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Thousands of ships come from all around the world to barter for fine Southern goods like silk, spices, and video games.
The average temperature for this season is 63° F, with average yearly precipitation of 26.43 inches.
Roy: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a successful Bardic Knowledge check.
- Aerith and Bob: As a result of being a melting pot of ethnicities from all over the Ancient Empire that preceded it, different characters reflect various Asian-esque naming patterns, including Japanese (Shojo, Miko Miyazaki), Chinese (Zhou), Korean (O-Chul, Gin-Jun), Vietnamese (Ho Thanh), and Indian (Saha Kapoor).
- Citadel City: Azure City was a powerful and wealthy city that needed defending even before they discovered a rift to a world-ending monster.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The daimyo of Azure City are known for their rather Byzantine games of courtly intrigue.
- For starters, it's heavily implied that Miko's parents were nobles who were on the action end of an assassin's blade, leaving her an orphan.
- Shojo has to fake his own senility in order to avoid assassination by other nobles.
- Last but not least, a nameless cleric's reaction to the rumor that Hinjo killed Shojo to ascend to the throne is "Politics as usual."
- Descriptive Ville: Azure City is entirely azure.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: It's basically Japan in the D&D setting. There's samurai and ninja and Sabine wears white face paint as a disguise. Although Miko has never heard of this "Japan" Roy speaks of. O-Chul's prequel story reveals that it was once part of a vast empire that absorbed a number of different cultures and ethnic groups, making it a counterpart to much of Asia.
- Far East: Lots of Japanese influence here.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Several of the names, probably to parody the random use of the language "because it's cool" (Lord Shojo being a case in point, since Shojo is Japanese for "girl"note ).
- Land of One City: While bonus content maps show some other towns nearby, the main comic treats Azure City as the only settlement worth mentioning in the region.
- Please Select New City Name: After nearly one year of occupation by the hobgoblins, Azure City is renamed Gobbotopia City.
- Single-Palette Town: It's all varying shades of blue.
- Weapons Kitchen Sink: The soldiers of Azure City use Japanese Katanas alongside Chinese Ji and Greco-Roman tower-shields.
- Would Hurt a Child: The Sapphire Guard Paladins may be various shades of morality, but they won't spare even children in one of their crusades, as shown in Start of Darkness.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: For all of Azure City's denizens, it's either this or the black-gray-white spectrum, with a few aqua green exceptions.
The Sapphire Guard
For Soon Kim, see The Order of the Scribble.
For pets (Mr. Scruffy) and paladin mounts (Windstriker, Argent, and Razor), see Animal Companions.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Soon's rift was small, and capable of being contained in a single sapphire. The Azure City palace was built around this sapphire, with it mounted in the Lord of the City's throne. This allowed the Guard to hide the Gate while also surrounding it with defenses that no-one would think to question, assuming them to protect the Lord.
- Informed Ability: Supposedly the Sapphire Guard is a secret organization, but there are times where it would run around loudly proclaiming its name and mission, particularly in the prequel comics.
- Meaningful Name: With the rift contained in a single gemstone, the Sapphire Guard literally guards a sapphire.
- The Paladin: The Sapphire Guard notably features the archetypical Lawful Stupid paladin juxtaposed with several much more positive examples of Paladins. They work for the Southern Gods to smite evil.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Sapphire Guard used to be exclusively nobility which had upsides, in that it put the city's aristocracy to work defending it from threats, and downsides, in that the Guard was insular and arrogant. O-Chul was the first commoner inducted into the Guard, a move that had a dozen members resign in protest.
- Secret Police: Of a sort. As the Gate is top secret, the order of paladins whose primary duty is to protect that Gate is also a secret. They don't do much actual policing though, at least not in the present day.
- Sins of Our Fathers: In the past, the Guard launched purges of those deemed threats to the Gate. One such purge targeted the bearer of the Crimson Mantle and wiped out the Goblin village he was living in. With his dying words, the bearer passed the Mantle to his acolyte, who would go on to be known as Redcloak. The same Redcloak that leads a huge hobgoblin army to stomp all over Azure City and whose sorcerer lich ally nearly wipes the Guard out.
- Took a Level in Kindness: The Sapphire Guard of the present is a far different beast than the one that was around a few decades ago. Back then, paladins like Miko were the norm and a big reason she turned out the way she did is because she was mentored by the then-commander who was one of the worst. Now, the Guard has mellowed significantly, opened their ranks to commoners, and that same overbearing zeal has made Miko decidedly unpopular.
- Vetinari Job Security: Even after the Guard had nearly provoked a war through their unsanctioned strikes at hobgoblin villages, Shojo immediately rejects the idea that they should be disbanded as their role in protecting the Gate is too important.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Former Sapphire Commander and sovereign of Azure City. Shojo's father, Lord Ronjo, was the first sovereign of Azure City to also serve as commander of Soon Kim's Sapphire Guard. Shojo inherited both titles, but is in no way a paladin nor member of the Sapphire Guard himself (instead, he is a 14th-level aristocrat, a NPC class). He fakes senility to keep the nobility from assassinating him while keeping them in check, and devises complex schemes to get what he wants done without ticking off the paladins and violating their code of honor.
- Anti-Hero: His goal is the preservation of the world, his city and his gate. He helps the heroes to make this happen, but his methods involve lies, manipulation, and subterfuge.
- Apparently Powerless Puppetmaster: He pretends to be senile so to give the impression of being easily manipulated. If one noble or other fails to convince him of something then they assume some other noble got to him first.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted. Despite him being an aristocrat, Belkar states in one strip after Shojo died that he is most probably Chaotic Good. This fits with Shojo's actions in general, and Belkar has no particular reason to lie about it; he's not going to lie if the truth is more insulting.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "What are you?", aimed at Belkar.
- The Chains of Commanding: A more subtle example, but it's clear he had to do a lot of deception and tricks to rule Azure City properly despite the Deadly Decadent Court while keeping the Gates safe. It's implied it wore him down and presumably why he refused to come back to life when Miko killed him. Belkar figures he's happy in the Chaotic Good heaven.
- The Chessmaster: He arranged for the Order to come to Azure without arousing suspicion that he wanted them for a job.
- Consulting Mister Puppet: He regularly pretends to consult Mr. Scruffy for advice.
- Cool Old Guy: Belkar thinks so because he has paladins cleaning up after his cat.
- Deadpan Snarker: His true persona is a dry-witted old man.
- Decoy Trial: He staged one to have the Order traverse an entire continent on foot to offer them a job. The jury is Roy's father.
- Dirty Old Man: Tells Hinjo in a bonus comic "not forget to knock some honey up" and offers some racy scrolls if there are any problems. At Shojo's funeral Sangwaan comments that Shojo would often look at her breasts.
- Famous Last Words: Possibly invoked — when it appears he's about to die, he dramatically proclaims "Everything I did, I did for my people." He manages to survive the killing blow long enough to see Miko Fall for it, and add "It appears... not everyone... agrees with your analysis."
- Fatal Flaw: His paranoia is a two-edged sword. It serves him well in avoiding assassinations by the city's daimyos, but it also gets him killed, in a roundabout way. His elaborate scheme to get the Order to Azure City relies on deceiving the paladins about his true motives and staging a fake trial. Miko finally loses it when she learns the truth, and murders him. One thinks he would have done better to just send them an invitation.
- Go Out with a Smile: His Famous Last Words are said with a light smile on his face as it means the Gods considered his death an evil act.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Miko kills him by bisecting his torso almost all the way.
- Helpful Hallucination: When he appears to Belkar; it is left unclear whether it is really Shojo's ghost, an illusion created by the Mark of Justice, or a figment of Belkar's feverish imagination.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Shojo's willful deception of the paladins gets him killed. It's confirmed in the commentary from "War and XPs" that, while Shojo is portrayed sympathetically, no one forced him to use deception to attain his goals, and when the secret got out, he paid the price for his actions.
- Killed Off for Real: A cleric used Resurrection on him and confirmed the spell is working properly, but Shojo stays dead. Belkar theorizes this is because he is at peace in Chaotic Good heaven, that he would have likely died of old age soon anyway, and that he had no reason to return to the world just to face arrest and imprisonment. He's not coming back.
- Morality Pet: His nephew Hinjo. Shojo cares deeply for Hinjo and worries about how Hinjo will handle the pragmatic choices that may come with ruling a city with a Deadly Decadent Court. Furthermore, when Hinjo calls him out on lying to him about the senility, it's the only time we see Shojo regret his deception.
- Mr. Exposition: His initial role is to deliver a lot of backstory through the tale of the Order of the Scribble. And he knows it, too:Shojo: Hey! Who's the wizened old man dispensing valuable plot points here? You? Didn't think so. Now pipe down!
- Nephewism: Engaged in this with Hinjo. Apparently, Shojo focused so much on running the city when he was younger he didn't make any time to sire an heir. He tells Hinjo not to make that mistake and offers him a few racy scrolls if he needs them.
- Not So Different:
- From Miko, the woman who kills him. Both of them are commented by the Giant that they believe themselves above the law.
- Also invokes this trope by name when he (or the hallucinated version of him, whatever you want to call it) speaks to Belkar during his Mark of Justice fever dream.
- Obfuscating Insanity: He fakes senility to make others think he is easily controlled and thus avoid assassination.
- Properly Paranoid: He took the Improved Paranoia feat 5 levels ago in order to survive assassination attempts. If nothing else, it's easy to see why he makes the decisions he does.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He believes that Soon Kim's oath is more detrimental to the Sapphire Guards' intended role than helpful. This is given further weight when it turns out that, for decades, the Sapphire Guard have been wrong about the true position of Girard's Gate.
- Spirit Advisor: When he appears to Belkar; it is left unclear whether it is really Shojo's ghost, an illusion created by the Mark of Justice, or a figment of Belkar's feverish imagination.
- To Be Lawful or Good: An interesting take on the topic. In essence, Shojo's character arc in the story is based on the idea that he decided Good was more important than Law and that Soon Kim's oath was pushing the Sapphire Guard into Lawful Stupid territory. So he secretly hires the Order of the Stick to do what the oathbound paladins under him cannot. This is helped by the fact that he has always been, as far as we know, on the opposite side of the Ethical axis to Law. In an unusual play with the trope, the downside of this is shown when his deceptions run him afoul of Hinjo and Miko, the latter of whom kills Shojo for his deceptions.Shojo: I don't have the luxury of putting Soon Kim's obsolete morality ahead of the safety of this city. It's all well and good for you paladins to stick to your convictions, but if I make a mistake, half a million citizens pay for it.
- Unreliable Expositor: An apparently unwitting example; it's become increasingly clear as the strip has progressed that the information he gives the Order about the Snarl is at the very least heavily flawed and incomplete, if not outright inaccurate.
Alignment: Lawful Good, at least until her Fall
A dutiful and powerful paladin of the Sapphire Guard whose conviction is, perhaps, too great. Reared in a monastery, she'd taken a few levels of monk before becoming a paladin.
- The Ace: She might be too blind to think straight, but she is the most powerful physical fighter yet seen, capable of taking down the entire Order of the Stick with only Windstriker at her side. Even Fallen, she's stronger than Hinjo, who's a solid paladin in his own right.
- Action Girl:
- The most powerful (living) paladin of the Sapphire Guard. She defeated the entire Order (albeit without Durkon, and Roy didn't have a sword) twice, with only her horse. She single-handedly defeated Redcloak, who would have died without Xykon's intervention — Redcloak, who curb-stomped Hinjo, the second-or-third most powerful paladin in the Sapphire Guard, and according to Durkon, could have done the same to Elan even when low on spells. And even without her paladin powers, she manages to put up a good fight against both Roy and Hinjo. She once decapitated Jirix with a kick and killed a second goblin mook in the process.
- In the O-Chul backstory, she beats O-Chul in a hand-to-hand fight and casually snaps the neck of her recently impeached commander when he breaks the rules of an honorable duel by attacking a third party.
- Alliterative Name: Miko Miyazaki.
- Anti-Hero: She's willing to kill evil beings in cold blood, but only evil beings. Her ability to define evil beings, on the other hand, is somewhat... iffy.
- Anti-Villain: After she goes insane, she kills Shojo in a fit of knight-templarism.
- Believing Their Own Lies: One of Miko's critical flaws is she invents justifications for her actions, and refuses to contemplate for a single second that they might simply be invention. This is, predictably, what causes her Fall; she would rather kill the defenceless Shojo rather than accept even for a moment that she's fallible.
- Big Damn Heroes: Snaps the neck of Gin-Jun, saving O-Chul's life.
- Black and White Insanity: Miko built on this trope, growing increasingly delusional over the course of the story arc. As her insanity increases, it changes her from a mere Knight Templar into a total Windmill Crusader — handwaving even the fact that the Gods have stripped her of her paladin powers.
- Broken Bird: Discovering her liege lord was faking senility and working behind the paladins' backs and then losing her paladinhood hit her really hard.
- Broken Pedestal: Miko's pedestal for Shojo breaks when she discovers he's faking his senility. She reacts... violently.
- Brought Down to Badass: Losing her paladinhood doesn't seem to affect her combat ability too much. The biggest hit she takes is no longer being able to summon Windstriker.
- Comically Missing the Point: In "Dirt Farm": "The proper term is 'smite evil'..."Roy Greenhilt: It's like she has that monk class ability that lets you jump as far as you want, only to her, it applies to conclusions.
- The Comically Serious: She's serious as a heart attack about everything, even mattress tags.
- Death Equals Redemption: Defied. While she was specifically trying to gain redemption to be restored to the paladin class, in her dying moments, Soon's spirit explains why and how she failed at this, specifically saying that it does not grant her redemption because redemption requires she at acknowledge she was wrong and work to atone.
- Deconstruction: Miko is intended as a commentary and deadpan parody on people who play Lawful Good characters as Lawful Zealous. This becomes especially clear when she's contrasted against other Lawful Good characters in the comic, such as Hinjo and Roy.
- De-Power: Her immediate punishment for killing Lord Shojo is losing her status as a paladin and its associated bonuses.
- Detect Evil: Tries and fails to detect any evil in the Order. Belkar, who is evil, blocks the ability with a lead sheet, and sues her for it.
- Determinator: Never ever gives up in her eternal quest to smite evil (or rather, whoever she considers to be evil).
- Dramatically Missing the Point: "Fallsville, Population: 1". After losing her paladinhood for cold-bloodedly murdering her liege lord, instead of considering that this may have been an incorrect thing to do, she assumes that, somehow, the gods are doing this to test her faith.
- Dual Wielding: A dai-sho (katana and wakizashi).
- Egocentrically Religious: She truly believes that the gods have a special purpose for her.
- Fallen Hero: Literally, as she eventually loses her paladin powers. Played with it at the same time, as she never turns to evil. She keeps trying (and failing) to determine what's right.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Bisection.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Hayao Miyazaki
- Flanderization: Her jumping to conclusions. While her initial fight with the Order is arguably an example of this, and there are a couple of early gags of her Comically Missing the Point, it wasn't presented as an especially dominant trait during her initial extended period in the comic (strip #s 199-298), never cited as one of the reasons why the Order hated her so much during this period. Neither the phrase "jumping to conclusions" nor anything like it is ever even mentioned in connection to her during this period. When she returns to the comic (after an absence of 80 strips), she's jumping to wrong conclusions all the time, always in ways that seriously, disastrously affects the plot. From then on, it's the only way she affects the plot. This now dominant trait of hers is Lampshaded by Roy by implying that this has always been so typical of her.
- Foil: O-Chul; Miko was created from the ground up to be the absolute wrong way to play a Paladin, while O-Chul was described by the Giant as "everything right about the paladin".
- Freudian Excuse:
- Reading between the lines suggests that Miko's parents may have been murdered in Azure City's extremely nasty noble power games (she reveals she was noble-born, but orphaned in an early strip). Given that There Are No Therapists, and lacking any information on whether Miko's demonstrated lack of friends is her own fault or not (did she have a swelled head to start, or was she still traumatized by her life's events and rejected by her peers due to any issues that derived from this, causing her to double down on her devotion to her gods?), and the fact that her own organization dealt with her issues by constantly sending her far away, and Miko's actions start to make a lot more sense. Even her Flanderization makes sense in this assessment, in that she encounters the Order, who are Good, but not in a way her deeply rigid idea of Good could understand, and the fallout from this encounter and the fact that life seems to support them instead of smite them unhinges her even further.
- The O-Chul backstory comic reveals she spent years learning under Gin-Jun, who is arguably even more of an insane fanatic (albeit less-dangerously placed) than she would turn out to be.
- Good Is Not Nice: She is wholly committed to the goal of smiting evil and protecting her home....and she is not nice.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: She gets torn in half by the explosion of the Sapphire. Ouuuch. Unsurprisingly, she dies not long afterward.
- Healing Hands: As a paladin, this is one of her skills. Belkar jokes that Roy would love to have her use that skill on him.
- Hero Antagonist: In the commentary, Rich wanted to know if he could pull off a Lawful Good character who is an antagonist. Miko opposes the Order and hampers their progress, but she also helps the dirt farmers without hesitation, helps to organize an evacuation of the inn when the danger appears, goes back into the inn to make sure there were no stragglers, attacked the Order as harshly as she did because her information gathering had yielded information on their evil counterparts, their genuine bad behavior (the flumphs, Belkar's actions in the barbarian guild, the weasel thrown down the troll/ogre's gullet), and certain extenuating circumstances (the crown causing its wearer to register as strongly evil). Later on, she makes life difficult for the Order again by killing Shojo — but again, she did it because she genuinely believed she was in the right to do so.
- Honor Before Reason: Played with. In the battle with the ogres, she looked like she walked into the ogre camp and alerted the entire group in order to have a fair fight, but it was just an excuse to clump them all together so the spellcasters could nuke them more easily. However, when Belkar was raising havoc in Azure City dungeons, rather than call a host of troops to track him down, she let him goad her into fighting him on his terms.
- I Am X, Son of Y:Miko: I am Miko Miyazaki, samurai of the Sapphire Guard, loyal vassal of Lord Shojo, daughter of Eyko, and paladin of the Twelve Gods of the South.
MitD: Neat! It must be hard to fit all that on your business cards, though.
- Inspector Javert: For the entire Order. Borderline between Javert and Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist for Lord Shojo. She had him dead to rights, but went a bit Off the Rails in dealing with him.
- In the Hood: Her initial appearance shows her wearing a traveler's hood, until her face is revealed during her first fight with the Order. This facilitates the Samus Is a Girl of her introduction.
- I Reject Your Reality: Her conviction that she's always right escalates into outright delusion, to the point where she still thinks she's right after the Twelve Gods revoke her paladinhood.
- Ironic Death: She bisected Lord Shojo and later dies of the same cause.
- Jerkass: Whatever your opinion of her is, it can't be denied that she has quite a few sticks up her ass.
- Killed Off for Real: She's bisected, Xs for eyes, when Soon Kim's gate explodes. Tsukiko passes her over when looking for corpses to re-animate. She's not coming back, either resurrected or undead.
- The Kingslayer: Ends up murdering Lord Shojo.
- Knight of Cerebus: Her introduction is the point where the story starts getting serious about its Myth Arc.
- Knight Templar: Overzealous do-gooder that unwitting sails into antagonist territory.
- Lawful Stupid: Believes she is chosen by the Twelve Gods for... something, and therefore everything she does is right. Miko is very quick at jumping to conclusions without ever slowing down to think first.
- Loners Are Freaks: She's not exactly the most social character, she's a massive Jerkass, and she's suffering from a severe case of Black and White Insanity. And that was before she Fell.
- Magic Knight: As a paladin, she has both sword skills and a Holy Hand Grenade or two.
- The Millstone: Vaarsuvius' opinion of Miko. Then again, that's sometimes Vaarsuvius' opinion of anyone other than Vaarsuvius.
- Misery Builds Character:
- Wanted to set up camp in the side of the road when there was a random high-class inn less than 100 feet away. She calls the Order decadent for wanting to sleep there.
- Tells the new High Priest of Thor when offered a seat that standing builds character. (Of course, she also mentions that she had been riding a horse for four days.)
- Molotov Cocktail: Miko creates one out of her cloak and a bottle of dwarven brandy to escape from her force cage.
- Moral Sociopathy: Her morality drives her to behave in very, very destructive ways and then act indignant that people regard them as wrong.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: She favors killing "evildoers" herself over bringing them to justice.
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Miko is introduced as a hooded stranger tracking the Order before catches up to them.
- Never My Fault: Miko is so attached to her perceived status as the Chosen One that she refuses to believe that she can make any mistake. When the gods strip her of her powers for killing Lord Shojo, she immediately decides it wasn't her own fault, but a product of a conspiracy by the Order. When she dies, the spirit of the paladin Soon tells her that her inability to admit responsibility for her deeds is one of the reasons she will die unredeemed.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Twice; first when she kills Shojo, believing him corrupt, and then again by destroying the Gate and thus any chance of victory for the paladins during the Siege of Azure City.
- Not So Different:
- Redcloak points out that her lack of fear due to being a Paladin makes her just as unnatural as Xykon. Though how much of this was his actual opinion and how much was part of Xykon's plan isn't clear.
- Redcloak's accusation about being unnatural also applies to him as much to her, as his immunity from disease and aging is as much a divine gift as her immunity to fear.
- Commentary from the Giant remarks that, despite their clash, Miko and Shojo are very much alike, believing themselves above the law.
- Her reliance on Murder Is the Best Solution also makes her closer to Belkar than she'd ever be willing to admit, despite their opposite alignments.
- Obstructive Zealot: She believes the twelve Gods have a "special mission" for her and utterly and vehemently refuses to listen anyone or anything that doesn't fit her delusion. Even when the twelve gods explicitly disavow Miko by stripping her of her paladinhood and their divine favour.
- Offhand Backhand: Kills a hobgoblin mook with her bare hands without bothering to look at him.
- Paint It Black: In her case, Paint It Tan after her Fall, since her Sapphire Guard uniform is magical and only works for a paladin. Sabine once suggests that she would look sexy in black leather, and gets her neck snapped non-fatally for her trouble.
- The Paladin: This is her class; warrior in service to the Twelve Gods.
- Perpetual Frowner: She's never pleased about anything.
- Pet the Dog: She gets a character scene in a bonus strip where she tries to invite a couple of acquaintances to celebrate the New Year with her, but when they ask her to come with them to a bar, her Black and White Insanity leads her to decry it as a den of sin, which annoys the others enough to withdraw the invitation. She goes back to her quarters, where we see that she has personally prepared a nice dinner for all of them, which she ends up eating alone with her horse. It shows that even as Miko's distance from the other paladins is self-inflicted because of how judgemental and self-righteous she is, she is also deeply lonely because of it, and her holy mount is also her only friend.
- Pride: Miko is so full of herself that she will never question her actions, her judgement, or her belief that she is "special" and has a great and prestigious destiny.Miko Miyazaki: The gods have a plan for me, I know it! I am special, the most powerful paladin in the Sapphire Guard! They wouldn't do this to ME without a reason.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: "Let's just say there's a reason Miko gets picked for long missions. In foreign countries. Which keep her away from home for months at a time." Unlike typical examples of this trope, she is given assignments of actual importance at least.
- Redemption Equals Death: Again, defied. Soon Kim explains that while she kept the Gate out of Evil hands, a true redemption means overcoming what caused her fall in the first place. As she did not acknowledge her own faults or work to correct them, she is denied redemption.
- Samurai: This is her social class, but not her character class. The Order expresses some confusion, though she tries to make the point very clear.
- Samus Is a Girl: The mysterious blue-cloaked, hooded figure tracking down the Order is a girl. Roy knocks off her hood in their first battle and his reaction to the revelation is "wow". He is accused of wanting to "bone" her afterwards.
- Sanity Slippage: She becomes increasingly irrational and impulsive after the Order of the Stick is brought to Azure City. After she kills Lord Shojo, she goes into extreme denial and comes up with crazy (and at times contradicting) theories about the Order of the Stick.
- Sarcasm-Blind: In the words of Shojo, "Good gods, they can teach you how to detect evil, but not sarcasm?"
- Sixth Ranger: She is a Guest-Star Party Member for the Order of the Stick, causing lots of group tension in the process.
- Smite Evil: One of her class abilities is extra damage to evil.
- Sword and Fist: Being a monk/paladin, Miko mixes up her masterclass swordplay with kicks, stunning fists, and the occasional Neck Snap.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: For Belkar, after his jailbreak. Despite working with heroes, Belkar is an evil criminal who is on the run from the law. Of course Miko has to bring him in.
- Tautological Templar: She is convinced that, being the most powerful member of the Sapphire Guard, she must have the Twelve Gods' favor. Therefore, anything she does is right by definition and anything that happens to her including falling from paladinhood is part of the gods' greater plan for her. Later goes into Insane Troll Logic, when Miko determines that because the gods could easily stop her from breaking out of prison but don't, they clearly want her to do so.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Early on, she showed some clever strategy in defeating a band of ogres. She never does anything that clever again, bar maybe escaping Xykon's Forcecage. Instead, the Flanderization of her jumping to conclusions, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, Unwitting Instigator of Doom, etc. Then again, Sanity Slippage is likely a factor.
- Tragic Flaw: Miko's pride is by far her biggest flaw, as it keeps her from questioning her actions or acknowledging the idea that she might be wrong about some rather important things.
- Tragic Hero: She tries to do what's right, but her self-awareness evaporates in the face of her paranoia and zealotry. They lead directly to her death, and her inability to even acknowledge her flaws means she cannot find redemption there.
- Trauma Conga Line: In the span of a couple days she learned of an impending attack on her homeland, learned that her adoptive father-figure had been lying to her her entire life, executed him for treason, learned he was innocent of said treason, lost her powers, lost her homeland, was thrown in prison, and finally died in disgrace.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Lampshaded when she gives her I Am X, Son of Y speech.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Just as the ghost of Soon Kim is about to finish off Xykon, Miko comes in and destroys the gate, allowing Xykon and Redcloak to escape.
- Warrior Monk: Because she was raised in a monastery, she has a few levels of Monk.
- Weapon of Choice: A katana and a wakizashi, although she loses the latter later on. Being a paladin, she is a frequent user of Smite Evil.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She gets hit by several of these speeches. By Roy, and also Redcloak, in a case of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Apparently she gets it a lot. (You'd think she'd take a hint.)
- Windmill Crusader: Her quest to smite evil takes strange turns.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: A minor example, but being the most powerful paladin in the Sapphire Guard clearly went to her head, disconnecting her from reality. Always being far away from Azure City didn't help.
- You Need to Get Laid: Roy says she wouldn't be so uptight if she were regularly receiving "treasure type O."
Nephew and sole heir of Lord Shojo, and therefore the new Sapphire Commander and sovereign of Azure-City-in-Exile. After his uncle's death and Redcloak's conquest of Azure City, he and most of the city's civilian population have fled into exile, and have settled in an abandoned Elven settlement on the Western Continent. He hopes to one day reclaim his home, and leads the remnants of the Sapphire Guard with that goal in mind. A powerful paladin, he is considerably more easygoing and personable than Miko and prefers mounted front-line combat with his wolf, Argent.
- Ambadassador: He's an ambassador before he joins the Sapphire Guard, which is perhaps a reason why he does far better at navigating the world of political scheming and is more affable than most of his fellow paladins.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: He refuses to retreat from Azure City after it has been overrun by hobgoblins, but is convinced by the Order.
- Berserk Button: "NOBODY HURTS MY DOG!!!"
- Can't Catch Up: While he stays back to oversee the refugee fleet, Lien and O-Chul have leveled up.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hinjo tries to stay positive.Lien: Lord Hinjo!! You're-you're alive!
Hinjo: As are you, thank the Twelve Gods. I guess that doubles the current resources of the Sapphire Guard.
- Foil: To Miko. Commentary in the books remarks that Hinjo's presence contrasts with Miko's when Shojo is revealed to be deceiving the paladins. Hinjo's response is of someone "who believes in the law", while Miko's is someone who "believes herself above the law."
- Guile Hero: Hinjo seems to be both intelligent and wise. When he overhears Shojo admit that he's lying to the Paladins, he puts all the pieces together and isn't fooled by Shojo's back-pedaling. Later, he realizes Elan is lying about Kubota's death, but he has Lien search for the body and he doesn't arrest Elan because he lacks evidence. Earlier in the same arc, he promotes Daigo & Kazumi Kato to nobles. It is implied that one of the reasons he did this was because none of the other nobles were trustworthy. While not downright devious, he will bend the rules so that he can accomplish his goals.
- Healing Hands: A paladin power.
- Hero of Another Story: Cut-aways to him after the "Don't Split Up the Party" arc imply that he is having plenty of adventures of his own in the new home for the refugees of Azure City, fighting giant ant-like monsters.
- Honor Before Reason: Not like Miko, but Hinjo is still a stickler for the rules, and his uncle states in a bonus comic that he hopes Hinjo will grow out of this mindset by the time he takes command of Azure City.Shojo: Hinjo has grown up into a good, honorable man — which unfortunately makes him singularly unsuited to the task of governing Azure City and its territories. I'm not worried, though. Give him another ten years of instruction, and his naïve idealism will fall like kobolds before a high-level fighter.
- In Its Hour of Need: Refuses to leave Azure City during Xykon's siege even after the battle is clearly lost, saying he must be there for the city in its hour of need. The Order points out he was there for the city's "hour of need" when the fight started, and that there's nothing to be gained by going down fighting a battle that he can't win.
- Innocent Innuendo: He never, ever notices the humor involved in his junk.
- Internal Reformist: Much like O-Chul, his first encounters with the Sapphire Guard during the events of How the Paladin Got His Scar cause him to decide it's desperately in need of reform, and that he should get a perspective from inside the unit to best know how to command it in the future. In the same story, he also shows an interest in reforming the inequities of Azure City's social structure.
- Magic Knight: Due to being a paladin, he has both fighting and magic skills.
- The Men First: He cares very deeply for his people, spending all of his time helping them in their exile.
- Missing Mom: He and his lord once mention Hinjo's mother, who was Shojo's sister. The dialogue makes it clear she is departed from this world.
- Modest Royalty: After becoming the ruler of Azure City, he wears the same paladin armor he did before he ruled.
- Mr. Exposition: From his very introduction, he starts conveying information to the Order (and thus the audience) about Azure City and the Sapphire Guard — to the point Miko admonishes him for fraternizing with prisoners. The Kato's marriage is an opportunity for him to recap many events following a Time Skip (and makes Elan cry from the beautifully weaved plot exposition).
- Nephewism: He is Lord Shojo's sole heir. What happened to his parents? Who knows; maybe ninjas got them.
- Nice Guy: He's always friendly and polite and when the Order is being taken to their trial, he tells them some funny stories. After Miko kills Shojo, he tries to offer her a second chance to redeem herself despite her just killing his only known living relative.
- Only Sane Man: When dealing with his uncle's fake senility, Kubota's scheming, the zealousness of Miko and the antics of the Order, he has an aura of I'm-Not-Going-to-Tolerate-This-Nonsense.
- The Paladin: A holy warrior that is far more sane than Miko.
- Pragmatic Hero: Hinjo is under no delusions. He knows that the nobles will try to assassinate him the first moment they are able. When he discovers Shojo's lies, his first order of business is to bring him in for trial. He stands in direct contrast to Miko who acts on impulse to the discovery. He also carries silver and cold-iron katanas for dealing with any planar trouble.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He can't condone his uncle's backroom dealing but nevertheless recognizes that the Gates must be protected.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He is front and center for the Siege of Azure City and the later settling of the refugees.
- Samurai: Like Miko, but he's closer to a Warrior Prince than a Warrior Monk.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: In his younger days, he didn't see much of the city or its troubles. Un-sheltering himself was the main reason he became a paladin in the first place.
- Smite Evil: His duty and power as a paladin.
- Supporting Leader: He's the leader of the forces opposing Xykon, but the Order are the main characters and heroes of the story.
- Take Up My Sword: After Shojo's death, he takes over Azure City. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy about it.
- Took a Level in Badass: In his earliest chronological appearance during O-Chul's prequel comic, he has training in how to fight but he's so inexperienced that O-Chul explains Hinjo would actually be a liability in combat, and thus require another member of the extremely small group to protect him. By the time of the main comic, Hinjo is a capable warrior and leader.
- Weapon of Choice: A katana because of the fantasy counterpartness.
- The Wise Prince: Hinjo knew that his paladins probably couldn't take on Xykon, but gave them the chance anyways, knowing that Soon's spirit would bring them back for the final battle. He also refuses to execute Shojo and wants to bring him to the courts first. When Miko murders Shojo in anger and loses her paladinhood, he tries to talk her into surrendering despite his anger. When she attacks him anyways, he arrests her when she is knocked out instead of executing her on the spot. Later on, he realizes that his uncle was right about the oath the paladins took to not interfere with the gate. He is unable to help the Order directly in their quest but he gives them his support and the resources to proceed. During the battle for Azure City, he is also shown to be effective at placing his troops.
But as you correctly point out, you are still holding on two empty places in the center.
They are your heart, and your mind. They are the places that make you what you really are."
Alignment: Lawful Good
A high-ranking and incredibly tough paladin of the Sapphire Guard, O-Chul was taken as a prisoner of war after the fall of Azure City.
- Accidental Truth: O-Chul's lies on how Girard's gate is protected were actually pretty spot-on. An elaborate maze (in the form of the canyon and Pyramid, which are made more elaborate and confusing by the illusions of the Draketooth clan) and by answering the riddles (breaking through the Lotus-Eater Machine and recognizing the double bluff) can one reach the center indeed.
- Adopt the Dog: His friendship with the Monster in the Darkness leads to a Heartwarming Moment. Also see the quote.
- And I Must Scream: He spends an unspecified amount of time paralysed by Xykon, while his fellow paladins killed themselves around him, Xykon took the gate, and Miko destroyed the gate when they were winning. Then he was blown out a window and taken to a tea party when he needed to be escaping.
- The Atoner: His backstory reveals that he used to be a bandit child who was given a second chance.
- Badass Beard: A blue beard and a huge badass
- Badass in Distress: He's put in a tank with an acid-breathing shark. It doesn't go well for the shark.
- Bad Liar: Thanks to dump-statting Charisma.Redcloak: After all this time... I have finally found the very WORST liar in the entire world.
- Bald of Awesome: A goodly and awesome paladin without a hair on his head.
- Brass Balls: "+5 Holy Cojones", as stated by resident Big Bad Xykon. He was genuinely surprised that O-Chul was going to fight him wearing nothing but his prisoner loincloth and wielding nothing but his paladin might.
- Breakout Character: He started as just a high-ranking paladin, but the increased exposure he got over the Occupied Azure City arc and the popularity he gained in that time earned him his own prequel book.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Even without armor and in poor health, he can punch his way out of an acid shark tank. Xykon thinks his high constitution comes from training and spending xp on his character build instead of buffs.Xykon: Hell, the idiot paladin understands better than you do. 'Cause he got every one of those hit points I burned off of him the hard way: he earned them.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: At the hands of Team Evil for fun and information. (And as a stalling tactic.)
- Cool Horse: Averted, likely due to his levels in fighter. He lacks a Paladin Mount, which disappoints Lien who hoped he had merely been saving it for a dramatic moment.
- The Corrupter: Inverted. He spends all of his time in prison trying to redeem the Monster in the Darkness.
- O-Chul manages to get a list of all (or at least most) of Xykon's spells. When asked how, he simply replies "One saving throw at a time." His Constitution score is in the mid-twenties. For reference, the average human has a score of ten and increases are not linear.Xykon: He's like the Energizer Bunny, a Rollex watch, and Jackie Chan mixed together!
- The prequel story "How the Paladin Got His Scar" starts with O-Chul holding the line completely alone against a hobgoblin raiding party long after all his men are dead. A few dozen hobgoblins end up retreating because they just can't break him. When he gives his report, he doesn't see this event as any more important than any other fact of the battle.Miko: Stay down!
O-Chul: I don't... know how.
- O-Chul manages to get a list of all (or at least most) of Xykon's spells. When asked how, he simply replies "One saving throw at a time." His Constitution score is in the mid-twenties. For reference, the average human has a score of ten and increases are not linear.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: He plays Go and other games with the Monster in the Darkness.
- Does Not Like Spam:O-Chul: Well, I was going to express a dislike of squid, but I guess babies top my list as well.
- The Dog Bites Back: After months of torture, he nearly kills Redcloak, and puts out his right eye.
- Dramatic Necklace Removal: With Redcloak's holy symbol; catching the chain on his impromtu spear and pulling it off can't be anything but dramatic.
- Dump Stat: Charisma — he started as a fighter. This comes back to bite him when he tries to dupe Redcloak.
- Exact Words: When questioned about the destruction of Soon's Gate, he says he made the decision to destroy the gate and it was his blade that did the deed. Both are true, but O-Chul made that decision prior to Soon's ghost leading a counterattack that neutralized Xykon as a threat, and the gate was needlessly destroyed by Miko after taking O-Chul's sword.
- Exposed to the Elements: Discussed with Lien while they are in a blizzard at the North Pole, since they are both wearing their modest but normal outfits. As it turns out, O-Chul purchased a magic cloak that, among other things, confers immunity to frigid environmental temperatures.
- A Father to His Men: Lien recalls that he insisted on walking her home after she was knocked during training. He also apologizes when he has to leave his men to destroy the gate. His prequel story, where he mentors the cowardly Zhou Bo, shows that this characteristic was already in place long before the series.
- Foil: Miko; O-Chul was described by the Giant as "everything right about the paladin", while Miko was deliberately designed to be everything a Paladin shouldn't be.
- Genius Bruiser: He has a mind for the military, and that's not all. Through months of captivity and torture, he created a running list of Xykon's spells by surviving them one at a time. He also teaches Go and espouses a philosophy centered on it to a monster who is kind of a moron. Based on the ingenuity and patience he displays in "How the Paladin Got His Scar", it's obvious his Intelligence and Wisdom scores are pretty solid, if not better than, say, Roy's.
- Go Through Me: When asked why can't he just leave a hopeless cause to save his own life in "How the Paladin Got His Scar", his response is:O-Chul: A lot of people are going to get hurt tomorrow. All we can do is stand in the way of that and say, "Not them. Me. If you need to hurt someone, hurt me."
- Guile Hero: Extremely adaptable. When captured, O-Chul takes advantage of the situation to get Xykon's spell list, nudge the Monster in the Darkness away from evil a bit, and when released, is in position to try to break Xykon's phylactery (but is stopped at the last second). Also capable of using Exact Words when necessary, though usually not for manipulative reasons. In his origin story, he prevents a war from breaking out between Azure City and the hobgoblins by challenging Gin-Jun to a (now outlawed) honor duel, and then using the opportunity to expose the commander's madness to his men and turn them against him.
- Happily Adopted: He tells of a story where a Sergeant sent the child of two robbers to his sister for better life. In a Plot Twist, he is the robbers' child who later has a well-adjusted life that led him to become a better person.
- Healing Hands: A standard paladin ability. He uses it regularly on himself to heal the wounds inflicted by Redcloak's torture regimen.
- Heroic Willpower: He is able to withstand months of torture at the hands of Team Evil without ever betraying his principles or breaking. O-Chul's reputation for this trope becomes a local legend among the rest of the Azure City prisoners.
- Holier Than Thou: Played for laughs with Lien, when she tries a "Paladin off" with him. He always comes up on top, but both are never serious about it.
- Honor Before Reason: When he learns that the Sapphire Guard has summoned a Celestial to help them attack the hobgoblin fort, his plan is reduced to "fight alongside the hobgoblins because the paladins are in the wrong." Zhou Bo calls him on how this won't accomplish anything beyond O-Chul getting himself killed to avoid a guilty conscience.
- Humble Hero: In "How the Paladin Got His Scar", he doesn't see anything special about holding the line against a hobgoblin raiding party by himself. He later puts himself into the line of fire repeatedly, saves two civilizations from a bloody war, and every time he describes it as casually as if he were deciding on what pants to wear.General Nhek: He's always like this. Last time I promoted him, he apologized to me.
O-Chul: I still live with the burden of having failed to properly fulfill the duties of a lieutenant.
- I Gave My Word: He thinks it's obvious that Soon Kim kept his oath. After all, he's a paladin and it's the same thing he himself would do.
- Improvised Weapon: He can and will use anything, from a broken cage bar to bare fists, highly effectively and often powered-up with Smite Evil.
- Internal Reformist: He joined the Sapphire Guard specifically so he could be this. When O-Chul first encountered the Sapphire Guard, it was a force staffed solely by elitist nobles, many of whom were also zealots with warped priorities, and who didn't bother to consider the natural repercussions for their actions. Upon learning that the Guard could not be dismissed, O-Chul joined it in hopes of making it less extreme and out of touch.
- Interrogated for Nothing: Redcloak suspected he was telling the truth even before their session on the tower, but wanted to keep Xykon in the city so the hobgoblins could solidify their position.
- Irony: A large part of the reason Redcloak tortured him was as revenge for what the Sapphire Guard did to Redcloak's village. What Redcloak doesn't realize is that O-Chul is the primary reason that the Sapphire Guard is not like that any more. When he witnessed them doing such things he asked for them to be disbanded at the first opportunity, and when told that wasn't an option he joined them as an Internal Reformist.
- Knight in Shining Armor: All the Sapphire Guards are, but O-Chul even more so. The Giant describes him as "everything right about the paladin". He was already one in all but name in his prequel story, when he was just a regular captain in the army. He is honest and humble, stern but compassionate, courageous in the face of overwhelming odds, but above all else, committed to protecting the lives of everyone, human or hobgoblin.
- Made of Iron: He survives a Castle-Shattering Kaboom, a tank of acid with a shark in it (multiple times, it's implied), being trapped in a cage filled with rabid dire wallabies, a staring contest with a basilisk (which he won, technically; he never blinked), along with months of torture. Some would argue that he borders on Implacable Man. He has a Constitution score in the mid-twenties.note Statistically, he's on par with a dragon the size of a barn, and it shows.
- Metaphorically True: He engages in some very specific wordplay when Hinjo asks him if he destroyed the Sapphire Gate because he would never speak ill of the dead. He openly admits he's doing this.
- My Greatest Second Chance: Born to a bandit couple and hated by their victims after they were killed/arrested, O-Chul was instead adopted by the man who brought down his parents to be raised with love and dignity. This history informs most of his actions and his character.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: While his opinion of Miko is low, he doesn't speak ill of her after a stupid act causes a tragedy.
- Not a Game: He explains to Haley, in detail, how full-scale war isn't like a dungeon.
- Odd Friendship: He and the Monster in the Darkness are quite friendly. He refers to the Monster as "Monster-san". The Monster calls him Mr. Stiffly.
- One-Man Army: How the Paladin Got His Scar starts with a hobgoblin force retreating from a battle with Azurite troops. A battle that O-Chul was the only Azurite to walk away from. Being O-Chul, he doesn't really understand why a civilian is flabbergasted to learn that a small army retreated rather than fight him.
- The Paladin: Holy warrior that is solidly more good than lawful. His origin story shows that he holds both to equal measure. Despite being the only thing standing between two warring factions, he refuses to fight either side, his overzealous countrymen, and the innocent hobgoblins who are supposed to be his enemies. He also refuses to just abandon his duty, which would have saved his own life at the cost of allowing weaker innocents to be hurt instead.
- The Paragon: He is considered such within the Sapphire Guard. It says a lot about how much the Sapphire Guard has progressed that he is so esteemed now, considering the circumstances under which O-Chul joined it in "How the Paladin Got His Scar". O-Chul had just clashed several times with the Guard, been a factor in the death of its leader, and in general the Guard was an elitist, extremist organization made up solely of nobles. Apparently, nearly a dozen members resigned immediately when O-Chul, a commoner, was accepted into their ranks.
- Pragmatic Hero: Unusually for a character with such a strong moral compass, O-Chul tends to keep pragmatic concerns in mind regarding his actions. This doesn't cause him to compromise, but does give him justifications for some of his actions. When he unties Pangtok and Tingtox after they nearly drowned member of his party in an escape attempt, he explains that it was both wrong of him to tie them up and that if they want to escape it's better that they just run off rather than think they have to fight their way to freedom.
- Reconstructed Trope: Reconstructs paladins as a follow-up to Miko's decontruction of the class.
- Scars Are Forever: Despite receiving healing magic regularly, he's been tortured for so long that his body is literally Covered in Scars. Even more impressive, when O-Chul breaks out, Redcloak hits him with a Disintegrate, showing off O-Chul's skeleton, which reveals that his skull has a scar matching the one along his temple — meaning the cut made it went all the way to the bone. The prequel story "How the Paladin Got His Scar" would eventually reveal the origin of this scar. Gin-Jun, a maddened, Knight Templar/General Ripper former commander of the Sapphire Guard inflicted the wound on O-Chul when O-Chul found a non-violent way of preventing a war with the Hobgoblins that Gin-Jun was about to start.
- Smite Evil: He charges holy power into his bare hands to assault Xykon.
- Stone Wall: In contrast to someone like Miko, O-Chul rarely displays any spectacular offense, but can instead take a ridiculous amount of punishment without going down. It fits with how he sees his mission as a soldier and a paladin, which is as a defender and protector of the helpless who will be their shield.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: It's implied that misinterpreting his advice on morality and duty is what eventually led Miko to kill Shojo.
- Upbringing Makes the Hero: He was once the son of a murderous bandit couple, but when his father was killed and mother arrested, O-Chul was taken in by the arresting Sergeant and the man's sister. His adopted family's persistence in raising him is what gave him his strong sense of compassion for the downtrodden, as he was downtrodden once, and he will always believe in second chances for everybody.
- Weapon of Choice: A katana, like the others in the Sapphire Guard.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Why Did It Have to Be Sharks? Though in actuality he does not fear them, since being a paladin makes him immune to fear. It's more like they just make him oddly uncomfortable. The acid-breathing shark may have had something to do with this.
- Working-Class Hero: In "How the Paladin Got His Scar" he's revealed to be common-born and was the first commoner to join the Sapphire Guard, which had previously restricted its membership to members of the noble class.
- You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: He has a theory as to what the Monster in the Darkness is, but doesn't think Lien or the Monster himself would believe it.
Alignment: Intelligent Good
Along with Hinjo and O-Chul, a paladin and one of the only surviving Sapphire Guard officers. As the daughter of fishermen, her weapon and celestial mount keep a connection with the sea.
- Action Girl: During the fall of Azure City, she defends Hinjo's junk for hours from attacking hobgoblins by herself.
- The Anti-Nihilist: She sees the loss of her hometown and most of her friends as just part of how the world works, but chooses to be grateful that she's alive and able to keep fighting the good fight.O-Chul: Ah, so your optimism is a direct result of your relentlessly negative view.
Lien: Haha! I guess so! The best part about always expecting the world to bite you in the butt is sometimes you're pleasantly surprised.
- Badass Boast: When fighting a group of hobgoblins:Lien: My parents were fishermen. When I was a little girl, I stood right here and learned how to clean the fish that they caught. I'm telling you this so that you know that when I say that if you take one more step, I will gut you like the catch of the day — IT IS NOT HYPERBOLE!
- Blade on a Stick: Her harpoon.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Defied. She gets singed by Thor's Lightning when Durkon rescues her, and he preemptively apologizes for it.Lien: SO not complaining.
- Cool Pet: A shark that she rides into battle, being that she is a fisherman's daughter and seems to regularly work at sea.
- Deadpan Snarker: Of the Azurites, easily the most sarcastic.
- Detect Evil: Standard paladin power; she attempts it on Therkla.
- Exposed to the Elements: Discussed with O-Chul during a blizzard in the North Pole, as they are wearing modest, but normal outfits. As it turns out, Lien's Ring of Water Breathing also protects her from frigid temperatures, as the deep ocean is quite cold.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Or Good Bard, Bad Paladin; in one of the bonus comics, she and Elan interrogate a mermaid who had known a group of aquatic hobgoblins that attacked the Azure City fleet using this technique.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Her Catchphrase. Lien would like to remind you that being good does not necessarily make you an idiot.
- Got Me Doing It: Thanks to Elan's influence, she hopes that O-Chul had an awesome paladin mount he had been saving for the perfect dramatic reveal. He doesn't.
- Fluffy Tamer: Razor's a great white, and she manages to make him seem cute, especially in the Beach Party wallpaper.
- Healing Hands: Paladin power.
- Not Hyperbole: Trope Namer.Lien: My parents were fishermen. When I was a little girl, I stood right here and learned how to clean the fish that they caught. I'm telling you this so that you know that when I say that if you take one more step, I will gut you like the catch of the day — IT IS NOT HYPERBOLE!
- The Paladin: Like Miko and O-chul she is a holy warrior for the Twelve Gods.
- Rags to Riches: She started life as the child of two fishermen, and now she's one of the strongest paladins in Azure City.
- Ring of Power: In one of the bonus comics in Don't Split the Party, Lien reveals that she has a magic ring that allows her to breathe underwater. It later gets shown in the main comic. This also confers an immunity to frigid temperatures, as the bottom of the ocean can be very cold.
- Samurai: Like others on this list, a katana-wielding warrior in an Japan-ish place.
- Smite Evil: Paladin power.
- Survivor's Guilt: Averted. She considers her family making it out alive while all her colleagues die proof that she must be the luckiest girl alive, as there is no point believing the world is fair.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Hinjo sent Lien to guard the waterfront docks primarily because her shark paladin mount would turn any sea monsters the goblins summoned to sushi.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Due to living on the waterfront, her entire extended family, her boyfriend, and his extended family all made it out safely.
- Virgin Sacrifice: Inverted with the virgin part. According to the orcs, Banjo prefers someone "with experience". The sacrifice itself was narrowly avoided.
- Weapon of Choice: A harpoon, unlike the katanas of the other paladins. This might have to do with her being a fisherman's daughter.
- Working-Class Hero: Like O-Chul, she's common-born and as seen above her upbringing informs both her outlook on life and her Weapon of Choice.
A low-ranking Sapphire Guard member who was out of town the day of the battle. Took over leadership of La Résistance after Haley left.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Averted, a rarity among paladins.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Briefly dominated by Tsukiko. No, not that kind of domination.
- Healing Hands: Paladin power, and exploited by Tsukiko while dominating him. It sounds bad but it wasn't like that.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Charges into a hopeless battle to distract Redcloak from noticing that a single Resistance member will survive.
- Honor Before Reason: His ability to use subterfuge leaves some to be desired. Although he does work well with Niu during his last act.
- Face Death with Dignity: He takes crushing from a golem with utmost serenity.
- More Hero Than Thou: He disputes with Niu about her escape at the end.
- The Paladin: Like others on this list, a holy warrior of the Twelve Gods.
- La Résistance: Would like to call it "Sapphire Liberation Front".
- Samurai: Like Lien, Miko, etc.
- Smite Evil: Paladin power.
- That's an Order!: He invokes this trope to make Niu escape.
- Turn Undead: He uses this paladin power against Tsukiko's wights. It doesn't destroy them, but does enough to prevent them from level draining.
- Weapon of Choice: A katana, standard for Sapphire Guard members. It also doubles as a divine focus for turning undead.
- Unfit for Greatness: Has some Survivor Guilt for the fact that he only survived the massacre of the Sapphire Guard because he was sent away as a messenger, but reluctantly accepts that as the Last of His Kind he's a symbol for Azurite resistance. He's singularly unqualified to be a guerilla fighter, however.
- You Are in Command Now: Thanh feels he's out of his league, but he's the only person that the other Resistance groups could agree on since they would not allow some foreigner to lead them, ruling out Haley.
- You Shall Not Pass!: He dies covering Niu's escape.
Class: Wizard (diviner)
Alignment: Lawful Good (presumably)
A blind seer who serves as an adviser to Shojo and later Hinjo. Aside from Shojo, she is the only known member of the Sapphire Guard who is not a Paladin.
- Blindfolded Vision: Her mystic vision spells even come out of the blindfold.
- Blind Seer: A seer with a blindfold.
- Call-Forward: In the Kickstarer reward Therkla comic, Sangwaan comments that she's tired of everyone pitying her for her birth defect that will leave her dead by age 30. She states that "I hope when it is my time, no-one will see it coming." Note that this comic came out well after we saw her killed by an invisible zombie dragon in the main story.Sangwaan: Heh heh, well played, Lord Rooster.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: She's killed when Xykon's zombie dragon bites her and then throws her off the ramparts of Azure City's outer wall.
- A Day in the Limelight: She has a fairly large role in Therkla's mini-comic which serves to flesh out her personality and give insight into her backstory.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a particularly funny one in a bonus comic dealing with Shojo's funeral.Sangwaan: He never treated me differently for my disability. He tried to look down my shirt like any other girl.
- Mauve Shirt: Like the generals.
- Non-Action Guy: Seer, not soldier.
- Odd Friendship: Spoiler Alert establishes that she and Therkla struck up a short friendship when Therkla attempted to rob her to get out of a Chain of Deals she'd been stuck in. Sangwaan foresaw the robbery and not only gives her what she needs but invites her for a drink and they have a fun time chatting the night away. Sadly nothing further came of it as the Hobgoblins advanced on the city the next day.
- Telepathy: She uses it at a few points to answer people's questions before they finish asking them.
- Your Days Are Numbered:
- She has a degenerative disease that blinded her as a child and will kill her before she turns 30.
- She also foresaw Therkla's eventual death, and postponed it by a year by putting an antidote to a poison she would be exposed to in her drink.
The commander of the Sapphire Guard during the events of "How the Paladin Got His Scar". An anti-hobgoblin fanatic, Gin-Jun led his forces on a crusade through the countryside in an effort to find and destroy the Crimson Mantle once and for all.
- General Ripper: Cares more about slaughtering the hobgoblins than protecting the citizens he's supposed to be defending. Tellingly, when Miko asks how to differentiate good goblins from bad, (she's quite young during the story and still concerned about such things) Gin-Jun acknowledges that not all goblins are evil, but believes that the simple act of living in a goblin society and contributing to it in any way effectively makes them evil, and gives Miko an answer that amounts to "Kill them all and let the gods sort them out."
- Humiliation Conga: He's fired from the Sapphire Guard by his own subordinate after O-Chul tricks him into breaking one of its rules. He's told off and duly insulted by his former second-in-command, bluntly dismissed and rejected by the celestial he had summoned to help the Guard's efforts, and finally killed by his own acolyte for his misdeeds.
- Hypocrite: He advocates wiping out hobgoblin civilization entirely, brushing off the possibility of good hobgoblins dying because that can't get in the way of punishing wickedness, and essentially says that if any good hobgoblins survive this they can reflect on how this was for the best and how they can change their ways. When Gin-Jun is kicked out of the Sapphire Guard for his own actions, instead of reflecting on his own wickedness, how it must be punished, or how he can change his ways, Gin-Jun simply goes into Never My Fault, blaming both O-Chul and his own second-in-command for his own actions.Gin-Jun: This is all some kind of plot cooked up between you and this soldier!
Haruna: I assure you I had no part in planning anything Captain O-Chul said or did.
Gin-Jun: But neither did you prevent me from making a mistake that would allow you to expel me from the Guard. You set me up, you traitor!
Haruna: If you choose to commit violence to avenge your worthless honor, then the weight of that decision rests on your conscience, not mine.
- Killed Off for Real: By Miko, for attacking Zhou Bo.
- Mask of Sanity: The man may be an obsessed fanatic, but he's capable of keeping up a polite and courteous front, even appearing wise and mentorly to inexperienced acolytes like Miko. Not until his breakdown is happening in earnest does he abandon his courtly manners.
- Master Swordsman: He's a powerful, highly-ranked paladin, and O-Chul explicitly says that he has next to no chance of beating Gin-Jun in a duel, as Gin-Jun has almost certainly been trained by some of the greatest swordsmen in the world.
- The Mentor: To Miko, which shows where she got some of her bad ideas and fanaticism from.
- My Greatest Failure: Gin-Jun was a random low-ranking paladin of the Sapphire Guard during the events of "Start of Darkness", who took part in killing the prior bearer of the Crimson Mantle and wiping out Redcloak's village and family. However, at the time the Guard was not aware that the Mantle was an Artifact of Doom and thought it was nothing more than a signifier of rank. The fact that they missed the chance to destroy or take the Crimson Mantle on that occasion and forever end the threat posed by it has haunted Gin-Jun for over 20 years.
- Neck Snap: How Miko kills him.
- Never My Fault: When O-Chul points out that Gin-Jun's tactics will result in hobgoblins attacking Azurite villages in retaliation, Gin-Jun just says that's on the hobgoblin's heads, not his. He also blames O-Chul for him losing his place in the Sapphire Guard, even though it was Gin-Jun's own actions that caused him to be fired.
- Not So Different: He acts very similar to the General Ripper on the hobgoblin side, to the point that they get upset over the same things and use similar ways and phrases to express that anger. O-Chul, when trying to convince the other paladins that Gin-Jun has lost his way, points this out and that Gin-Jun has more in common with a hobgoblin who is similarly eager for war than he does with those of his own people who aren't.
- The Proud Elite: Of the type that don't have kind Hidden Depths. Gin-Jun is all too aware and proud of his societal status, rank, and personal honor. He doesn't tolerate anyone trying to point out flaws in his abilities, or anyone of a lower social rank questioning him. This is also the cause of his downfall: he could have refused O-Chul's challenge, but doing so would have resulted in him losing face. Because he couldn't accept that he took part in the duel, giving O-Chul a forum to expose Gin-Jun's shortcomings and plead his case to the other paladins.Gin-Jun: That arrogant little soldier ant! I cannot— How dare he— He should consider himself lucky that I am too virtuous a man to even think of slashing his throat for daring to speak that way to his betters!
- Rules Lawyer: Not as much as his subordinate Sato, but he does some of this when negotiating with a disinclined celestial whom he wants to help capture the Gorge Ravine outpost. The celestial refuses to slaughter all the hobgoblins or destroy the outpost, so Gin-Jun talks him into just breaking down the front gates... at which point the Sapphire Guard can rush in and do the slaughtering themselves.
- Sanity Slippage: As events of the story keep thwarting him, he becomes more and more unhinged. Others point out, and he acknowledges that, even if the current bearer of the Crimson Mantle was in the hobgoblin stronghold — after the Guard was delayed from attacking — the bearer would almost certainly have escaped. Despite that, he refuses to hear of any way to learn for sure if the Mantle is present, and the thought of possibly spending another 20+ years chasing the Mantle's bearer causes him to go into a full fledged breakdown, which becomes a murderous rage.Gin-Jun: Not another 22 years. Not another 22 minutes!
- Upper-Class Twit: Gin-Jun is a noble and is enraged that a commoner like O-Chul would oppose him. He even refers to himself as O-Chul's "better".
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Oh so averted. As far as he's concerned, there is no such thing as a true civilian in a goblinoid society:Miko: I have a question. I am not a paladin yet, so I cannot call upon the blessed power of the Twelve Gods to determine which hobgolbins are evil. How shall I know which are fair to attack?
Gin-Jun: An excellent question, and I am glad you are giving these concerns the weight they deserve. It is important to remember simply that hobgoblins are usually evil, and even those that may not be so still worship an evil god, or defend an evil social order, or grow food for evil warriors, or give birth to evil children. It is enough for us to destroy their evil society, and let any who survive reflect on the path of wickedness. Never hesitate to punish evil or support for evil, or tolerance for evil.
Miko: Thank you, Master. You are wise, and I will do my best to follow your example.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Gin-Jun's immediate subordinate and the second-in-command of the Sapphire Guard.
- Kirk Summation: She gives several short and to the point lectures to Gin-Jun about his failings, particularly his need to save face and his valuing of that more than the lives of innocent citizens he is sworn to protect.
- Number Two: Commander Gin-Jun's second-in-command, at least of the detachment he was leading and possibly of the entire Sapphire Guard.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Much more so than her boss. She immediately sees some of the flaws in his assumptions about why the Crimson Mantle must be present in this particular village, cares much more about the lives of their people, and works to remove Gin-Jun when it becomes clear he's become too crazy to effectively lead the Sapphire Guard.
- Rules Lawyer:
- Sato warns O-Chul what Gin-Jun is planning, but refuses to actually do anything to stop it because that would be betraying her oath. When O-Chul points out she's betraying it by talking to them, Sato says she's just warning an Azure citizen (O-Chul himself) that there will be bloodshed in the area tomorrow so he can protect himself. If he then chooses to use that information to stop Gin-Jun's plans, that's not her business.
- She also manages to oust Gin-Jun after her commander scars and almost kills the defenseless O-Chul. Attempting to kill an "unarmed common citizen" is against the paladin oath, and even though Gin-Jun acted during a duel, that technically isn't a valid exception in the oath. Gin-Jun is thus fired.
Nobles and their servitors
For nobles who are also in the Sapphire Guard like Gin-Jun, see the above "Sapphire Guard" section.
A scheming aristocrat and Therkla's employer, intent on assassinating Hinjo and taking over after Shojo's death.
- Affably Evil: See his page quote. For an evil dude, he can be friendly when he's not sending ninjas after you.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: A noble in Azure City and part of the reason that Shojo had to fake senility; he's a scheming asshole.
- Asshole Victim: As can be seen by the rest of this page, his death at V's hand was richly deserved.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Again, page quote. Also, he schooled Therkla in 'evil best practices'.
- Carrying the Antidote: Averted and he tells Elan how stupid such a thing would be after he poisoned Therkla.
- Color-Coded Characters: He and his minions wear purple, while the others in Azure City wear blue.
- Consummate Liar: Not only is he a good liar naturally, but he has an unknown prestige class (probably Spymaster) that makes him immune to lie detection.
- Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: He planned to use it on Therkla after he killed her, but V wasn't having any of that.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: His death is fairly ignominious. Elan comments about it.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He doesn't understand why Hinjo promoted Daigo and Kazumi to nobility for their valor, and sees no value in peasants.
- Evil Gloating: As Elan marches him to the magistrate, he gleefully explains how futile Elan's efforts are and how he'll turn the whole situation to his advantage. These end up being his last words.
- Evil Plan: Assassinate Hinjo and become the ruler of Azure City.
- Famous Last Words: "Now come along, bring me to your master so we can begin the Trial of the Century."
- Filler Villain: He has nothing to do with the main plot of the gates. He's just there to fill time while the Order of the Stick regroups.
- Genre Savvy: He's aware of minions Defecting for Love and planned for it, in addition to what heroes like Elan must do when faced with a surrendering villain. When Kubota is bragging to Elan about the sob story he's cooked up, Elan points out that there are spells that can compel him to tell the truth. He simply retorts that he took a prestige class that makes him immune to such spells.
- Hate Sink: Compared to the other villains he's neither funny, sympathetic, likable, or effective. He's just an unlikable bastard who thinks he's better than he really is.
- Karma Houdini: Defied Trope; Kubota plans to invoke this, by framing Therkla and using his aristocrat talents to turn around and use his trial to slander Hinjo, but Vaarsuvius defies this by simply disintegrating him.
- Killed Off for Real: Disintegrated by V, then his ashes get blown into the sea by a magical gust of wind. The only thing that can bring him back now is a True Resurrection, and given that the only other person that even knows he's dead felt that he deserved it, that won't be happening.
- Manipulative Bastard: He manipulates the magistrate to avoid punishment for sending ninjas after Hinjo during The Siege, after that he uses Therkla and then his planned status as Karma Houdini.
- Pride: In his status as a noble and his oratory skills.
- Sadistic Choice: Invoked twice. First he has Therkla choose between helping Elan and serving him, then he has Elan choose between saving Therkla and stopping him.
- Slimeball: Almost everything he does to try to usurp Hinjo's position is just plain hateful, culminating in him ordering the assassination of a pair of former commoners who were promoted to nobility. The wife is pregnant. When the plan fails, he murders his own number two with poison just to give himself time to escape.
- Smug Snake: His status as a this is cemented by the fact that he just doesn't stack up against Xykon and Redcloak. He's also horribly naive, and thinks taking the city back from Xykon will be a trivial matter.
- Take Over the City: His villainy is entirely geared toward usurping Azure City's rulership. Even when there isn't even much of a city to rule anymore.
Alignment: True Neutral
Half-orc ninja, under the employ of Daimyo Kubota. She is poisoned by Kubota so he could escape and dies in Elan's arms.
- Action Girl: Ninja/assassin and all-around strong.
- Character Alignment: True Neutral. She's an active, balancing kind of Neutral, as opposed to the disinterested kind. Her proposed solution to the fleet's struggle between good and evil is that the two groups and their respective followers split up and go their separate ways, and she seems genuinely confused that neither finds this acceptable. This becomes more explored, and more leaning toward Neutral Good, in the bonus comic. She intentionally avoids killing people, taking it as priority over her single day off in fourteen months, and the one person she does kill is trying to kill both her and the people she's trying to save. She merely wants to repay Kubota for helping her when no one else would, and Kubota's fatherly facade when around her fools her from seeing just how cold-blooded her boss is. She bonds with Sangwaan about this.
- Child by Rape: Elan and Kubota think this is the only way a half-orc could be created but the opposite is true; her parents were Sickeningly Sweethearts. It's an allusion to what D&D says is often the case with half-orc children.
- Cute Little Fangs: From her orc side, she has fangs and they make her loot cuter.
- Cute Monster Girl: The other orcs in this comic are ugly but she's cute as a button. On one hand, she's only half orc. On the other hand, her full-orc mother could definitely also be sorted into this category; her father definitely thought her mother was a "cutie pie".
- A Day in the Limelight: She received a Kickstarter comic centered around her called Spoiler Alert. It centers around her trying to read her supernatural romance novel and being interrupted to perform a theft which was how she became Kubota's right hand.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: She was happy about it because she thought it was the only way she'd get into his arms.
- The Dragon: To Kubota. She's his head ninja and the most powerful minion in his employ.
- Eating the Eye Candy: She spies on Elan because she wants to watch him, not to gather information.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-orc/half-human.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Elan almost convinced her to join Hinjo, then Hinjo sprang an ambush and arrested her. Averted with her death, which only happened after she was forced to choose between her master and Elan, and switched sides for good.
- Human Mom, Non-Human Dad: One of the incredibly few half-orcs to be an inversion as her mother was the nonhuman.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Elan is clearly upset about letting her die and learns how to Neutralize Poison to prevent it happening again.
- In Love with the Mark: Her introductory scene has her gushing about Elan's attractiveness.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Averted. Elan is in a relationship at this point and she wants him to break up with whoever it is for her.
- Killed Off for Real: After being poisoned by Kubota, she says she would refuse to be raised unless Elan becomes her boyfriend. He couldn't betray Haley, so she decides to stay dead.
- Klingon Promotion: She was salutatorian at Ninja School. Guess how she became valedictorian.
- Lady of War: As much as the limited art style can allow. As a McNinja, she always favors stealth and opportunistic strikes over direct confrontation, and in the rare moments she's in direct combat she tends to use acrobatic maneuvers and grappling far more than any other female character.
- Love at First Sight: One-sided infatuation as soon as she started spying on Elan, later partly-reciprocated.
- Ninja This is her class and she does a lot of sneaking and spying.
- Rape as Backstory: Subverted. The orc chieftan says being half-human implies a very ugly backstory, but a flashback shows that her human father and orc mother were Sickeningly Sweethearts.
- Redemption Equals Death: She starts off as an antagonist working for Kubota, but when she throws a wrench in his plans to save Elan, he kills her with poison.
- Satellite Love Interest: What would she be like without Elan? She was a subject of debate on the forums when she was alive and her detractors often used this as an argument.
- Take a Third Option: She wants an outcome where her boss and her crush survive the arc. She tried to convince Kubota to separate from Hinjo and form his own kingdom somewhere else. Kubota didn't like that idea and poisoned her for it.
- Unfortunate Implications: Satirized in "Half-Dragons Are Even Worse".
A wizard whom Shojo loaned to the Order in order to teleport them to and from Cliffport.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: His drunkeness caused him to both screw up a teleport spell bad enough that he dropped the group in a roc's nest, and then to ignore it even as it noticed them.
- The Alcoholic: Got drunk while waiting for the Order to fight the Linear Guild.
- In Vino Veritas: After getting drunk, he went on a rant about how he didn't even want to be a wizard and would rather have been a baker.
- Jaded Washout: Hates his life, seeing himself as an unimportant random wizard who ferries around more important Player Characters, and wishing he'd taken the chance of going after his true passion—baking.
- Only Known By His Nickname: Never receives a full name in the comic, and so is just called 'wizard guy' by the other characters.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: He's a parody of this, in that PCs tend to treat NPCs, no matter how important they might be, as minor assets to be ignored when not relevant. Despite the fact that he's evidently a pretty powerful wizard, the Order completely forgets about him within seconds of reaching Cliffport.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Only appears for a few panels before being killed and eaten by a roc.
Shojo's personal wizard
Shojo's personal wizard, whom he loans to Vaarsuvius in order to help complete the elf's spellbook.
- Insane Troll Logic: Vaarsuvius can't understand why he insists that they have to leave several pages of their spellbook blank after scribing a one-word spell, and Shojo's wizard isn't able to come up with a rational explanation to mollify them.
- Mr. Exposition: Explains some of the more nonsensical rules of the magic system to Vaarsuvius.
Alignment: Unknown (possibly True Neutral)
A mercenary working in Azure City who has a personal history with Therkla. Appears in the Kickstarter bonus story "Spoiler Alert".
- Faux Affably Evil: When she and Therkla fight they exchange a lot of pleasentries at first which gradualy devolves into backhanded condescending fake-complements with Kohaku mocking Therkla's abilities and race.
- Jerkass: Consistently rude and condescending to Therkla, and happy to murder a random merchant family even though Therkla has already faked their deaths and Kohaku's master wouldn't know the difference.
- Smug Snake: In spades. Mocks Therkla throughout their fights and continually acts like the half-orc has no chance whatsoever of beating her.
Alignment: Lawful Good
The captain of Hinjo's junk. Very loyal to his lord, but knows when to disobey too.
- Bald of Awesome
- The Captain: Of Hinjo's junk. This means he has great authority when on the ship.
- Hook Hand: He has a small axe replacing his left hand.
- I Did What I Had to Do: He takes advantage of Hinjo getting knocked unconscious to order the departure of the junk. This is necessary to save all their lives, because Hinjo insisted on waiting for Haley who is somewhere in the battlefield reclaiming Roy's corpse.
- Perma-Stubble: Adding to his rough sailor look.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After Hinjo is knocked out, he disobeys orders for the ship to wait, realizing that the enemy is too strong to fight off for much longer.
- They Call Him "Sword": Axe in this case. Probably a Shout-Out to Captain Hook.
- Weapon of Choice: Again, take a wild guess.
For Tsukiko, who briefly fought alongside the army, see Team Evil.
Daigo & Kazumi Kato
Kazumi: [crying] Thank you. What's yours?
Daigo: ... ... Daigo.
[no longer dying] ... Uh? I, uh... I think I'm OK, now.
Kazumi: Wow. I guess having a name really DOES matter.
Gender: Male & Female (respectively)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Regular soldiers in the Azure City army, Daigo and Kazumi refuse to be nameless Red Shirts like the rest of the army — literally, by mentioning their names. They escaped Azure along with Elan, Vaarsuvius and Durkon. Daigo and Kazumi are now married, with Kazumi pregnant, and have been given the status of nobility by Hinjo. The fact that their names are known also makes them significantly more competent than regular Azurite soldiers.
- Action Mom: Kazumi "I'm a goddamn baby-making, life-taking MACHINE" Kato. She hasn't even given birth yet! Her quote, "Who cares how many people I have to kill? I can just make MORE in my tummy!" is now a T-shirt.
- Alliterative Name: Kazumi Kato; plus when Daigo nearly revealed his last name, it started with "Da".
- Badass Normal: They are regular Azurite soldiers, with no special abilities or magic whatsoever.
- Battle Couple: They started the Siege as co-workers and became a couple in the midst of it.
- Beta Couple: Unusually, they have been a couple for less time than the alpha. Less unusually, their relationship is much smoother than — they're already happily married without any plot complications, aside for one or two attempts on their lives.
- Butt-Monkey: Daigo suffers a case of this during the Kubota arc, notably getting ninja-kicked in the face, then slammed by a door, and then broken glass is sprayed on his face.
- Chekhov's Gun: Daigo's last name is as of strip 1171 unfired.
- Chickification: Averted by Kazumi during her pregnancy. She tells three hostile ninjas that she didn't forget all her military training the moment she conceived, and she tells them this while kicking their ass. Her husband, on the other hand...
- Cluster F-Bomb: Kazumi is prone to these when she's in Mama Bear mode.
- Defied Trope: Red Shirt. They defied this trope, and saved Daigo's life, by mentioning their names. Daigo keeps his last name a secret in case of an emergency.
- Flirting Under Fire: Their first lines of dialogue is a invitiation to coffee.
- Flower in Her Hair: Kazumi, for her marriage.
- Fourth Date Marriage: The time between them meeting each other and their marriage is three-and-a-half months. Not to mention that Kazumi is already eight weeks pregnant during their wedding.
- Happily Married: Their marriage has withstood months on a refugee ship, ninja attacks, and relocation.
- Lampshade Hanging: Their entire existence lampoons the concept of the Red Shirt, and Belkar refers to them as such by name.
- Lower-Deck Episode: Such a sequence serves as their introduction.
- The Maiden Name Debate: Neither appears to have taken the other's name, but they use "Kato" for their new noble house.
- Mama Bear: KazumiKazumi: I'm a goddamn baby-making, life-taking MACHINE!
- Mauve Shirt: They seem to be elevating themselves to recurring characters, near the same level as Hinjo.
- Nominal Importance: Deliberately invoked by Kazumi so she can save her own life and Daigo's in "I'll Hold Them Off".
- Playing with a Trope: The purpose of their existences, as noted within Defied Trope, Lampshade Hanging, Nominal Importance and Subverted Trope.
- Pregnant Badass: Kazumi's the one pictured on the trope's page.Kazumi: You stupid pieces of @#!%. I was in the army, too, and I didn't forget four years of training the moment my egg's perimeter was breached. You think just because I can't see my feet right now that I can't put one of them up your cowardly ninja asses? Please.
- Pregnant Hostage: The ninjas thought Kazumi would be this trope. They were wrong.
- Rags to Riches: Technically, as Hinjo promotes them to nobility at their wedding.
- Red Herring Shirts: They're more significant than they appear at first.
- Subverted Trope: Red Shirt again, naturally, along with Red Shirt Army. Even before that, their class is fighter, a character class. The majority of the NPCs are warriors (which is basically the same class without the feats), making them Elite Mook by default.
Alignment: Lawful Good (presumably)
A general in Azure City's regular military.
- Famous Last Words: "You'll never take this city while I'm alive, monster!"
- Good Counterpart: To the Hobgoblin General. Both are commanding officers, the Hobgoblin General follows orders without question, but Chang questions orders that could result in casualties.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Courtesy of the Death Knight who runs him through with his sword so hard half of his arm punches through the General.
- Mauve Shirt: A minor and ultimately unimportant character, but he has enough tropes to make his death more meaningful than a Red Shirt's.
General Claire Nhek
A general in the Azurite military, and O-Chul's commanding officer before he joined the Sapphire Guard.
- Odd Name Out: Her first name, Claire, doesn't exactly fit the Asian theme that otherwise dominates Azure City.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Takes O-Chul's warnings seriously and responds to them sensibly instead of either dismissing O-Chul or selling him out to gain favor from the nobles his story implicates. She is also sympathetic to the Kapoor family's problems and, though she can't legally let them into the country without permission, she agrees to support their case before an immigration court so they can get that permission.
A soldier under O-Chul's command during the events of How the Paladin Got His Scar, she deserted during a battle with hobgoblins. O-Chul later drafts her onto his mission to stop the hobgoblin raiders for good.
- Action Girl: Completely averted. Despite being a soldier in the Azure City army, she has absolutely no fighting ability.
- Ambiguous Situation: After Taking the Bullet for O-Chul, it's left ambiguous for quite some time about whether she lived or died. It isn't until the next to last page that it's shown that she survived.
- Heroic BSoD: When Hinjo reveals his true identity, she goes into one when she realizes that she let the presumed heir to the throne be wounded in an earlier encounter. It's not helped by the fact that her family are major fans of the nobility.
- Irony: Early in the story, O-Chul gives her a punishment detail of burying her comrades who died in the battle. While at the time she rationalizes her decision (if she hadn't deserted, she would have surely died too), it's clear that she does feel guilty for her actions and later she says that she is tired of digging graves for friends. At the end of the story, after she gets an honorable discharge from the army, she gets a job as a grave digger and is quite happy with it. Digging graves for strangers is not the same as digging them for your friends, after all.
- Lovable Coward: Lampshaded to the point that she boasts about how her fast reflexes help her run away faster. Averted later, when it's shown that she is quick to act to help others and, in doing so, puts herself at risk without thinking about it.
- Made of Iron: Nowhere near as much as O-Chul, of course, but, despite being a cowardly comic relief character, she shrugs off a surprising amount of punishment during the course of the story.
- Only in It for the Money: She only joins the army because she can't find a job elsewhere, and they offer 15 gold pieces as a signing bonus, which she really needs to pay for her mother's debts. Upon hearing this, Hinjo is horrified that someone joined the army and put their life in great danger for what is, to him, practically pocket change.
- Opt Out: Defied. She very much wants to do this when O-Chul recruits her for their mission, offering to suffer the whipping for desertion instead or to do whatever she needs to do in order to be thrown in the brig, but O-Chul makes it clear that isn't an option for her.
- Plucky Comic Relief: She identifies herself as such early in the story, while also identifying O-Chul as the "stoic, badass leader" and Saha Kapoor as "the mysterious lone wolf".
- Punishment Detail: She gets this a lot, on account of her cowardice.
- Red Shirt: Initially; her class (Warrior) is meant to imply this.
- Taking the Bullet: When she sees Gin-Jun running back to finish O-Chul off, she throws herself in the way, and absorbs several powerful attacks before Miko steps in and snaps Gin-Jun's neck.
- Took a Level in Badass: After running from danger for the entire story, she jumps into Gin-Jun's path to stop him from killing O-Chul.
- Uncertain Doom: After she protects O-Chul from several dangerous attacks with herself, we don't know whether she lives or dies until the second-to-last page, where it's revealed she survives.
A soldier in the Azurite military. He is badly wounded defending a small village from goblin raiders, but survives after O-Chul escorts him home.
- Almost Dead Guy: Parodied. He gives a detailed warning to O-Chul about Zhou Bo's cowardice, only for O-Chul to note how odd it is that Nguyen is able to speak so much despite his life-threatening wounds.
- Opt Out: More like forced out. He'd probably opt in for O-Chul's mission, and O-Chul considers him a valuable enough soldier that he wants to recruit Nguyen, but the clerics need at least an extra day for him to recover from his wounds, so O-Chul is forced to leave him behind and go with only Zhou Bo and Saha Kapoor.
- Sole Survivor: Besides O-Chul himself (and Zhou Bo, who deserted), he's the only member of their detachment to survive the first few pages of How the Paladin Got His Scar.
A soldier in the Azurite military. After defeating a pair of bandits, he come across their child and must decide what to do with him.
- Happily Adopted: He ensures this happens to O-Chul.
- The Paladin: He doesn't have this class (as far as we know), but he certainly acts this way. Instead of having the young O-Chul arrested for his crimes or even killed, he arranges for him to be adopted by his loving sister.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The other villagers want to hold O-Chul responsible for helping his parents rob and kill, but the sergeant recognizes that O-Chul was just a child and isn't at fault.
- Sergeant Rock: Subverted Trope, he is more calm inspite of his rank's reputation.
- The Voiceless: Has no lines of dialogue.
That Guy with a Halberd
Alignment: Lawful Good (presumably)
Another soldier in the Azure City army. Shows up in one strip ordering boiling oil poured on the attacking hobgoblins. It turns out to be room-temperature coconut oil instead, but it drives the attackers off anyway. Turned into a Memetic Bystander by a forum thread.
- Blade on a Stick: A Halberd.
- No Name Given: Why else would his character sheet say "That Guy with a Halberd"?
- Only Sane Man: In the single strip he appears in.
- Only Six Faces: There's really no way to tell this Guy with a Halberd from any other male soldier in the Azurite army, which has led to a fandom running gag that any time one of them has a significant line, it's this guy.
- Weapon of Choice: Go on — guess.
High Priest of the Twelve Gods
The High Priest of the Twelve Gods. In addition to his duties as a member of the clergy, he also officiates over Hinjo's coronation and helps to defend the city.
For Ho Thanh, see his entry under "Sapphire Guard" above.
Alignment: Neutral Good (probably)
A low-ranking soldier seconding Haley and later Thanh in the Azure City Resistance.
- Action Girl: Double her co-workers; fighter and rogue.
- Bring News Back: Thanh tells her to escape from the Resistance base and get word to Hinjo about its destruction.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Niu brings a bandolier of holy water vials to assault a prison because she was told there was only a "skeleton crew" defending it and she believes the description was literal.
- It Has Been an Honor: To Thanh, when he prepares to give his life to cover her retreat.Niu: ... You're the bravest man I've ever met.
Thanh: And you're the slowest woman! RUN!
- Literal-Minded: Sometimes.Niu: So, wait, when you said that the prison would be guarded by a skeleton crew during the speech, you didn't literally mean a—
- She then points out that given the world they live in — she's in a city currently being run by a group of necromancers — it is not an unreasonable assumption.
- Mauve Shirt: A minor and ultimately unimportant character, but look at the size of this character sheet.
- More Hero Than Thou: She tries to fight next to Thanh at the end, but he sends her away.
- Number Two: To Haley, and later to Thanh.
- La Résistance: She prefers "Rebel Alliance".
- Single Tear: After escaping from Redcloak's attack on the Resistance.
- Sole Survivor: Of the Resistance.
- Street Smart: Haley singled her out for this quality.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: To a degree with Ho Thanh; they differ on ways to deal with problems, as Ho Thanh is very direct and Niu prefers to be subversive. However, at no point do they ever fail to work together.
A member of Haley's resistance cell during her insurgency against Azure City's hobgoblin occupiers.
Other resistance leaders
Resistance leader with eyepatch: There can be no truce with the harlot who aided Hinjo's regicide.
Gender: Male & Female
Two leaders of anti-hobgoblin resistance cells which spend more time squabbling with each other than actually fighting the enemy, at least at first. The leader with a topknot thinks that the Order corrupted Hinjo and caused his ruin, while the leader with an eyepatch thinks that Hinjo was already evil and the Order helped him slay Shojo. Consequently, both are reluctant to trust Haley.
Other inhabitants of Azure City
A witch living in a cave underneath one of Azure City's piers.
Gender: Male and female
Children who were forcibly transformed into monsters by the sea witch.
- Baleful Polymorph: They were turned into horrible monsters.
Inhabitants of the island that the Azure City survivors settle on after the city itself is conquered by Xykon.
A long-deceased maid who served the elves that used to govern the island.
- Bad Powers, Good People: As a ghost, most of her powers are pretty frightening. However, Melisander only wants to be helpful to people.
- Demonic Possession: One of her many powers.
- Forced Sleep: Another of her powers, and the one she finds to be most useful when serving the Azurites.
- Maid: Her job.
- Mundane Utility: Uses her spectral powers, such as walking through walls and the above-mentioned Forced Sleep, to help Azurite refugees to get a good night's rest.