The Plan and the Dark One, after she finally appears in the comic and not only succeeds in lying to two paladins while literally standing in front of them, but she delivers a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech to both O-Chul and Lien where she calls them out on both their Honor Before Reason and Protagonist-Centered Morality regarding the non-PC races.
Crew of the Mechane
- Julio Scoundrél:
- Preventing Tarquin from getting back on the ship through some rough handling.Bandana: ROUGH SEAS AHEAD, PEOPLE!
- Bandana proves why she deserves to be acting captain of The Mechane when she convinces the crew to end Andi's mutiny against her, gets Andi to finally acknowledge her as captain (if only because she realizes how screwed she is), and helps Roy knock the last ice giant attacking them off the ship with a well timed turn. She then continues to prove why she's more qualified to be captain than Andi by getting the ship out of the mess her leadership got the ship stuck in. Bonus points since she did so by releasing the ship's mounted weapons to give it enough bouyancy to make it over the mountains, something she knew she could do since she grew up on the ship with her family and learned all about it from them unlike Andi.
- Preventing Tarquin from getting back on the ship through some rough handling.
- The IFCC (Inter-Fiend Coordination Commission)'s entire lineup so far. Basically singlehandedly getting a character to cross the Moral Event Horizon, have him/her know (s)he's doing so by taking this, and generally reaching full Magnificent Bastard status in a rather short time...And while the temptation itself is all about a very nasty goal, they then proceed to pull out an interdimensional TV set and watch what transpires — revealing how deep their Magnificent Bastard status really is, while quickly becoming a comic foil to the very dramatic scenes to follow. The best moment is when the IFCC explain to the character that they have an alternative way to get what they want without crossing the Moral Event Horizon, and then proceed to explain why they will most likely cross it anyway.
- The Snarl's first "real" appearance in the comic. Terrifying, and awe-inspiring.
- #952 reveals that the horrible storm the boat is going through is Thor's work, meaning he likely has figured out what Hel's up to already and is trying to stop her High Priest from reaching the dwarven lands. This actually gives the High Priest an Oh, Crap! moment and makes Durkon smirk in triumph.
- Thor's little secret turns out to be a hidden compartment under the statue of him in the temple...which appears to contain Mjolnir.Durkon: "Death an' destruction." Tha's wha Odin's prophecy said I'd bring wit me when I came back home. Turns out me whole life were shaped by tha, an' I dinnae ev'n know it. But now I know. An' I already brought so much death ta so many. So I say it's aboot time fer some destruction.
- In #1170, Thor manages to swindle Hel out of every soul who died dishonorably in the past year and sabotage her efforts to aid her forces in battle in one fell swoop, and when Hel forces him to leave Loki comes in with the souls of everyone in the past century. This not only distracts Hel at a critical juncture, but saves countless souls from her in the process AND, presumably, drains her considerably.
- Strip #1139 gives us the first real clue of the insane power and scope of the conflict between the gods and The Snarl. The gods didnt just build a world to contain it, they built millions. And the Snarl just kept busting out and eating one after the other, Seeing the thousands upon thousands of markers floating in the void, each one denoting an entire world forged and consumed, is an incredible testament to the power and endurance of both sides. The gods themselves for having the wherewithal, the means, and the will to shoulder such an undertaking, and the Snarl itself for the raw power needed to challenge such beings for eons on end with no signs of slowing down.
- The rookie officer in Cliffport goes from this, reveals that he is more competent than most here, then starts giving orders here, and the others listen. From rookie to unofficial Chief.
- The Oracle:
- You have to have been reading it for a while to understand just how awesome the Oracle really is. Explaining it just cheapens the experience:Welcome to the village of LICKMYORANGEBALLSHALFLINGnote — Founded: Last Week — Pop.: Just Enough
[picture of the Oracle on the sign] No, seriously, give 'em a good once-over!
- And then he tops it by using his foresight to pre-arrange a wizard/cleric duo to show up right after he gets killed and resurrect him. He actually does this for everyone who's predicted to kill him.
- His subsequent handling of Roy counts too:Roy: You're not a cleric, scaly. You couldn't banish me if you tried.
Oracle: True, I'm not a cleric...but ain't it funny how I always seem to have just the right magic item here in my robe? Dismissal!
- You have to have been reading it for a while to understand just how awesome the Oracle really is. Explaining it just cheapens the experience:
- Despite her reservations against fighting, Celia gets a few moments:
- The Ancient Black Dragon gets one of these during her very first appearance.Ancient Black Dragon: I am curious, however...what would happen if we turned the magic off?
Fascinating. It appears you cease to be a mighty wizard and become a fragile pointy-eared monkey. While I?
(seizes V in mid-fall and slams the elf into a cliff)
I am still a dragon.
- V's mate, after seeing him/her/it take down a dragon with ease, stands between V and the children armed only with a stick.
- Crystal's Return.Crystal: I WILL KILL YOU STARSHINE
- Crystal finally gets to take revenge on Bozzok. She does so by punching right through his chest and out the other side, then savagely beating his corpse.Crystal: [smashing through the wall of the house where Bozzok is hiding with Grubwiggler] YOU DID THIS TO ME
- Crystal's Return.
- Grubwiggler gets one for the brief but pointed "The Reason You Suck" Speech he gives to Bozzok.Bozzok: Don't just stand there croaking! Cast a spell or something!
Grubwiggler: ...No. No, I don't think that's in my best interest at this time. I'm sick of your banal little guild's petty intrigues interfering with my magical research. All I want is to be left alone, and I suspect your eventual successor will be more willing to accommodate that desire.
Crystal: WHY DID YOU DO THIS
Bozzok: I'll pay you double! Triple!
Grubwiggler: [preparing a spell] Farewell, Bozzok. You were never as clever as you thought you were.
Crystal: [knocking Bozzok to the ground] LOOK AT ME
Grubwiggler: Teleport. [vanishes with a "pop!"]
- When Roy is getting overpowered by the High Priest of Hel during their fight, Wrecan uses Loophole Abuse to feign a sneak attack on the vampire. As Wrecan himself admits, it's the most he can do to help given the rules of the Godsmoot, but the distraction is enough for Roy to get back in the game.
- Saha Kapoor repeatedly proves herself to be a badass in How the Paladin Got His Scar, but her crowning moment is when she summons an orca to break down a nearby dam, forcing the Sapphire Guard to delay their advance on the hobgoblin town until the next day.
- Julia managed to remove the 25-word limit on Sending and reduced the caster level. Unfortunately, its usage is still limited as a result of her using the Blood Oath connection to piggyback her spell's signal.
- Rich Burlew wanted to do a fundraiser on Kickstarter to see if he could raise enough money to fund the reprint of War And XPs. He wasn't expecting much, thinking that he wouldn't even get the $57,750 he needed, and joking that at least he'll have an excuse as to why he doesn't do another print run. What happened instead blew him, and countless others away. He made the $57,750 within a day and a half, before finally coming to a grand total of $1,254,120 by 14,952 backers. Put in perspective:
- That's an average of about $83.87 per person.
- That's an average of about $40,455.48 per day.
- That's 2,127% funded from the initial goal of $57,750.
- That's the third-ever project to surpass a million on Kickstarter.
- That's the most funded project by a single person (rather than a company), ever, on Kickstarter.
- That's enough to fund a size increased print run for 7 books (whatever a print run is, plus 2000 extra), plus all the included swag.
- That's enough that after taking into account all the swag funding, the print costs, the local taxes, and the postage, Rich actually ran out of ideas on what to spend it all on. He opted for site and comic maintenance, plus some extra for funding assorted projects.
- At the time, that was the second most amount pledged to a Kickstarter project. Admittedly, it has since been surpassed so many times it's not even in the top 10, but it was an accomplishment.
- During the last hour of the kickstarter, fans checking the progress of the kickstarter actually brought down the entire server for Kickstarter.
- For more information, check for Rich's Kickstarter updates (plus an entertaining graph). For details on the amount raised, check to get an in depth look at the funds raised.