Main Character Index | The Order of the Stick | Team Evil | The Linear Guild | The Order of the Scribble | Azure City | Greysky City | The Empire of Blood | Northern Lands | Animal Companions | Divine Beings | Others
The Gods as a Whole
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Destroying and remaking the universe has been done billions of times. Subverted in that with their super memory, they remember all of them.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Combined with Gods Need Prayer Badly, sufficient belief or disbelief can alter a god's nature and this is why Odin is a CloudCuckoolander; the previous world's Northerners were barbarians who considered magic to be nonsense for fools and simpletons. As the god of magic, it did a number on Odin's mind, but Thor says he'll be fine in a few centuries. Thor himself noted that he used to be a redhead until "that comic book" came out. It also screws Loki over, as he can't easily tell the truth or be believed, even when it would be important.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each god has a colored aura that corresponds to the pantheon he or she belongs to: yellow for the Northern Gods, blue for the Southern, red for the Western, green for the Eastern, and purple for the Dark One. This turns out to be very important as the more different pantheons involved, the stronger anything they create will be.
- Determinator: Gods may have a lot of bad qualities, but they sure ain't quitters. They have created millions of worlds, trying out new ways to contain the Snarl each time despite every solution failing in the end. And they aren't planning on stopping any time soon.
- God's Hands Are Tied:
- Gods' powers rely a lot on teamwork within their own pantheon and the other pantheons, as such they need a lot of rules between them to create stronger worlds and avoiding another Snarl born from infighting. It's also partially to keep the non-Good-aligned gods from wreaking havok, since there are more of them than Good gods.
- Gods are also bound on a far deeper level by how their followers view them. They are incapable of acting contrary to their followers' belief. With the rules, they can bend them, exploit loopholes, and even cheat if they think they can get away with it, but it is literally impossible for them to act in a way that is contrary to mortal belief. No matter how much it would be more beneficial for themselves if they could, they simply cannot defy their fundamental nature.
- There are non-supernatural reasons for this as well. Thor tries to explain to Durkon and Minrah that trees are not trying to take over the material plane, and that he doesn't target them deliberately with his lightning bolts. However, this idea is so deeply ingrained in dwarven culture that it goes in one ear and out the other, so he gives up.
- God Is Flawed: Each god of a pantheon shares a divine essence manifesting as a colored aura with others of their pantheon. Creations made by a single pantheon are ephemeral, but creations made by multiple pantheon are stronger and more stable. This is also the reason why the gods are extra-vulnerable to the Snarl while their created world can contain it. Their single essence could not stand against the Snarl's four essences. They are also Not So Omniscient After All even when they are not getting their physique and psyche altered by mortals' belief. Thor mentions Njord, god of seas and wind, has so little focus his constructs wouldn't stay long if he couldn't merge his essence with other pantheons.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly
- The gods' existence predates mortals, showing that not all gods necessarily need mortal worship to be born in the first place, but all of them do need it to sustain themselves. Receiving worship and acquiring souls allows them to maintain and increase their power, and mortals have been known to ascend to godhood by having enough dedicated followers. The way their followers see them also influences the gods themselves (the example given is that Thor used to be ginger until "that comic book" came out). Not receiving worship will cause them to deteriorate, and they will eventually die if the worship gets cut off. Mortals ascended to the various pantheons without enough time to gather power before the next gap between worlds have starved to death in the past.
- Thor explains that there are four things the gods need. Belief that the god exists, active worship of that god in life, dedication of the soul to that god on death, and the soul itself to power the outer plane. Even the old gods can run into trouble if they don't have all these things. Hel has given up the second requirement, and has suffered Sanity Slippage as a result, while Odin is still suffering the effects of the previous world's northerners' dislike of magic. They even made a food pyramid to explain how it works but Thor says they don't use it anymore.
- Sizeshifter: The gods usually are the size of giants, but will sometimes shift down to human size when they want to interact with their followers on a personal level.
- Super Intelligence: Being gods, they have greater perception and knowledge than mortals can have, although they don't necessarily have the wisdom to use it. For example, Thor can remember all his followers' names and prayers but still impregnate a fertility goddess by being too drunk to recognize her.
An immensely powerful god-killing Eldritch Abomination whom many of the main villains wish to harness, each for their own reasons. Born from the dissensions and frustrations of the gods during the first creation of the world. That's the story the heroes have been told, anyway — their own interactions with the rifts to its realm show their information is inaccurate, or at least incomplete.
- Above the Gods: The Snarl is a monster whose power far exceeds the gods, wiping out an entire pantheon in minutes.
- All Your Powers Combined: Or rather All Your Colors Combined, as Thor explains it using an analogy. It was created by the combined essence or "colors" of four different pantheons, effectively making it the most "real" surviving thing in the Stickverse. Since it killed one of those pantheons, and the other three pantheons were never able to find a replacement deity with a different color until very recently, nothing the three pantheons can create can stand up to it. It's also the reason that Thor cannot negotiate with the Dark One: attempting it would almost certainly result in a two-color Snarl.
- Apocalypse How: Class "Universal/Physical Annihilation", it is capable of tearing the world apart in minutes once it is unleashed.
- Beyond the Impossible: Annihilated the Eastern pantheon, when killing gods should be impossible.Durkon: Wait a minute, ye cannae kill tha gods. Tha's impossible.
Shojo: For mere mortals like you or I, certainly, friend dwarf.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Its mindset is unfathomable.
- Continuity Snarl: It's basically this trope turned into an Eldritch Abomination. It came into being because the writers (i.e. gods) kept arguing and overruling each other.
- Deader Than Dead: The fate of anyone killed by the Snarl, because even souls are destroyed.
- The Dreaded: The Snarl is widely feared, to the point where some of the gods won't even speak its name out loud. It eclipses everyone else in the story with its power and has multiple parties doing everything they can to keep it sealed.
- Eldritch Abomination: Even gods are baffled by its existence and nature.
- Escape Artist: One that three separate pantheons of gods haven't been able to contain, even after several million attempts. This is because it was made from all four pantheons, then wiped out the Eastern Pantheon, meaning the three remaining ones can't contain it once and for all without finding a fourth variety of gods to replace the Eastern Pantheon in making a seal.
- Evil Overlooker: In the poster illustrating the Loads and Loads of Characters of OotS, the Snarl takes this role.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The only distinguishable feature in the scramble of threads that is its body.
- Godzilla Threshold: The only way the gods found to stop it was to let it destroy the world and recreate one around it. The Godsmoot seems to be about deciding whether the gods would destroy the current world themselves to avoid losing another pantheon as well as the souls of mortals. This has happened over and over and over again.
- Greater-Scope Villain: It's far more powerful than Xykon and overshadows the entire setting, but isn't personally involved in the plot and probably cares nothing for it.
- The Heartless: It's the embodiment of all the gods' anger, pettiness, and frustration.
- Hero Killer: Aside from the numerous heroes it has killed, it also gives this impression, both in its own time and in the time of the Order of the Stick. Even the gods are afraid of this thing.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Nobody really knows why the Snarl seeks to devour the world. It initially appears to be something of a Generic Doomsday Villain, but the planet inside the rift, which even the gods are unaware of and which the Snarl seemingly has no desire to harm, suggests otherwise.
- Man of Kryptonite: It is theorized that due to its origins, the gods are more vulnerable to being killed by the Snarl than mortals of comparable level would be. Though "comparable level" is a subjective term. Gods in that edition of D&D usually have at least 60 levels even before level adjustment. This turns out to be true. The gods are made of only a single quiddity or "essence" or "color". The Snarl is made out of the combined quiddities of them as well as the Eastern gods'. Mortals are made out of the colors of the three surviving pantheons giving them a leg up, but they are still nowhere near powerful enough to beat this thing.
- Mind-Control Eyes: The people that stare into the rift for a long period of time get purplish eyes. Just ask Blackwing. Or Laurin. Oddly, it's not permanent, and it only seems to have an effect at very close range — an entire platoon of goblins was staring straight into the rift in Azure City from an adjacent rooftop and nothing happened to them.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Most likely, though the revelation of a freaking planet within its rift opens all kinds of cans of worms. And then Thor reveals that millions if not billions of worlds have been destroyed in the process of keeping the Snarl contained.
- Phrase Catcher: The world within the rifts frequently gets the reaction of "I don't understand."
- The Reveal: The existence of the planet within the rift as well as the fact that the Snarl never seems to emerge from the rifts to cause wanton destruction like it is depicted as doing in the lore sequences caused both the protagonists and readers to seriously question whether the Snarl even exists. Come strip #945, the readers are finally shown that yes it does, and it seems to be every bit as dangerous and aggressive as the lore made it out to be.
- The Scottish Trope: The gods themselves don't dare say the Snarl's name directly (except for Hel and Thor), using euphemisms like "the danger of which we dare not speak" or "You-Know-Who". Although that mostly happens at the Godsmoot where mortals can hear them, and we know they want to keep its existence a secret.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Unusually, the can is the whole world. Multiple ones in fact as the Snarl keeps breaking out of it.
- Tailor-Made Prison: The entire planet was created to hold it in a demiplane in the center. Revealed to be subverted into a Cardboard Prison since the world has had to be remade numerous times, due to the Snarl constantly breaking free of its prison. This is because they can't completely tailor-make a prison without a fourth variety of god to match the four types that originally created it..
- Vicious Cycle: The current world is not the second. The world has unraveled many times before. While they have been making gradual improvements and have steadily extended the lifetime of each world from minutes to as long as a couple thousand years, the gods have had to recreate the world countless times as the Snarl escapes its prison. Thor, however, believes the current world may hold the key to finally breaking the cycle and stop it for good.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Artwork in stories told of it (in Start of Darkness and "The Crayons of Time") only portrays it as a ball of crayon scribbles with glowing eyes and clawed "limbs". Strip #945 does not use crayon scribbles, but still conveys this trope.
Northern Gods and Demigods
The pantheon that are primarily worshiped and has domain in the Northern Continent.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Like any other gods in-universe, they have strict rules that even they can't break without causing infighting between them. For example, any clerics can cast spells that take from an element of a god even if he is working against said god's interest. The reason is because they need to work together and make concessions, otherwise they might create another Snarl.
- God Is Good: In comparison to Jerkass Gods, despite having witnessed the creation and destruction of countless worlds before that of the Order of the Stick, some gods still voted to destroy or not destroy the world for honorable reasons.
- Jerkass Gods: Not all of them, but many of them voted to either save the world or destroy it for self-serving reasons. Though to be fair, they've already had to destroy the world so many times that they may well have grown jaded to the whole thing.
- Mercy Kill: Thor explains that in the times they decided to destroy the world, they collected the souls of the mortals before the Snarl got to them. Obviously, this is the better way, as the alternative is Cessation of Existence.
- Public Domain Character: They are based off the gods of Norse Mythology.
- Sadly Mythtaken: Enforced. Burlew has stated that they have more in common with Marvel Comics than actual Norse Mythology. This is lampshaded when Thor says he used to be a ginger until that superhero comic came out.
- Shoot the Dog: Some Gods would prefer destroying the world before risking the Snarl's release, not because they are assholes but because to them the Snarl is too much of a threat to handle carelessly. They have been doing it for so long they know the Snarl always break out in the end so saving the mortals' souls is the best they can do.
Alignment: Chaotic Good (probably)
The god of Thunder, a major power of Asgard. Patron god of Durkon and of most dwarves.
- Badass Bureaucrat: When fighting is not an option because of the rules gods have to abide to, Thor is still a powerful opponent as he knows the rules and their loopholes almost as well as Loki.
- Benevolent Boss: As expected from a good deity. When Thor meets his clerics in the afterlife he acts quite friendly towards them, is careful not to pressure them into coming back to life despite it being in his best interest and even bends the rules a little bit to share Snarl lore with them.
- Big Good: He is one of the few gods willing to give the mortals a chance to save their world and has an actual plan to stop the Snarl after billions of years of it destroying worlds. There may be others such as Odin, Loki, and Rat who may be in on his plan or even started it before him, but he is the main mover by telling Durkon the gods' secrets.
- Blessed with Suck: He's sometimes envious of mortal limitations like imperfect recall. He remembers every mortal who ever worshiped him, including all the ones from the "uncountable" (to mortals, at least) previous worlds lost to the Snarl.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Durkon imagines that his response to a dungeon is to smash it with his hammer and lightning, and go off to drink and flirt. That's what he would do.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: As standard for a God of thunder, his bolts of lightning can fry mortals.
- Brown Note: If he forgets to use his "For-Mortals Voice", the full power of his divine voice is utterly deafening for ordinary souls, and the vibrations make them bodily shake from head to toes.
- The Caretaker: Thor is taking care of his father while Odin recovers from the damage caused by the previous world's northerners' dislike of magic.
- Characterization Marches On: His early appearances depicted him as an oaf who made questionable decisions.namely In the present storyline, he is shown as wise, with a casual personality, not to mention a certain degree of cunning to circumvent the law talking about the Snarl and stalling Hel from cheating.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: As noted above, Thor has to take care of his father Odin after Odin suffered some issues from the last batch of worshipers. This includes when his dad is acting loopy.Odin: Ooooo! Doggie!
Thor: Dad, don't pet it, you don't know where it's been.
- Continuity Nod: The Imagine Spot in Start of Darkness of the Dark One's plan to blackmail the other gods into granting racial equality has Thor getting attacked by the Snarl, saying that Loki was right, and he really shouldn't have taunted the god-killing abomination.
- Deadpan Snarker: Knows how to be a God-tier one.Durkon: Is that na anythin' ye can do ta help us?
Thor: Gosh, I could give you amazing magical spells on demand every single morning. Do you think that might help?
- Did I Say That Out Loud: Thor lets slip Xykon has a secret fortress in the Astral plane.Durkon: ... Xykon has a...?
Thor: Oh, I was probably wasn't supposed to mention that. If you hear about it later, do me a favor and act surprised, OK?
- Drop the Hammer: Being Thor, he wields a hammer, Mjölnir. This is the reason his clerics often use one too.
- Fiery Redhead: Apparently he used to be one, before a certain comic book came along and popularized the idea of him as a blond.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Durkon is a Lawful Good cleric of Thor, a (presumably) Chaotic Good deity. This shouldn't be possible based on core D&D rules. (Clerics can only be a "step" away in alignment to their patron deity so a cleric of Thor would need to be Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, or Neutral Good.) Although OotS Thor is distinct from both Nordic Thor and D&D Thor, so his alignment might not be Chaotic Good at all, or his church might allow Lawful Good clerics (as some do).
- Genius Bruiser: He's a mighty war god, so the "bruiser" part goes without saying, but he's also highly intelligent, very good at Loophole Abuse (a vital trait when dealing with as many treaties as the gods have), and is very knowledgeable about divine and dimensional mechanics. He's a lot like Roy in that respect.
- God Is Good: A bit of an oaf, but he really loves the mortals. His psychopomp gag becomes quite endearing when it's revealed Loki tricked him in a bet with Hel when he was drunk, and he does his best so the dwarves don't get damned because of it. He also cheers up Minrah when they meet in the afterlife. Later on his ploy to stall Hel from taking direct action by arguing on behalf of the Dwarven souls in her dominion has the pleasant side-effect of freeing a good number of them in her realm — the sick, cowards, anyone, he saves all those that died over the last year.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Why he can't nix the High Priest of Hel's spell to cancel his warning storm below — if he did, he would violate the terms of a treaty that allows clerics to use the general spell list unmolested by the gods, and would allow Hel to rain, say, the Black Death on the Dwarven lands without fear of reprisal.
- Honor Before Reason: His vote during the Godsmoot is that he believes they owe it to their followers to give them a last chance at fixing the gates, even if he knows that it means losing many followers to the Snarl if it breaks free. It's more based on a noble sentiment than pragmatism. Subverted later, as he reveals that this world might offer hope to permanently stop the Snarl and break the Vicious Cycle.
- Horny Viking: Yes, he has the stereotypical horned helmet. According to the Giant, "Thor is distinct from both Nordic Thor and D&D Thor," so it's okay.
- Lies to Children: The background information he gives to Durkon and Minrah is explicitly an over-simplified story his audience can understand. They have to ask him to dumb it down a few times because the real details are fairly technical and involve things mortals have no frame of reference for.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: He allows Durkon to use control weather in order to create a lightning strike resulting in a powerful sonic attack, just because he thinks it's a cool idea.Thor: BOOYAH! Direct hit!
Planetar: Lord Thor, I've been reading the description of control weather... and I'm not sure it can actually DO that.
Thor: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you just there. What did you say, again?
Planetar: *sigh* I said, "Nice shooting, sir."
- Loophole Abuse:
- He knows full well that Hel steals any dwarven souls that didn't die honorably, so he stretches the definition of "honor" to ludicrous extremes and made sure all dwarves knew about her bet. For instance, death from alcohol poisoning counts as "honorable" for the livers to have fought the inevitable for so long.Hel: She died of infection, she's mine!
Thor: From a splinter she got while fighting an elm!
Hel: Trees are inanimate plants, you buffoon!
Thor: Bravery knows no limits!!
- He later uses this same loophole to his advantage to distract Hel when she plans to surreptitiously kill Durkon and stop him from interfering with the votes of the dwarven council. She attempts to blow him off by immediately conceding to all of his cases, as she believes she'll get far more souls from her plan coming to fruition, but then Loki comes in with an even bigger pile of paperwork.
- He reveals that the gods have a rule that forbids them from talking to mortals about the Snarl, unless they already know about it somehow. Durkon offhandedly mentioning its name to Minrah is good enough for Thor, because he thinks the rule is dumb.
- He knows full well that Hel steals any dwarven souls that didn't die honorably, so he stretches the definition of "honor" to ludicrous extremes and made sure all dwarves knew about her bet. For instance, death from alcohol poisoning counts as "honorable" for the livers to have fought the inevitable for so long.
- Miss Conception: He should learn to recognize fertility goddesses before impregnating one.
- Mythology Gag:
- A literal one. #1136 acknowledges the fact that one of the domains that Thor rules in mythology are oak trees — and that for some reason, his followers think trees are evil.
- Another one in #1144: to illustrate how mortal beliefs can affect the gods themselves, Thor mentions he used to be a ginger (as in original Norse Mythology) until a certain comic book came out.
- Nice Guy: He treats his Clerics like friends rather than minions, which provides quite a contrast to the callousness of his niece, Hel.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: He attacked the Dark One shortly after the goblin warlord ascended to destroy a powerful evil and avenge the followers he killed when mortal, making it very difficult for them to negotiate — even now that Thor has discovered that the Dark One is the key to sealing the Snarl once and for all. He even admits to this screw-up himself later on.
- No Indoor Voice: At least when at his normal size. He has to remind himself to use his "for mortals" voice.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: Durkon reminds Thor in a long, over 1000 strip Call-Back: Durkon: Ye did almost give me friend Elan a colon tumor wit yer automated prayer system.
Thor: And you almost didn't bring that up, but here we are.
- Pals with Jesus: Well, Pals with Thor. He's depicted as a down-to-earth god, friendly and accommodating to Durkon and Minrah, even taking them on a ride on his back, where he performs loop-de-loops just to fulfill her childhood fantasy. Even during his exposition of the four things a god needs to remain healthy, he's depicted as playing cards with one of his worshipers, who casually asks him to "pass the chips, please." (Though, he's shown as having an annoyed-slash-tired look at the time.)
- The Password Is Always "Swordfish": He gave the password to a secret cache to Durkon, which is "Loki sucks". What's in the cache? A working facsimile of his Mjölnir.
- Psychopomp: In two panels, he disputes with Hel over dwarf souls. Apparently he does this for both those dwarves who die in battle, and those who die of liver-related diseases. And also when it would distract Hel from affairs in the Material Plane.
- Public Domain Character: Thor from ancient myth.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He wants to make sure if Durkon is already willing to go back to the mortal world before asking, because he knows Durkon will do so if ordered and doesn't want to force him out of Valhalla.
- Rule of Cool: He will bend the laws of reality on behalf of his worshipers, if he thinks the result will be particularly awesome. The Twelve Gods of the South do not approve (though it was mainly because he did so on their home turf).
- Saintly Church: The Church of Thor is super honorable, producing such brave and heroic clerics as Durkon and Minrah. At least part of this is due to the fact that they know a dishonorable cleric of Thor goes straight into Hel's clutches.
- Shock and Awe: He's the god of Storms, so of course he wields the power of thunder and lightning, and also confers it to his clerics.Thor: With my ultimate power of the thunders!
- Sizeshifter: Presumably like all gods, Thor can appear of whatever size he desires. When Minrah and Durkon meet him in the afterlife, at first he's absolutely gigantic, the mortals looking like fleas on top of his boot. Then he shrinks down to more manageable dimensions, ending up the size of a tall human next to the dwarves.
- Smarter Than You Look: Despite generally acting like a frat boy, he figures out Hel's scheme either immediately when the High Priest of Hel crosses into his domain, or before, and that if the High Priest of Hel reaches the dwarven homelands, the dwarves could be in a lot of trouble. He decides to warn the Order with a storm. Flashbacks show that, despite being drunk at the time, when Hel makes her bet to have no living clerics in exchange for the souls of every dwarf who doesn't die with honor, Thor helps them out by just telling them about it, ensuring they build a super-honor-bound society. He also remembers all of his worshipers' prayers despite seemingly not paying attention most of the time he hears them. Not to mention his high-level grasp of the underlying metaphysics of both the gods and their creations; it takes all of a single sentence to completely lose Durkon and Minrah.
- That's No Moon!: When Durkon and Minrah reach the Dwarven afterlife, they are standing on what appears to be a Fluffy Cloud Heaven around a tall tower, only for Thor to talk to them, revealing that the clouds are the fur on his boots and the tower is his leg.
- Weapon of Choice: Mjölnir, as per myth.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Sending a storm at the problem is his go-to, either to cause a sonic attack with the thunder or to warn the mortals of a bad omen.
- When Trees Attack: His tendency to blast trees with lightning while drunk has his followers convinced that all trees are inherently hostile. He finds it ridiculous but gave up trying to tell them to not be afraid of trees. Besides, it helps wrenching souls away from Hel's grasp by having dwarves on their death beds "pick a fight with a conifer" to die honorably.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (probably)
The god of Flames and Chaos. Rival of Thor and father of Hel. Patron god of Hilgya Firehelm and the Greysky Cleric.
- Actually Pretty Funny: When he sees that Hilgya is pulling a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! in the battle for the fate of the world (leaving him without an agent on the ground) he comments that he can't even be mad at someone following his teachings so completely.
- Affably Evil: Loki is an amusingly snarky and pretty chill guy and despite his role as enemy/obstructor to Thor, never really does anything that evil and is actually more often a friend or ally. It is solely because the chance to stop the Snarl happened, otherwise he would enjoy trashing the world and damning all the dwarves.
- Archnemesis Dad: He opposes Hel even more than Thor. But only because he wants to permanently stop the Snarl. He'd be proudly supporting her if there wasn't a chance to end the cycle of global destruction.
- Badass Cape: In keeping with his fire theme, he wears a cape that looks like (or perhaps is made of) flame.
- Compulsive Liar: Due to being a trickster god, his worshiper base believes he's literally incapable of honesty — and therefore he is. There is at least an exception for rubbing things in Thor's face.Loki: Half a billion people down there believe I'm incapable of honesty. Do you think I can just go against that when it's inconvenient?
- Corrupt Church: The Church of Loki isn't exactly the most honest organization in the world. Hilgya would rather take her kid into battle than leave him at their daycare.
- The Corrupter: To Hel, before the bet she was a lazy goddess who just got prayers over trivial matters. Then Loki wanted to spice things up and amp up her evil goddess look with the bet. He is even proud of how evil she became. He also gives an out to dishonorable dwarves by following his treacherous teachings so they can escape damnation if they go full cutthroat.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's quite the sarcastic deity, especially toward Thor.Loki: She has flowers in her hair and bluebirds singing around her head. Who did you think she was, the bringer of pestilence?
Loki: Gosh, I didn't know our divine energy color was yellow because we were all a bunch of cowards.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Granted, he's another Cthulhu himself, and one of the codifiers of The Trickster, but he's the reason Hel could not have any mortal clerics, at the cost of instant dominion of dwarven souls who died dishonorably. But then Thor made the dwarves the most honorable society, thus denying Hel most of the dwarven souls that should have been hers. Then it turns out a Cleric following him is able to be dishonorable in whatever way they want and still count as honorable regardless as following their god is the honorable thing for Clerics to do. He scammed Hel twice over.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Threatens Thor that he'll make him pay if Durkon fails to trap the Snarl and he can't betray him fast enough for his daughter to become the new Top God or at least not starve from lack of prayers. There is practically nothing in this scenario that can be held against Thor but Loki will take his grieving out on him regardless.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: He warns Thor against him verbally lashing at the Snarl.Loki: Dude, don't taunt the god-killing abomination.
- Enlightened Self-Interest: For an evil god, he's done a lot of good because it was in his best interests to do those deeds, such as sending one of his clerics to provide backup to the Order of the Stick and opposing Hel's plans because he knows that he's one of the gods who stands to lose a lot from Hel succeeding.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sower of chaos and lies he may be, but Loki genuinely cares about his daughter, Hel. He even says that if the opportunity to permanently stop the Snarl hadn't come along, he'd be in full support of her plan to rule the world when the gods next remake it. He outright threatens to turn on Thor if Durkon screws up in saving the world, especially if Hel doesn't have enough power to survive the new world's creation.
- Evil Gloating: As a Trickster God, the only person Loki can tell the unvarnished truth to is Thor, because he technically puts it down to Evil Gloating.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: Despite his presumed Evil alignment, Loki opposes the world being ended because he finds the current crop of sentient beings entertaining. It's later learned that since the Dark One exists, there's a possibility to defeat the Snarl on a permanent basis, so the cycle that's turned billions of times can finally be broken. This is literally the only reason he's not helping Hel win.
- The Farmer and the Viper: He literally cannot be honest with Hel about why he voted the way he did, because mortal Belief defines him as untrustworthy and incapable of honesty.
- Fire Purifies: Although nominally Evil, considering his opposition to undead, Loki's "Flames" portfolio leans closer to the cleansing/purifying aspect of the element, and that's the way his clerics make use of it. Even their Turn Undead power is described by vampires as burning them.
- Foil: To Thor, fittingly enough. Like Thor he is on the side of the heroes, but unlike Thor he does it out of Enlightened Self-Interest rather than love for the mortals (who he cares nothing about). Thor is The Dutiful Son to Odin while Loki is the (admittedly unwilling) Archnemesis Dad to Hel and supports in principle her bid for Odin's position. Funnily, while Thor admits he would have felt bad if he had to order Durkon to leave Valhalla against his will (implying that he would have), Loki states that he wants to be mad at Hilgya for pulling a Screw It Im Outta Here in the middle of a battle but can't because she's following his core philosophy.
- Friendly Enemy: Seems to have this going with Thor. The onscreen moments they have are either them fighting or making snarky comments to each other. He apparently even helped Thor keep Hel away from the Godsmoot dealings. They also team on stalling Hel from attacking the heroes. However, he outright admits that if the plan to permanently defeat the Snarl were to fail, the friendly part is over. Due to mortals' belief, Thor is also the only person Loki can be honest with, because mortals can believe Loki gloating to his brother with the truth, making him his confidant in some ways.
- Friend or Idol Decision: When the Godsmoot votes to destroy the world. If Loki votes to destroy the world, Hel will be freed from the bet with Thor that is slowly starving her and will receive such an influx of power that it might catapult her to the Top God of the Northern Pantheon in the next world, but there is a risk of losing the Dark One, and the chance to permanently seal the Snarl, forever.
- Genre Savvy: Recognizes a "premature villain gloat" when Hel uses one, expecting her plan to fail, while snarking, "I'm a failure as a parent."
- God Is Evil: Subverted. He's one of the "Evil Gods" (along with Tiamat and Rat), but in practice he's more of an Anti-Villain God, who made a loophole for dishonorable Dwarves to escape Hel, and ultimately helping the heroes' quest in stopping Hel's scheme. He even has a Friendly Enemy going with his supposed Arch-Enemy, Thor. Double-subverted when we find out that the possibility of ending the Snarl threat once and for all, no matter how slim, is literally the only reason he decides to side with the heroes. Were there no such chance, he'd be happy to damn all the Dwarves to Hel's domain and make her Top God of the next world.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Book 6 brings the Gods more into focus and as such the audience is shown the many ways their treaties, pacts, and the rules of magic keep them in check. Loki, of course, does his best to find loopholes where he can even if he can't directly interfere. That said, after Hel's defeat Loki vents his frustrations to Thor about how he's unable to do something as simple as explain himself to his daughter because half a billion people believe him to be a liar. As a direct result of how that belief shaped him, he can't just go against that when it isn't convenient.
- Godzilla Threshold: He basically betrays his own daughter, allies with his own Arch-Enemy and risks said daughter fading out of existence for the tiny sliver of chance of stopping the vicious cycle that has gone for countless eons permanently.Loki: That's the sort of thing you change plans for!
- Hypocrite: Defied: Hel calls him on stopping her from cheating by pointing out it's kind of his thing. Loki replies he's not taking a stand against cheating: it's just in his own personal best interests to stop her from cheating at this explicit moment. Loki's ultimate philosophy is "Do what's best for you," so him stopping Hel from cheating is not any betrayal of his beliefs. He further cements his lack of hypocrisy when he doesn't get mad when Hilgya ditches the battle in favor of getting her child and plane shifting out of the world should things go badly. She abandoned a divine mission he sent her on in favor of her own personal wants and needs, and despite it tipping things against his ultimate goals, Loki couldn't help but be proud of her so openly embracing his teachings despite his desire to be mad at her.
- It Amused Me: He orchestrated the bet between Thor and Hel because he wanted to spice up the current incarnation of the world a little bit. The side effect of Hel turning it into a megalomaniac schemer to become Queen of the Northern Pantheon was completely unexpected; he's genuinely proud of her for turning it around so effectively.
- It's All About Me: By his own admission, he's ultimately motivated by whatever is best for him at any given moment.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The God of Lies and Mischief is... not the nicest guy. But given the kind of deity Hel is, he looks downright pure already. Then it turns out his clerics can dodge the matter of honor and stay out of Hel: no matter what kind of dishonor they perform, they're acting in the interests of their god, so that keeps them out of Hel's grasp. Further, if Hilgya's not just being hopeful, Loki understands that the kind of dwarves who are going to follow the God of Lies and Mischief aren't gonna be interested in the endless beer hall, and set up a lounge in Valhalla. However, he's only not helping Hel win because of the chance to stop the Snarl, if it weren't for that he'd love to help destroy the world and let Hel become the Top God.
- Just Between You and Me: Mortal Belief defines him as untrustworthy and incapable of honesty, so he literally cannot be honest with Hel about his true goals and motives. However, he is able to be honest with Thor because that counts as Evil Gloating.
- Lack of Empathy: Loki doesn't care much about mortals, putting their Afterlife in jeopardy for the sake of a bet that he arranges and voting to not kill them all because seeing them fix the Snarl issue would be funny even if it causes some of them to be erased from existence if things go wrong. His defense of the Dark One is so they can stop the Snarl from ever breaking out but he has no real love for the goblin race's pleas. By his own admission, Loki cares about what's best for himself at any moment.
- Loophole Abuse:
- Although Loki doesn't want Hel to succeed, he can't directly help or send aid due to the rules of the Godsmoot, so instead he replies to Hilgya's pleas to learn Durkon's location, knowing that she'll be able to help the Order.Haley: Leave it to Loki to find a loophole in the rules.
- A Dwarf Cleric following him can be dishonorable and not end up Hel's for this reason: Loki's portfolio includes being dishonorable, so a Cleric following him being dishonorable is being honorable by following the way of their chosen deity. Thus providing an out to Loki's own deal with Hel that still benefits Loki by providing him worshipers.
- Normally, an evil cleric can't turn undead, but Loki put it down that the undead are "icky", and therefore his priests can turn them.
- As a deity of lies and treachery, he literally cannot be honest with most of his fellow deities. But he is able to be honest with Thor, because that technically counts as Evil Gloating.
- Although Loki doesn't want Hel to succeed, he can't directly help or send aid due to the rules of the Godsmoot, so instead he replies to Hilgya's pleas to learn Durkon's location, knowing that she'll be able to help the Order.
- Never My Fault: Subverted one way, played straight in another. He blames himself for not being able to help Hel succeed as doing so would indirectly kill the Dark One, thus ruining their chances to finally seal the snarl. Then he turns around and blames Thor for how weak Hel has gotten. note
- Papa Wolf: He genuinely cares about Hel, and is stuck in a position in which she might actually be erased from existence because of his bet. He's not pleased, and lashes out at any convenient target.
- Public Domain Character: Loki, from ancient Viking myths.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: As the God of Fire and Chaos, he has flaming red eyes.
- Rousing Speech: Surprisingly subverted, given Loki's general portrayal in media. While his plea to not destroy the world because of the Snarl is pretty logical (even noting they can make a provision to destroy it if the Snarl gets free as they'd have time to do so), it's frankly not as convincing as Heimdall's. Then Roy outdoes them both. His argument is pretty much just procrastination and thinking that seeing the mortals cleaning it up would be funny.
- Token Evil Teammate: He is a Jerkass God who likes gambling with the souls of mortals, either by having them fight the Snarl who can destroy their souls or by offering every dishonored dwarves' souls to his daughter because of a bet with Thor, but he is on the side of saving the world. He's only so benevolent because the chance to permanently defeat the Snarl presented itself, he'd be outright helping Hel win if it wasn't for that.
- Trickster God: He is so fond of schemes and manipulations that every mortal who knows of him believes him to be incapable of honesty. He also teaches his believers to simply do what is best for them no matter who they screw over and outright dislikes this incarnation of the world, finding it boring and cliché.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Inverted! When the Dark One ascended to godhood, Loki, Tiamat and Rat defended him from being destroyed by the other gods. Turns out the Dark One's purple divine essence might be the sliver of hope the universe needs to finally contain the Snarl for good.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Undead. His scripture teaches that "lo, they are such gross, icky things", and his clerics all Turn Undead, seemingly ignoring the normal alignment-based rules for that ability.
- Xanatos Gambit: His deal with Hel turns out to be one. If the Dwarves remain honorable, Hel gets no Dwarves, which motivates her to tempt them into dishonorable things, and becoming the evil deity he wants to become. If they chafe too much under the honor code despite fearing becoming Hel's slaves? They can just become one of his clerics, as they no longer have to behave honorably because Loki himself is dishonorable and thus they're following their deity, the most honorable thing a Cleric can do, giving Loki worshipers. Either outcome robs Hel of Dwarf souls and the latter has the added benefit of giving Loki followers. Subverted later on when he spells out his motives; he considered the bet nothing but a game to liven up "yet another fantasy pastiche" and is genuinely worried at how much it's draining her power.
Alignment: Lawful Good (probably)
The All-Father, god of Magic and head of the Northern gods. Thor's father.
- Blade on a Stick: Carries the mythical Gungnir, which presumably, always hits its target when thrown like the old Norse Legends.
- Broken Angel: He has the divine equivalent of brain damage due to the previous world's mortal followers believing magic is dumb — a bad thing for a god of magic in a setting where Gods Need Prayer Badly.
- Clever Crows: His pair of ravens Hugin & Munin, of course.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He often says eccentric lines such as "Aww, but I like puppets!" According to Thor, the Northerners of the previous world were barbarians who thought magic was dumb, and as the god of magic, thanks to Gods Need Prayer Badly, it did a good number on Odin's head. Thor says that he is slowly recovering thanks to the belief of the new world and has good days and bad.
- Crutch Character: A rare non-videogame example. If he was at the top of his game, he would have been so overpowered as to lead his pantheon to defeat the Snarl once and for all or at least play some interesting shadow games. As is, his divine brain damage allows him to see "worlds within worlds and yarn winding yarn" as in, he knows the Snarl made a world in its prison. However, when Durkon off-handedly mentions it, he has no idea what is being referenced, shrugging it off because his mind can process his prophecies or he just plain forgets them. If he was at the top of his game, he probably would've figured out what this all meant and took decisive action on it.
- Dumbass Has a Point: In a more lucid moment, he points out that it is a good thing that God's Hands Are Tied, since it prevents Evil or Neutral gods, which outnumber Good ones, from causing trouble. His point is helped by the Fiends helping the destruction of a Gate and Hel trying to to break those rules when she is convinced no gods are looking.
- Eyepatch of Power: Like the mythical Odin, he's missing an eye and is wearing an eyepatch. It's unclear how much "wisdom" this version earned out of the deal, though.
- Mad Prophet: Because he didn't get the proper worship in the last world, in this one he's basically recovering from brain damage and comes across as senile. He doesn't even remember the prophecy that got Durkon banished. However, his prophecies still come true and some of his rambling can instead be taken for cryptic or muddied wisdom from someone who knows a lot that he can't or won't say.
- Moment of Lucidity: Though still suffering from divine brain damage, in one of his moments of lucidity, he keeps it together enough to explain why it is a net benefit that God's Hands Are Tied.
- Omniscient Morality License: He sent a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy that got Durkon exiled and turned into a vampire loyal to Hel's plans to destroy the world. The Order Lampshades and derides him for this, but then figures out that without Durkon's presence grounding them, they wouldn't have been able to get as far as they have in stopping Xykon and that's why Odin sent the prophecy. Or at least, that's what the Order and Thor thought. Even Thor agreed with the assessment that what happened to Durkon was horrible and is shocked that his Cloudcuckoolander father can't remember doing it at all, calling into question whether Odin even had a master plan that would have made what happened worth it.
- Public Domain Character: Odin, from ancient myth.
- Puppet King: It's implied that Loki and Thor co-rule in his place. He can't rule as well as he used to as his mind is still recovering from the lack of worship and the belief that all magic users (such as himself) were dumb from the last world. This also is what makes it possible for Hel to attempt a coup. If Odin was at the top of his game, he could probably have seen her betrayal coming and countered it. note
- Scatterbrained Senior: The first thing he says to Thor after greeting him in #1145 is saying that he's trying to remember why he's there in the first place. Thor then says he made the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy to get Durkon exiled for the purpose of eventually bringing him to Odin right then... which Odin still doesn't remember but trusts Thor saying that was the case. Fortunately, Thor says that Odin will get better than this eventually.
- Smarter Than You Look: Generally a goofball and almost instated a hand puppet into the Pantheon, but he seems to know more about the Snarl and the world inside of the rifts than almost anyone else. Also, the Order points out that when his high priest gave the prophecy about Durkon to Hurak, he probably foresaw that Durkon would be a necessary part of the team to keep the Order moving forward. Later revelations, though, instead imply that everything working out as well as it did was just a coincidence, considering Odin can't remember making the prophecy, even when reminded by his son. He also points out that the fact that Good gods are a relative minority among the deities means that if God's Hands Are Tied was not a thing to the degree it is, Evil gods could cause damage in the mortal world unimpeded.
- The Stoner: Subtly, but his behavior in #1145 is similar to someone who's stoned on weed. There's a reason the strip title is "The Highfather."Odin: Mortal height is fun! My hands are hand-sized!
- Top God: He's the leader of the Northern pantheon... theoretically. Although the other gods (including Hel) recognize him as such, and he is coherent enough during the Godsmoot to direct the votes through his high priestess, the revelation that the believers' attitude toward magic in the previous world has left him badly mentally imbalanced means that he can't fulfill his duties at all times. (Thor describes him as having "good days and bad days".) There are strong hints that Thor and Loki are picking up most of the slack of the Top God role in stead of their father.
- Vagueness Is Coming: His warning about the rifts is appropriately cryptic for a god.
Alignment: Neutral Evil (probably)
Goddess of the Dead in the Northern pantheon.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: While none of the other gods are terribly close to their mythological counterparts either, Hel doesn't have the split-down-the-middle appearance she's most famous for.
- Antagonistic Offspring: She's Loki's daughter, but she's opposed to her father's (and her uncle Thor's) stance over the survival of the current world. And once her Evil Plan is foiled, her Villainous Breakdown is about how she plans on ordering her followers to slaughter Loki's in the next world. Unfortunately for her, Loki points out she's unlikely to survive the void between worlds in her current condition.
- Big Bad Ensemble: She joins the ensemble of major villains for the comic starting with the final parts of Book 5, with the end goal of letting the world be destroyed so she could collect the souls of every dwarf that dies as it wouldn't count as honourable. Even though her plan is mostly foiled at the end of Book 6, her threat still looms the Order, giving them an extra deadline to stop the Snarl.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: At the Godsmoot, she drops her entire plan to the assembled deities, clerics and bodyguards when she's sure that no-one can stop it. Loki calls her out on the "Premature Villain Gloat."
- Brutal Honesty: Admits up front to Thrym about the Sex for Services trope below, but he refuses to believe her.
- Chekhov's Gunman: She appears first in two gag panels arguing with Thor over the fate of a dwarven soul, with no hint whatsoever that she could be behind yet another faction until the end of Book 5.
- Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Her eyes have faint grey rings around them, giving this impression.
- Didn't Think This Through: She has problems covering every angle. For example, her plan at the Godsmoot gets delayed because one demigod refuses to commit, and her bet with Thor ended up poorly in her favor because Thor simply told the dwarves about said bet.
- Ethereal White Dress: Wears a long flowing white robe reminiscent of a shroud that gives her a ghost-like appearance, consistent with her status as a death god as well as a mentally unstable person and a god on the brink of non-existence.
- Everybody Hates Hades: An extremely evil goddess of the dead. Unlike even other evil gods, she does not have any followers among the living. Her followers are exclusively undead. Her Evil Plan would see her as the new Top God of her pantheon, flooding the nascent new world with undeath. It is her fault as she sacrificed her right to have living clerics in exchange of the souls of any dwarves that die dishonorably, reasoning that souls give power while clerics take it. Since, in the past, people prayed to her constantly just to not die, she never fully understood the role of clerics in creating followers, and she never expected Thor to just tell the dwarves about their bet.
- Fog Feet: Unlike other gods, Hel seems to be lacking legs, her lower body ending in a wisp like a ghost's shroud. It's especially obvious when she's flying.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Something which, fortunately, works in the heroes' favor. Hel can't directly accelerate the diseases they've been infected with, crush them with her unholy power, or just send her armies of death giants and hellhounds to kill them all without breaking the very rules she's attempting to loophole herself into power with. She can only act through proxies and those of her allies, via their followers on the mortal plane. Though it's implied that she is more than willing to break this rule as long as none of the other gods are watching and are able to call her out on it. Like, for example, when all eyes are on a single room where a vote to determine the fate of the world will be decided...
- The Gods Must Be Lazy: In the previous world, Hel received worship from everyone who avoided death, without ever having to do anything at all to get it and never quite realizing that other gods generally have to provide something to gain followers. Now, she's angry that she can only gain souls from dishonored dead, unaware of the obvious irony or, indeed, willing to actually do much to bother making people want to worship her.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Her Evil Plan hinges on drawing the souls of every dead dwarf in the world into her domain. She's also much more unhinged than she was in previous cycles due to a lack of mortal worshipers, and when she overexerts during a furious rant she briefly fades from lacking power.
- Ill Girl: Divine version, courtesy of God Needs Prayer Badly. Ever since she's been missing out on mortal worship, Hel's condition has deteriorated, to say the least. Nothing is more apparent than when she starts to fade out of existence at the end of her villainous rant, though she manages to hold on for the time being. Even Loki is worried that there's a good chance she may not survive the next world's creation if they fail to contain the Snarl.
- Tries to cheat the system in every possible way she can as part of her Evil Plan... and Durkon ruins said plan by invoking an obscure rule that stops the meeting she needs to go through for it to work.
- She's the Goddess of Pestilence, yet at the same time she herself is practically a divine version of Ill Girl.
- It's All About Me: She's so self-centered that she thinks the party's Sphinx Pox microbes should replicate faster to prove they love her. She also thinks that the victim of the bet consigning dwarves who don't die honorably to her realm is her, because she doesn't get the majority of their souls.
- Jerkass: As shown when she's interacting solely with her peers rather than in front of mortals, she's a vain, lazy, and spiteful brat who's boorish, unreasonable, and mean to both her would-be boyfriend and the souls in her power.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Well into her Villainous Breakdown, Hel reminds Loki that those procedural rules that Loki so loves finding loopholes in don't mean a steaming owlbear dropping if the Snarl gets loose; he and Thor and the rest of the gods interested in keeping the world alive have one shot at getting the Dark One to help seal the Snarl away, and if it gets free, either Hel gets the dwarven souls or nobody gets any souls, and in the next world, she'll be free to empower mortal clerics again. Loki (of all gods) has no retort.
- Kick the Dog: Vents her rage and spite on a few dwarf souls polishing her throne by infecting them with horrible plagues, despite them doing what they were told.
- The Man Behind the Man: Specifically, the Goddess Behind the Vampire — vampire Durkon is her servant and high priest, not just Durkon-but-evil.
- Meaningful Name: Hel implies Loki named her that specifically because it goes so well with villain puns, e.g. "They'll have Hel to pay!", while her followers imply that it's the other way around and that the devils tried to capitalize on her existing trademark (though it would be just like Hel to teach her followers that).
- Nightmare Face: When she loses her temper, her face goes sunken and corpselike, with Supernatural Floating Hair and glowing yellow eyes.
- Plague Master: Zigzagged. She can tell when people are infected with diseases and increase their chances of contagion, but she can't speed the normal course of an illness without breaking the rules under which the gods work.
- The Plan: She wants the Godsmoot to vote "yes" for destroying the world, so she can claim the souls of every dead dwarf in the world and make herself the new Top God of the Northern pantheon when they rebuild it. She apparently convinced the demigods to vote on her side (or at least, got the demigods who would vote alongside her to go, since most don't bother sending priests to the event) and her high priest provides the tie to make it happen.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Acts dismissive towards her servants (with the exception of "Durkon") and blames them for their failure to stop the Order of the Stick, despite the fact that he Order would not even have gotten involved if it had not been for her "Premature Villain Gloat".
- Psychopathic Womanchild: Sure her plan is quite well-thought and all, but the way she throws a massive tantrum after Thrym's frost giants fail to stop the hero fits her to this trope.
- Psychopomp: She has custody of the souls of dwarves who died of disease (other than livers-related) and other non-battle deaths.
- Punny Name: Discussed.Thrym: Wow, it must be cool to have a name that lends itself to so many villain puns.
Hel: Yeah, I do actually have to give Dad credit on that one.
- Pyrrhic Victory: She's hoping the Snarl will win by #1176 when her plan fails. This is despite the fact she's unlikely to survive between worlds.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a scathing one to Loki in 1176 that doubles as her Villainous Breakdown.Loki: Pumpkin, you gotta learn to cut your losses. This scheme only got as far as it did because no-one expected it. Now they do. You're not going to win, so—
Hel: YOU'RE NOT GOING TO WIN EITHER! You can't stop the Snarl with procedural rules. You can't stop it AT ALL! Any day now your precious swindlers and cut-throats will be wiped out, just like they always are. Maybe I will get nothing, but you will not get ONE MORE SOUL than me! Once this planet crumbles, I will be free of your wretched wager forever. Free to empower my own living clerics, and as my first commandment, I will task them with SLAUGHTERING your followers in hideous ways wherever they lurk. You will waste away and DIE as your name is erased from every history book. NOW GET OUT OF MY DOMAIN!
- The Rival: Seemingly to Thor, if not full Archenemy, given their conflict over the souls of dwarves. Though Loki may soon take that position.
- Sanity Slippage: Hel was actually much more sane in previous incarnations of the world. Giving up her right to mortal worshipers means that she only has she only has three of the four things that gods need to sustain themselves. Without active worship to round out the belief, and with very limited souls and dedication, Hel has become progressively more unhinged.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Thrym says that it just isn't fair that she no longer receives the worship she never deserved, and being the Entitled Bastard she is, she replies "Exactly!"
- Scary Teeth: Downplayed, but, as goddess of disease, she has yellow-green teeth.
- Sex for Services: Offers Thrym, the frost giant racial demigod, a place as her consort once she takes over Odin's throne in the new world, if he'll help her get it.
- Smug Snake: The moment she arrives at the Godsmoot, Hel partakes in tons of Evil Gloating and boasting about her Evil Plan, especially toward Thor and Loki. The latter calls out her poor judgment in indulging in the "premature villain gloat".
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: Her Villainous Breakdown consists of this and I've Come Too Far.
- Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness: Doubly ironic because she wears white which is traditionally considered clean, and that she is a goddess, but close-ups on her mouth shows that her oral hygiene is rather... lacking.
- Villain Ball: Stops to gloat over her plan at the Godsmoot in rather excruciating detail, allowing Roy to work things out and attempt to intervene.
- Villainous Breakdown: When talking to her father after her plans were thwarted in #1176, she blows up at him, declaring that he can't succeed in stopping The Snarl, and even if she doesn't get a single soul, neither will Loki and that in the next world, her first commandment will be to task her followers with killing all of Loki's and wiping his name from history altogether. It actually leaves Loki looking despondent with how deeply his daughter has come to hate him and how badly his little prank has hurt her. Furthermore to add to the "breakdown" element, she appears to be literally wasting away at the end of her rant, in no small part due to the fact that Gods Need Prayer Badly.
Alignment: Lawful Good (probably)
The God of the Watch, Heimdall speaks up in support for destroying the world to deal with the threat of the Snarl.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Like everyone who voted yes at the Godsmoot, he can't change his vote regardless of falling into Hel's plan. And if the High Priest of Sunna is not just an isolated case, he will have to support the High Priest of Hel if another representative of the pantheon interferes in the fight.
- Good Is Not Soft: He makes the case for destroying the world, and killing everyone in it, to contain the Snarl.
- Horny Vikings: He is a Viking god and his helmet has horns.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Of the Face Palm variety when he realizes Hel manipulated his vote.
- Pragmatic Hero: Heimdall supports destroying the world not out of malice or personal power, but because it is the most cautious option and guarantees the survival of the gods and the souls of mortals. The gods can always create a new world and all the mortals would go their respective afterlives instead of ceasing to be if the Snarl gets free. It's not the first time they did it.
- Public Domain Character: Based on the god from Norse Myth.
- Shout-Out: His high priest is Black. This is a reference to the fact that Heimdall is played by Idris Elba in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Unwitting Pawn: His caution plays right into Hel's hands. Such an action, while sensible, is honorless, and would doom every dwarf in creation to an eternity in the gloomy bowels of her domain, making her the new Top God of their pantheon and the strongest deity in the new world.
Alignment: Lawful Good (probably)
The first king of the Dwarves, who was made into a demigod.
- Deity of Human Origin: Or dwarven origin, in this case.
- The Good King: He was ascended from being the first king of the dwarves who united all clans. This backfires as he is now a god and still abides by said vows.
- Honor Before Reason: God or not he is a dwarf, going back on his word or not following laws is against the core concept installed to save their souls. The dwarven clans are so wrapped in bureaucracy they can't point out blatant tampering of their voting process and Dvalin is the king that upheld this government before ascending godhood. On the other hand, the council is NOT the current Dwarven Parliament. At least one member of the council acknowledges that their position is mostly meaningless now. None of the members thought they were voting on anything significant, so were okay with temporarily dismissing the charge of tampering. When they realized that the vote could literally destroy the world, they panicked.
- I Gave My Word: While still mortal, he made a vow not to act without consulting the heads of all dwarven clans.
- Lawful Stupid: Despite the fate of his entire race being at stake, he insists on keeping an oath that he made as a mortal king where he consults all of the clans on any issue affecting all of them. This gives the High Priest of Hel time to manipulate the clan heads. The resident dwarf gets upset that Dvalin is the last vote for this very reason. On the other hand, when the council's table is destroyed, he recognizes that, by the laws set down, the council has to be suspended. He seems to acknowledge the fact that, technically, the game deciding vote for the vampires hadn't been cast before the table split apart. Therefore, that vote didn't count. Immediately after that, he dismisses himself to the shock of his cleric.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Technically a king, but he functions as a President Focus Group. Dvalin never made any major decision without consulting the clan heads, despite having the authority to do so.
- Public Domain Character: From Norse myths. Dvalin is one of the named dwarves.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The other interpretation depending on if he knows about the plan with the Dark One or not. He always asks the council to vote because he wants to know the will of the people. Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, a few of the Dwarven leaders were okay with the idea of committing the mass sacrifice of their race if it meant saving the rest of the world's inhabitants from soul destruction. If he does know about the plan and believes it's possible, then he's jeopardizing it stupidly. If he doesn't know or thinks the idea won't work, then he has no reason to ignore his oath to the council. They deserve a say in what happens to their race regardless as to whether or not Hel is making a power play. What remains to be seen is what he would have done if Hel managed to sway the vote using vampiric domination. Everyone (in and out of universe) just assumes he would have gone along with it.
- Small Role, Big Impact: He's not in the comic much but his decision not to vote without the advice of the Dwarven clans changes Hel and the Order's plans, setting up the final confrontation between the High Priest of Hel and the Order.
- To Be Lawful or Good: If it was just him he would have broken the tie and ruin Hel's plan right away, but he refuses to break his oath he made when he was a mortal king even when it is said that the system will be abused. Gods also can't go against mortals' belief so he is likely unable to break his oath.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil (probably)
The demigod of the frost giants.
- Benevolent Boss: Defends the efforts of his followers to Hel and argues that they did their best and that that's all that matters. Hel disagrees, obviously, but it's a surprisingly understanding attitude for a probably-evil god to take.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Tries to be an Understanding Boyfriend to Hel despite her having no real interest in him aside a pawn in her plan and being honest about it. He'll even try fighting Thor for her.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Is willing to do anything to make Hel select him as consort, even though she's quite honest about only using him, as said by Thor in strip 1170:Thor: Dude, she's just not that into you. You're embarrassing yourself.
- Literal-Minded: He takes a metaphor Hel makes about "pulling their own weight" literally.Hel: Well at least somebody is pulling their own weight around here.
Thrym: Not fair! He's very tiny, his weight is a lot less than mine!
- Love Makes You Dumb: Is willing to end the world and kill all his worshipers just so Hel agrees to make him her consort.
- Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Hel is the vile and serious Arc Villain of Book 6 while Thrym is the laughable incompetent lackey brought in for comedy relief.
- Villainous Valour: He may be a villain simply by association with Hel, but he's certainly not a coward. When Thor himself irrupts into Helheim, Thrym is very ready to fight him. Remember that he's just a demigod while Thor is a full-fledged god, and it is Thor's specialty (both mythologically speaking and under most D&D rules) to vanquish frost giants.
The Twelve Gods
The pantheon with dominion over the Southern continent, including Azure City. Based on the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac: Dragon (the leader of the pantheon), Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, and Hare.
- Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Like the Norse divinities, they aren't terribly accurate to the Chinese belief systems they're aping, but they aren't intended to be either.
- Eastern Zodiac: Specifically the Chinese zodiac.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being an ally of the Dark One and presumably supporting The Plan, Rat is not happy about what the Goblins have done to Azure City, according to Thor.
- Everyone Has Standards: There is additional material that states they fell a few paladins for cleansing Redcloack's village, even though they are partly responsible for making the goblins XP folder.
- Fantasy Pantheon: One of three.
- Instant Awesome Just Add Ninjas: Monkey believes this, as we have him to thank for ninjas being a part of the setting.
- Pillar of Light: Manifested to shut down someone that breaks a covenant with them. (spoiler:"Fading")
- Stealth Pun: Rat was one of the gods who detailed for the Dark One the gods' plan for goblins and the nature of the Snarl. He ratted them out.
- Token Evil Teammate: Rat is portrayed as an ally of the Dark One and other evil gods.
- Top God: Dragon is portrayed as the leader of the Twelve Gods, on the same level as Odin and Marduk for their respective pantheons.
The leader of the Western pantheon (equivalent to Odin or Dragon in this regard). Marduk can be seen in Lord Shojo's tale about the making of the World and the origins of the Snarl.
- Ambiguously Brown: Has red-brown, brique skin.
- Extra Eyes: Has four eyes.
- Hufflepuff House: Him and his pantheon gets little play compared to the others, their Godsmoot vote is also shared with the Elves' gods.
- Manly Tears: Thor mentions that he cried when they made a grave for the first Earth the Snarl destroyed.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Four arms.
- Public Domain Character: A version of the late-generation Mesopotamian deity.
- The Quiet One: For the whole "Crayons of Time" arc, he doesn't say a word. Both of his lines are in Start of Darkness. The first is a simple procedural question about Dragon's world-guiding idea. The other is an attempt to placate The Dark One, who interrupts and shoots it down.
- Top God: Head of the Western pantheon.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
The five-headed dragon goddess, progenitor of all evil dragons. One of the few allies of the Dark One. She grants the Oracle his powers.
- Breath Weapon: In five flavors: acid, cold, fire, poison gas and lightning.
- Cassandra Truth: The only Western God that has actually met the Dark One, and as such is the only Western God who knows about his purple quiddity. When she told the rest of her pantheon, none of them believed her because, well, she's Tiamat.
- Cycle of Revenge: Is livid about Vaarsuvius killing one-fourth of all black dragons, and is going to take it out on all the good dragons of the world.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: Is protecting the Dark One in hopes of permanently containing the Snarl and saving the world.
- Mama Bear: After V's familicide, she contacts Lee and make him promise five good dragons for every evil ones dead as payback.
- Monster Progenitor: She is the mother of all evil dragons.
- Multiple Head Case: Tiamat has five heads, each of a different color: white, green, black, blue, and red. The colors correspond to the five kinds of chromatic (evil) dragons.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Progenitor of all evil dragons, has five heads, and a god.
- Physical Goddess: The patron god of evil dragons.
- Reaching Between the Lines: Her five breath weapons go through the Lower Planes' telephone lines, badly singing Lee.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Inverted! When the Dark One ascended to godhood, Tiamat, Loki and Rat defended him from being destroyed by the other gods. Turns out the Dark One's purple divine essence might be the sliver of hope the universe needs to finally contain the Snarl for good.
- Voice of the Legion: With five heads, what do you expect?Succubus secretary: Director? Ms. Tiamat is holding on lines 2, 3, 5, 8, and 11.
- You Have to Believe Me!: None of the other Western Gods believe Tiamat when she says that The Dark One has a new Quiddity.
Alignment: Neutral Evil
The Western Pantheon's God of Death. Malack is one of his clerics.
The Eastern Gods
The gods of Olympus, who (as their name implies) ruled the east of the first world. They were the first victims of the Snarl, who killed them all to a man. Known members of their pantheon included Zeus (the top god), Ares, Pan, Apollo, Hades, Poseidon, Demeter and Aphrodite.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The significance of their destruction doesn't stop with a demonstration of the Snarl's power. Without them, the other three pantheons could never create a prison strong enough to permanently contain the Snarl, as it was created with their help and effectively more "real" for having four different sources of divine power.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The Snarl cut through them incredibly quickly.
- Lord Shojo: Malevolent and powerful, it wanted nothing more than destruction. It slew Apollo and Ares outright in the first round of combat.
Then it systematically executed the remainder of the Eastern Gods: Hades, Poseidon, even gentle Demeter and fair Aphrodite. All of them.
Wise Zeus died last, still wondering what had happened.
- Deader Than Dead: Like all victims of the Snarl, they aren't coming back, and no-one save a select few even know they ever existed at all.
- Elephant in the Living Room: The priests in the mortal realm tell worshipers not to ask why there aren't gods of the east anymore, and since no-one sees anything too odd about this, they don't.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: As a necessity, the remaining gods can't let anyone know about these guys, in case someone learns about the Snarl in the process.
- Public Domain Character: They're the Ancient Greek gods.
- Sacrificial Lion: They're horribly killed by the Snarl to show how powerful it is.
- The Worf Effect: Ares, their god of war, died in the first round of combat against the Snarl to prove how utterly pointless it is for the gods to fight the Snarl. Lord Shojo even speculates that their godly nature made them more susceptible to the Snarl's attack. Thor confirms that being a creation of four pantheons the Snarl can cut through any gods because of how divine magic works.
The Dark One
Class: Unknown (possibly Marshal)
Alignment: Lawful Evil
The evil god of all goblinoids. Originally a goblin warlord born with purple skin, he united many tribes in a mighty army threatening the human lands. He was killed through treachery, but had so many followers that he rose to godhood. Now he plans to upset the status quo between PC and monster races by using the Snarl as a bargaining chip. He's working to this end through his true prophet, the bearer of the Crimson Mantle.
- Aggressive Negotiations: In the prequel book Start of Darkness, we see that this is how The Dark One ultimately met his end: he was murdered while attempting to negotiate a peace settlement with the human, dwarven, and elven kings. Rather than ending the war, it made things far worse, as the goblins swarmed upon their enemies, inflicting huge losses in vengeance for their fallen warlord, who as a result ascended to godhood.
- Anti-Villain: He wants a better life for his people. Before he was betrayed, he didn't do much in the way of evil. He gathered the various goblins tribes under one banner but didn't order an attack. He planned to talk things out instead. According to Right-Eye, he may have been this at first, but soon degenerated into "a petty spiteful god" who doesn't truly know, or care, about the goblin people more than revenge.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Thor thinks his is "totally metal".
- An Axe to Grind: His weapon of choice, both as a mortal and when about to fight with other gods is an axe.
- Beard of Evil: Sports a goatee, and is listed as Evil.
- Deity of Human Origin: More exactly, Deity of Goblinoid Origin — the number of his followers allowed him to transcend his mortality and become a god. This is a plot point, as it makes him a unique type of god different from the other pantheons, with an entirely new "essence". This creates the first opportunity for a four-color seal since the Eastern Pantheon was wiped out.
- Ethnic God: Well, Racial God. Upon ascending to godhood, he becomes the patron god of the goblin peoples. However, the concept of this is deconstructed a bit with the discovery of millions of world preceding this one and coming in all sorts of flavors, meaning the gods had various vastly different worshipers each time. Thor actually points out a few with a gritty Cyberpunk world, a world with Talking Animals, and a world of gritty cyberpunk talking animals, even naming an implied worshiper in Laser-Snail. He even notes a world of sentient movie theater snacks (a hilarious Brick Joke from 800 strips ago). It makes the idea of ethnic/racial gods seem rather ridiculous in this context. In fact, Durkon alludes to this when he tells off Redcloak, noting that the next world may not even have goblins or other humanoids, possibly consisting of talking fish or even sentient lamp posts.
- Evil Counterpart: To Thor. Both are gods aware of the danger of the Snarl, but Thor cares for the individual lives of his worshipers and is considerate of their choices to stay in the afterlife. In contrast, the Dark One hasn't shown opposition to his high priest sacrificing countless goblin lives in pursuit of their goal. For bonus points, as a mortal the Dark One had slain many of Thor's followers.
- Flashback: So far has only appeared through "crayon" flashbacks or as an illusion, never in the current action.
- Freudian Excuse: He was born as cannon fodder and died when his attempt at parlay failed. Now a god he'll rather endanger all the mortals and gods than work with some to help the goblin race.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from just another goblin to be slain for XP (albeit one with better-than-usual stats) to a warlord, and then a god.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: It was hoped assassinating the Dark One would demoralize and dissolve his followers. Instead, it enraged them enough to embark on a year-long crusade of vengeance, which allowed the Dark One to ascend to godhood and learn about the Snarl.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He is unable to personally involve himself in the plot, leaving Redcloak to carry out his will. Even then, he has never once made direct communication with Redcloak, who has been serving him for thirty five years. His only known message to him is "Don't screw this up." (He then adds "no pressure, though".)
- Hard Work Hardly Works: The Dark One was born as a more-powerful-than-usual goblin. He survived countless battles and eventually became the most powerful goblin in their history. He then built the greatest alliance of goblinoid species in history and brought it to the gates of his enemies. Then he was killed quickly and without a fight via sneak attack. Even after rampaging across the land in revenge, his army was no match for the combined forces of the PC races. Nowadays, as a god, he's changed tactics.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His backup plan if his plan to seize the gates fails is to destroy the world so that he can participate when the gods build a new world. According to Thor, this will almost certainly fail, because Gods Need Prayer Badly and he won't have stockpiled enough to remain a god during the transition.
- The Dark One expects to use the Snarl as a tool to blackmail the Gods so the Goblins will stop being experience fodder for PCs. Thor reveals that the Dark One might be what the Gods need to finally imprison the Snarl forever.
- Redcloak once explained that even if the world is destroyed by the Snarl, then The Dark One would be included in the creation of the new world, resulting in a win-win situation for him. Then Thor reveals that despite his power, The Dark One is most likely too weak to survive the transition period into the next cycle, meaning he has to get involved now or risk oblivion and the Vicious Cycle never ending.
- His Plan to create a paradise for goblinoids through blackmail of the other deities is all to ensure that nobody can take a new homeland from his people... except Redcloak already did ensure that nobody will take that new homeland away by obtaining trade treaties and articles of legitimacy from twenty other countries, then killing off the resistance. How did the Dark One do this? By letting Redcloak conquer Azurite territory in pursuit of the Gate they immediately lost. He accomplished his mission already. He doesn't need to keep risking the world ending from Xykon growing beyond Redcloak's control, but he's now seeking vengeance to such a degree that he hasn't even noticed his original objective's incidental accomplishment. In addition, he's shut himself off from other evil god allies, and pissed some of them off due to the events at Azure City.
- Hell, his Plan was already being fulfilled before the series by Right-Eye, who in his older years was cultivating a mixed civilization of humans and goblins. Had Redcloak followed his example, they could've created their own nation and promoted goblins without The Dark One losing any of his allies.
- More than any of the above, the Plan was unnecessary to begin with. The Dark One's status as a fourth color god meant he could have gotten everything he wanted from the other gods in exchange for the ability to finally end the cycle. Furthermore, Loki, Rat and Tiamat were already laying the groundwork for negotiations. All the Dark One had to do was wait.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: He wasn't through the preamble before an assassin killed him while negotiating with the leaders of the humans, elves and dwarves.
- The Man Behind the Man: He's the goblin god behind the goblin high priest, namely Redcloak.
- Noble Wolf: His mount while a mortal is a wolf. Redcloak and other goblins would insist that it is a noble creature bearing the savior of his people.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: He's solely known as "The Dark One" nowadays. According to Redcloak, "His real name has been lost to antiquity."
- Purple Is Powerful: The only purple goblinoid we've seen, and he's the most powerful of his kind of which we know, to where the number and devotion of his followers allowed him to transcend his death and become their literal god. As his godly aura is the only purple one, Thor thinks it has massive implications for the war against the Snarl thanks to All Your Colors Combined.
- Rage Against the Heavens:
- Initially, he's had a beef with his fellow mortals (humans, elves, etc.). After he becomes a god himself and learns the truth about the purpose of his race, however, he's understandably pissed.Dark One: [to Marduk, Odin, and Dog] YOU! You did this to us ON PURPOSE? You made us and the humans, but they get to be PC races while we are slaughtered by adventurers?
- This ends up making the Dark One the key to imprisoning the Snarl permanently. Previous ascended mortals joined one of the existing pantheons, giving them the same divine auras as those pantheons; the elven gods were added to the Western Pantheon while the dwarven and frost giant gods were added to the Northern Pantheon. The Dark One was so outraged at all three pantheons that he remained separate from them, causing him to develop his own divine aura that is distinct from both the three existent pantheons and the lost Eastern Pantheon. Unfortunately, this is also the reason Thor can't just head to his domain and tell him about this himself: he doesn't get along well at all with the other gods and could potentially create a second, though much weaker two-color Snarl.
- Initially, he's had a beef with his fellow mortals (humans, elves, etc.). After he becomes a god himself and learns the truth about the purpose of his race, however, he's understandably pissed.
- Revenge Before Reason: He once had friendships with several other evil gods, who were hoping to negotiate a deal with him to deal with the Snarl once and for all with his unique purple essence. But when he learned about the gates, he instead severed all ties with them, murdered Loki's messengers, and angered Rat with the destruction of Azure city. Right-Eye points out he is more motivated by spite than anything since he ascended godhood.
- Savage Wolves: His mount while a mortal is a wolf. Humans would argue that is is one more mark of a villainous warlord that will destroy their civilization.
- Shoot the Messenger: He liquefied Loki's emissaries to show he doesn't want the God of Mischief's aid.
- Spanner in the Works: Thor indicates that his presence may be the catalyst to turn the world into a permanent prison for the Snarl.
- Übermensch: Starting out as an above-average goblin, he becomes a warlord and then a god, all with the purpose of defying the natural order (namely, his people being designated fodder for adventurers) for the sake of his people... and is willing to gain access to an Eldritch Abomination to do so. Subtly being deconstructed over time, since while his defiance of the natural order for the sake of his people is admirable, his refusal to cooperate with the other gods and insisting on his own path is proving to be a bad idea. Namely that he's making assumptions that he can survive the world's destruction only for it to be revealed that his lack of devoted followers in quality and quantity means he ain't gonna survive to try and reshape the world with the others.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Loki and Rat saved his life from Thor, and Rat filled him in about the Snarl. Upon coming up with a plan to blackmail all the gods, he repaid them by liquefying Loki's emissaries and permitting his High Priest to conquer Azure City, wiping out a good chunk of Rat's followers. Needless to say, Rat was furious.
- Vagueness Is Coming: Averted with his message for Redcloak — "Don't screw this up."Redcloak: Well, as theological revelations go, I guess that's refreshingly direct.
Jirix: Then he added, "No pressure, though", which I thought was nice.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He threatens all of creation with extinction in order to make a better life for the goblins. Subverted in that related humanoids (bugbears and such) are very low priority to him, and said races aren't very religious. This turns out to be a Plot Point, since The Dark One won't survive a universal reset — he doesn't have enough devoted followers.
- Wham Line: Thor gives one on his behalf as a possible answer to The Snarl:Thor: There's a new color in the crayon box.
Alignment: (probably) Chaotic Good
A small hand-puppet carried around by Elan, Banjo is the God of Puppets. Although made up on the spot by Elan one day, Banjo still just barely counts as a god due to the sheer strength of Elan's belief in Him.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Make no mistake, Banjo is definitely a god. He just happens to come in the form of a googly-eyed hand-puppet.
- Arch-Nemesis: Giggles, the puppet God of Slapstick and his evil brother, who manages to have a whole island of worshipers, compared to Banjo's Elan.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Banjo is a god of peace and love, but even he isn't above smiting non-believers (like Roy).
- Cannot Tell a Lie: Banjo will not lie, even to defend his only worshiper from the accusations of the Sapphire Guard.
- Cargo Cult: Since Banjo is an inanimate puppet, by definition any cult of his is a cargo cult. The same applies for Giggles.
- Eating Contest: How Banjo and Giggles settle their differences. With pies.
- Eldritch Abomination: Banjuhlu, who looks oddly similar to Banjo, save for the fact that he has tentacles for a face. What relation Banjuhlu has to Banjo is as yet unknown.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Banjo sure does. The last time he tried to smite someone (Roy), he could only summon an incredibly tiny thunderbolt.
- Healing Hands: At some point after the Empire of Blood arc, Banjo has acquired a doctorate and healing abilities. Considering a whole island of orcs believes in him, if only as the Good Counterpart of a much more important god, this isn't out of the question. Though the fact Elan also has access to healing spells might have something to do with this as well.
- Human Sacrifice: The tribe of orcs tried to sacrifice Lien to Banjo. Whether he would have accepted the offering is unclear.
- Meaningful Name: Always carries a banjo on his person. That's why he's called Banjo, as Elan helpfully makes clear.
- Oddly Small Organisation: He has a grand total of one worshiper, and that's Elan. He did have a small island of orcs, for a time, but they soon decided to convert to Giggles. However, as Giggles' brother, the orcs still believe in Banjo anyway.
- Orange/Blue Contrast: Banjo wears a blue robe, while his brother Giggles wears an orange one.
- Perpetual Smiler: No matter the situation, Banjo is always smiling. This is in direct contrast to his brother Giggles, who is a perpetual scowler.
- Trade Your Passion for Glory: He almost got into the Northern Pantheon, but Elan decided otherwise on Banjo's behalf, much to Odin's disappointment. And now it's a (spoiler) Plot Point.
Alignment: Lawful Good
A powerful celestial warrior summoned by Gin-Jun to help him attack the Gorge Ravine outpost and finally find the Crimson Mantle.
- Bald Woman: She mentions having freshly shaved for the date her summoning pulls her out of.
- Deadpan Snarker: Half of the Planetar's dialogue is snarking at Gin-Jun's expense and being all-around irritated by the situation.
- Flaming Sword: Wields a sword of flames.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: The Planetar does this to (a very deserving) Gin-Jun. When Gin-Jun orders the Planetar to fly him personally to the goblin outpost so he can slaughter the goblins, she bluntly refuses and pointedly tells the proud Gin-Jun — whose status as the leader of the Sapphire Guard meant everything to him — that his orders don't matter anymore because he's been expelled from the Sapphire Guard.
- Our Angels Are Different: This is a celestial creature that is currently bound to Gin-Jun's orders, but only if the orders don't grossly violate ethical rules.
- Winged Humanoid: An extremely tall humanoid with two gigantic wings.
For Sabine, see The Linear Guild.
The Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission
Lee: Everything is coming together quite nicely.
Cedrik: Yes, we've certainly thrown our chips in the pot now, haven't we?
Alignment: Lawful Evil (Lee), Neutral Evil (Nero), Chaotic Evil (Cedrik)
Lee, Nero, and Cedrik: three powerful beings from the lower planes dedicated to uniting the factions of evil. So far this has meant appearing to Vaarsuvius in a desperate moment and granting V unprecedented arcane power by "splicing" V with the souls of three evil mages. Their long-term plans remain mysterious, but they require V to stay alive and involve the Gates.
- Affably Evil: They are nothing if not polite to Vaarsuvius during their deal making. They even offer the elf an alternative solution that doesn't involve leasing V's soul.note They also seem to be very pleasant employers. They hire Qarr immediately for his help in preparing their deal with Vaarsuvius, and while they're understandably unhappy about Sabine breaking their very nice television after Tarquin kills Nale, one simply comments that it's coming out of her holiday bonus, and the next strip shows Sabine cleaning up the mess.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: A negative take on this trope. This trio doesn't want decisive victories for either good or evil on the mortal plane, but rather continuous, destructive, unnecessary conflict, for the sake of their own plans. This is partly why they engineer the deal for V's soul — they knew that, given enough power, V would very likely attack Xykon, and force him out of his comfort zone after months of the lich occupying Azure City.
- Benevolent Boss: They hire Qarr because they like a go-getter and treat him and Sabine with a lot of respect for beings made of evil. (That, and Qarr is lawful and do as they say.)
- Big Bad Triumvirate: They lead the IFCC equally, though each is answerable to superiors on their own plane. Whether or not they're real Big Bads or just another competing faction remains to be seen.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: The only feature visible on them are their glowing eyes, Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
- Chekhov's Gunman: First seen in "While the Fiend's Away...", but not formally introduced until much later. Heck, they were mentioned way back near the beginning — Sabine explicitly said that she'd been sent "by the archfiends" to be Nale's consort/sidekick. These guys are the archfiends in question.
- The Chessmaster: They are shaping up to be Chessmasters in a grand style, not only manipulating V, and the Order through them, but also Team Evil and the Linear Guild as well. Lampshaded with the title of strip #668, "Moving the Pieces". Considering one of their masterstrokes is simply holding Vaarsuvius still for a mere 20 minutes, they're strong contenders for the top chessmasters in the series. Taken Up to Eleven with the revelation that they may be (indirectly) manipulating the gods themselves, as they strongly imply that they've been working Hel's agenda towards furthering their own goals.
- Circling Monologue: They once move in a circle around Vaarsuvius during their deal pitch.
- Color-Coded Characters: All three look identical except for the color of their eyes, which is also reflected in the text of their speech bubbles and the color of their magic auras. Lee's is yellow, Nero's purple, and Cedrik's orange.
- The Corrupter: They are collectively corrupting agents for Vaarsuvius. Sabine states that she'd seen them "take down" mortals way more righteous than the True Neutral wizard.
- Cosmopolitan Council: The Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission is a "community-based grassroots organization dedicated to building bridges between the diabolic, demonic, and daemonic populations."
- Deal with the Devil: As well as the Daemon and Demon. They make one with Vaarsuvius: power in exchange for a time share on V's soul.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: They are. Both kinds. Plus a Daemon director.
- Didn't See That Coming: They did not expect V to go that overboard with punishing the dragon. Not a big set back to their plan, but Lee realizes it means he'll have some explaining to do to Tiamat about why a fourth of the black dragons just died.
- The Dividual: They always talk and act as a trio. They're basically interchangeable, and despite being supposedly of different evil alignments, don't really have distinct personalities. Sabine describes their team dynamic in #903, but they'd still be identical without the color-coding.
- Early-Bird Cameo: First show up in a flashback commissioning Sabine to let them know of anything that might tip the balance of Good and Evil in their favor. It's well over three hundred strips later that they get a proper introduction.
- Equivalent Exchange: The IFCC make it very clear that this is how they operate, as a permanent Your Soul Is Mine would be blatantly unfair. Every moment V has control of a given Soul Splice imparts an equal moment that their soul spends with the director responsible for that soul; if they keep a hold on all three souls for one minute, they spends one minute with each. V loses Nero's splice with Haerta after 3:06, and holds on to the splices with Ganonron and Jephton long enough to give Lee and Cedrik 20:35 each. They conveniently neglect to mention that they can call that in whenever, so Cedrik calls in his time to stop V from acting at a crucial moment.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- They consider pedophiles acceptable targets.
- They were briefly shocked speechless when Vaarsuvius used the familicide spell.
- While they may neglect to correct V on any assumptions made (such as being able to take possession of their soul before they die), they will not violate their contract (like by putting another soul in V's body, as their contract did not give them possession of it). They may be evil, but they pride themselves on fantastic customer service.
- Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: The Trope Namers, they both play with this trope in several directions. On one hand, they aren't going to ally with or openly assist Xykon just because he's evil, because to them he's just another piece in the game; on the other, one of their long-term goals is to unite the three warring races of Fiends into a single alliance.
- Evil Plan: They seem to have one of these going but for the first several hundred pages it's a Hidden Agenda Villain thing.
- Exact Words: The IFCC tell V that they'd have a claim to the elf's soul for the amount of time V spent with the soul splices. The fact V assumed they meant after death isn't something they bothered to correct the wizard over.
- The Facelesses: Their robe hoods shadow their face except for their glowing eyes.
- Fake High: They explain that a good way of getting a good person to do evil things is to convince them they're not responsible, and Cedric likens it to someone getting drunk on non-alcoholic beer because that's what they expect. Nero's followup comment implies Cedric is speaking from experience. Considering that fiends have a racial immunity to poison in general, this is a double whammy of Fake High as he wouldn't get drunk even if he downed an entire keg of 100% pure alcohol.
- False Reassurance: During their whole speech to entice Vaarsuvius into making a deal with them, they are honest. Almost everything they say is perfectly true, including the fact that V would keep control during the Soul Splice, save for the feelings of omnipotence it could induce. Even their stated long-term goal is probably the entire truth; since it wouldn't unfold before millennia, they certainly weren't worried that V would care enough about it to refuse. They just omit some critical details, like when they would take custody of V's soul afterward (not correcting the elf's assumption it would be after death), nor what is their short-term goal (which involves the Gates). The only outright lies are that Vaarsuvius just happened to be next in line for requesting a deal, when they targeted the wizard specifically, and that all they want out of the deal is to prove their concept.
- Footnote Fever: They put footnotes in their speech.Cedrik: Magical powers beyond your wildest imaginings!*
Nero: *Based on typical wild imaginings of previous customers matching your demographic profile. Additional terms and restrictions may apply.
- Freudian Trio: With Cedrik as the Id, Lee as the Superego, and Nero as the Ego, at least according to Sabine.
- Gambit Roulette: The IFCC really did get lucky with their plan. Expecting that Vaarsuvius would attack Xykon with the powers they gave the elf? Reasonable. Hoping that the attack would be effective enough to piss off Xykon, not powerful enough to kill him and that V would still be able to escape Xykon? Yeah, there was a lot that could've gone wrong. The IFCC even admits that they had no way to interfere and that their plan wasn't perfect.
- Glowing Eyes: Yellow for Lee, orange for Cedrik, and purple for Nero. That's the sole facial feature that can be seen in the shadow of their hoods.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: They briefly discuss their goals with Qarr, but ultimately decide it's too much exposition to reveal now. They involve V, the Gates, and Xykon. Sabine has been on their side from the beginning and even she only knows half of what they're up to.
- Loophole Abuse: Their contract with Vaarsuvius dictates that each of them are granted a claim on V's soul. The contract never said that V has to be dead for them to call upon their claim.
- Manipulative Bastard: Through use of Reverse Psychology, they try to convince Vaarsuvius to make a deal with them in the most blatant way possible... and they succeed. Then they imply that the spliced souls have the ability to influence V, even though they actually have no control at all. "We simply don't need to trick you if we can get what we want by playing it straight" sounds a LOT like "we're being honest" without actually meaning that at all.
- Meaningful Name: Lee, Nero, Cedrik — LE, NE, and CE are the abbreviations D&D uses for the three evil alignments.
- Mr. Exposition: Being Messrs. Exposition is a good part of their role in the story, but they know when to stop before giving spoilers.
- Number of the Beast:
- Averted (inverted?) with their address, which is "9 Hells Plaza, Lower Planes 00999".
- Note also that "Moving the Pieces", the strip where they enunciate their sinister mobiles, would have been strip #666 if not for the tribute pages to Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: V's Soul Spice is accompanied by the choir of dead pedophiles, because an ascention to utimate arcane power just isn't complete without apropriate background music.
- Our Demons Are Different: They consist of a devil, a demon, and a daemon. Their challenge is proving that different kinds of fiends can work together.
- Pass the Popcorn: While scrying on soul-spliced Vaarsuvius, one of them prepares popcorn.
- The Plan: The Deal with a Mortal they made is just the start of it. It could be a Gambit Roulette altogether, since they admitted themselves that they couldn't control all aspects of their plan. The ultimate goal is (apparently) to put an end to the Blood War in favor of uniting their respective races to overrun the heavens.
- Power Trio: Although it's not too evident for the times we see them, according to Sabine, Lee (Lawful Evil Devil) is the careful planner, Cedrik (Chaotic Evil Demon) is the intuitive, gutsy one, and Nero (Neutral Evil Daemon) keeps them working together.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Lee isn't thrilled at having to explain their plan and its consequences to Tiamat over the phone lines.Lee: [facepalming] Oy.
- Time Stands Still: From the moment they step on the island to offer Vaarsuvius their deal, time is stopped for the rest of the world, as they don't like to rush this kind of transaction.
- Villainous Friendship: They treat their plan like a pet project between partners and are really congratulatory of each other.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The entire reason the Commission was formed was to prove Chaotic, Neutral and Lawful Evil beings could work together.
- Wham Line: "Now." After not appearing for several hundred strips, they call in Vaarsuvius's debt just when s/he's trying to stop Roy from destroying Girard's gate.
- Your Soul Is Mine: Played with. Their claim is based on Equivalent Exchange, and they think taking a soul for eternity in exchange for temporary power is unfair. So V only has to spend a grand total of approximately 45 minutes with them, combined. What they conveniently did not tell V though, is how they can call in this soul-time anytime, such as when V's in the middle of something suuuper-important...
Ganonron, Haerta Bloodsoak, Jephton the Unholy
Haerta Bloodsoak: Destroy everyone who has ever slighted you.
Jephton the Unholy: Tear down creation just to see if you can.
Gender: Male (Ganonron, Jephton), Female (Haerta)
Class: Wizard [Conjurer] (Ganonron), Wizard [Necromancer] (Haerta), Sorcerer/Archmage (Jephton)
Alignment: Lawful Evil (Ganonron), Neutral Evil (Haerta), Chaotic Evil (Jephton)
Three evil spirits of dead arcane mages which the IFCC bind to Vaarsuvius, dramatically bolstering the elf's magical prowess.
- Affably Evil: Despite being a trio of powerful and evil magic-users, they're actually pretty friendly with V. While we don't see much with Haerta because she is not around as long as the others, both Ganonron and Jephton show support of V, reassuring V that they're still with the elf during the fight with Xykon. They even apologize when Xykon's onslaught means V is unable to hold onto them.
- Consummate Liar: Jephton is an epic-level sorcerer, and as he points out, "Bluff is a sorcerer's class skill." As such he certainly has lots of ranks in it, and has no trouble convincing Roy's ghost that he and Ganonron are "subcontractors", just linked to V for outsourcing the wizard's conjuration and sorcery needs.
- Evil Laugh: All of them cackle sinisterly at the start of the Soul Splice, which V at first confuses it for theirs.
- For the Evulz: Being Chaotic Evil, Jephton seems to fits this, especially since he has a chipper personality and a smile on his face often. In fact, one of the things he told V was to try and unravel reality just to see if the elf can, but in a smiling and casual manner like suggesting a hobby.
- Mass Teleportation: Ganonron's specialty was to teleport his army in front of his enemy's gates. Vaarsuvius is able to teleport the entire fleet of Azure city with it. His epic-level teleport is also powerful enough to allow V to force their way through the cloister spell cast by Xykon upon the ruins of Azure City.
- Necromancer: Haerta was one in life, granting V access to the create greater undead (canon, 8th level) and familicide (fictional, epic level) spells. She also grants V the mage's disjunction (canon, 9th level) spell, but that one is not related to the Necromancy school.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Familicide is a spell made to wipe out someone's whole bloodline instantly, you know, just in case you want to make absolutely certain that no family members wll come after you for revenge.
- Psychotic Smirk: Jephton is often wearing one, being chaotic evil and all. .
- Red Baron: When the three fiends introduce them, they do so with some ominous monikers the spellcasters gained in life:
- "Ganonron, Terror of a Thousand Planes!"
- "Haerta Bloodsoak, Destroyer of Hope!"
- "Jephton the Unholy, Spawn of Hatred!"
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Haerta manages to free herself when Inkyrius looks at Vaarsuvius in horror. When Xykon defeats Vaarsuvius in the duel, the other two apologize and bid farewell to V since the elf lost the focus needed to hold onto them any longer.
- Smug Snake: As far as Xykon is concerned, being the strongest spellcasters to be sent to Hell in a world where Immortality Immorality is possible just means you're a chump who couldn't stay in the game (though in Xykon's case, his immortality was more due to exploiting dumb luck).
Alignment: Lawful Evil
An imp, the IFCC's latest employee and former minion of Kubota (and an unknown devil).
- Affably Evil: A given, considering his line of work is butt-kissing and temptation.
- Ambition Is Evil: Being a go-getter is the reason the IFCC hired him.
- Charm Person: He can charm dozens of monsters to attack good-aligned characters.
- Deal with the Devil:
- Tries to make a simple one with V — he would give the elf tips on evil spell components in exchange for helping him find an evil artifact. V's response is "Disintegrate!" However, he's the link to V's actual deal.
- He tries another one on Blackwing, but instead tips his hand and reveals crucial information. The familiar notes that he kinda sucks at the temptation thing.
- Dirty Coward: Qarr will not stay around if confronted by anything stronger than him unless he has powerful help. Despite being his familiar, he leaves Zz'dtri to die at Vampire Durkon's hands without a second thought.
- Dragon with an Agenda: As Zz'dtri's familiar. He's only serving Zz'dtri so he can attempt to lead V further astray.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: If he was a decent adviser to Kubota, Qarr has much less success in tempting the heroic types. He nearly gets disintegrated by Vaarsuvius for his effort, and later, when attempting to bargain with Blackwing, all he manages to do is leak out vital information to the bird.
- Evil Counterpart: The literal devil to Blackwing's "good angel".
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: He finds the revelation of the full effect of the familicide spell to be uproariously funny. Then again, he knows it was Vaarsuvius who did the familicide, and is the only one aside from V and the IFCC to understand the true Irony.
- Familiar: To Zz'dtri, though it's mostly so the fiends have someone keeping an eye on Vaarsuvius for them.
- Flight: With bat-like wings. In fact, it's quite rare to see him on the ground.
- Horned Humanoid: Being an imp, he has horns.
- The Imp: Since imps are embodiment of Lawful Evil, the trope does not apply.
- It's All About Me: He abandons Malack saying, in essence, "This has nothing to do with me, so bye."
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Qarr completely failing against the combined forces of V and Blackwing's logic.Blackwing: He's not stopping us from going up [the tunnel they fell down].
Vaarsuvius: Sir Greenhilt must have descended into the pyramid.
Qarr: Oh, come ON! Now you're just guessing!
- Professional Butt-Kisser: He's small, kinda weak, around the right size to punt into a wall, and as a fiend lives in a world where the strong have all the power. He states that this is how his kind gets around.
- Sarcasm-Blind: He has some trouble understanding Vaarsuvius's heavy sarcasm during their exchange.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Durkon reveals that his newly evil alignment doesn't affect his loyalties (only making him more ruthless) and he goes after Zz'dtri, Qarr says he's out and wishes the drow good luck.
- Smug Snake: Despite thinking that he's an excellent manipulator, he's surprisingly dumb and is easily outsmarted by Blackwing several times.
- Summon Magic: Qarr can enter a summoning trance to call up devils for help, as he does on the island against the Sapphire Guard. Vaarsuvius initially estimates that his chance of success is low, and that any devil conjured would be easily vanquished. What the elf couldn't know is that Qarr owns a future service marker from a huge pit fiend as a gambling debt, resulting in quite the Boss Battle.
- Telepathy: He uses this to relay Kubota's orders. He can also sense "feelings" in people while relaying them too.
- Villain Teleportation: He uses it liberally during his fight with Blackwing, noting that it's useless trying to outrun him.
- The Watson: Similar to Jirix, the author's commentary implies he was kept on the cast so the archfiends could have someone they could explain their plans to.
- Winged Humanoid: For a given value of "humanoid"; his tail and shape make him rather look a bit monkey-like.
The Pit Fiend
Alignment: Lawful Evil
A huge greater devil summoned by Qarr on the orc island to fight the Azurites and the Order of the Stick. He considers taking orders from an imp quite embarrassing, but he has to because of a gambling debt.
- Adaptation Deviation: Of a sort. D&D's pit fiends are Large-size and about 14 feet in height, while this one is clearly at least a full size category larger.
- Big Red Devil: He has many of the classical traits, being enormous, very red, horned and fiery. He has more reptilian/draconic traits than purely humanoid, though.
- Damage Reduction: Against the Pit Fiend, ordinary weapons are ineffective, as Therkla and Elan quickly conclude from the very start of the fight.
- Hoist Hero over Head: Durkon tries using Thor's might to get bigger and fight the devil more evenly, but this just results in the Pit Fiend hoisting the giant dwarf above his head, putting him on fire, and throwing him to the ground.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: Invoked by the Pit Fiend on having to take orders from a lowly imp.
- Playing with Fire: His claws are wreathed in flames, and he also pelts the mortals he's fighting with fire magic, killing a few Red Shirts.
- Rent-a-Zilla: He's one of the most humongous monsters the Order has faced, dwarfing even some dragons.
- Shout-Out: The quote above is one to The Rolling Stones ("Sympathy for the Devil").
- Silver Has Mystic Powers: Silver weapons are needed to really hurt the devil, like Hinjo's silver katana and the silvered teeth of his wolf paladin mount.
- Taken for Granite: After being weakened by a few of Vaarsuvius and Durkon's spells, the Pit Fiend is finally taken out of the fight by V using a prismatic spray, which results in the devil being turned into a giant statue. Elan finds a good use for him as a gigantic tombstone for Therkla.
- Weak-Willed: He fails resisting against all of the spells cast against him. One might suspect his Wisdom is kinda low, especially if he tried to beat three Queens with a pair of Jacks. (Keep in mind, Pit Fiends are supposed to have Spell Resistance!)
- What an Idiot!: Invoked, as Qarr points out it wasn't a bright idea for the Pit Fiend to gamble a "call marker" during a poker game when the Fiend had a pair of Jacks and Qarr had three Queens showing — and the Fiend thought Qarr was bluffing.
- Who Dares?: After his summon and letting out a mighty roar, he starts bellowing "WHO DARES TO—", before identifying Qarr.