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The Order of the Stick

For general tropes about the whole group, see The Order of the Stick.

    Roy Greenhilt 

Roy Greenhilt

"Is that another 'Fighters are dumb' crack?"

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Fighter
Alignment: Lawful Good, Beleaguered Good (according to the Adventure Game)

A very intelligent human warrior with an ancestral sword and a serious problem with his unsupportive father ("Powerful mage, Devoted husband, Passable father"), Roy is the leader of the Order of the Stick. Deals with copious amounts of stress daily, often due to somewhat... er... unreliable teammates. Sworn to kill Xykon as part of his father's Blood Oath.

  • Amazon Chaser: Zig-zagged. Immediately after finding out that Miko is female, he starts hitting on her, but after realizing that she's a Jerkass, he stops his pursuit just as quickly. Afterwards he starts a relationship with the much nicer Actual Pacifist Celia, but she is by no means weak and fights in courts of law.
  • Ancestral Weapon: He inherited the Greenhilt sword, his Grandfather's greatsword, to which his family owes its name. In fact, he used it so much that his devotion to it has made it into a Weapon of Legacy. He uses a large wooden club for a while when his sword is broken.
  • Arch-Enemy: Xykon. Ironically, the lich himself considers Roy an Unknown Rival at best.
  • Ascended Glitch: Non-video-game example. Characters are drawn with asymmetric eyes, with the eye opposite the direction the character is facing appearing larger (i.e. if the character is facing left, the right eye from the viewer's perspective will be larger), to simulate it being closer to the fourth wall. This was accidentally reversed in Roy's character template, with the "closer" eye being the smaller one. By the time the error was caught enough strips had been published that it would have been a hassle to go back and change them all, and it had become somewhat iconic to Roy's look, so the reversed eyes were kept that way in subsequent art upgrades.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When the deva questions Roy about keeping Belkar on the team, he asks if she'd rather he slit his throat while he sleeps. She has no response to that, though Roy gives her a workaround (trying to reform an evildoer). Ironically, Roy is unknowingly reforming Belkar.
  • Back from the Dead: It takes quite a bit longer than you'd expect in this kind of world, but Durkon eventually brings him back from the Lawful Good afterlife.
  • Badass Normal: He has no inherent magic whatsoever, in a world where Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards is in full effect. Despite this he has been able to take on foes even when seriously outnumbered and outleveled, and is the leader of the Order of the Stick. It's also highly likely that he has the best stats in the group, see Jack of All Stats.
  • Bald of Authority: Though significantly more snarky than the traditional example, he is still the ring leader of this circus.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: Badass Normal who is unusually tough and strong even before obtaining the Belt of Giant Strength and gains Super-Strength when wearing it. He also shaves his head completely bald. In a prequel volume, it's shown that Roy started shaving his head in college, and his father lampshades the trope during a visit, specifically noting that the shaved head made Roy look tough. When he was a teen, he sported an afro.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: He manages to block a dominated Elan's blade with one hand. Justified in that Elan wields a rapier, a stabbing blade, and was using it to slash.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Subverted. He thinks he's going to be locked out because he failed to complete the Blood Oath. But he died honoring the Oath to the best of his ability, and the Lawful Good afterlife doesn't ask for more than that. He makes it in.
  • Battle Aura: Roy manifests an impressive flaming green one through the power of his Starmetal sword during his fight against Vampire Durkon when he finally gets over his denial.
  • Being Good Sucks: Not only does he have to be the moral center and wrangle his dysfunctional party members into becoming an effective fighting force, he also has to be the one to shoulder the responsibility of stopping a world-ending threat instead of leaving it to someone else. He also can't/refuses to rise to the petty infuriation caused by his father or his enemies despite the temporary satisfaction it would give him.
  • Berserk Button:
  • BFS: He wields a greatsword that is almost as long as he is tall. After infusing it with starmetal, it gains a +5 with a bonus against undead, in addition to its inherent Legacy Weapon effects (which includes word of recall).
  • Black and Nerdy: In college, he was unpopular, studied nearly 24/7 in a library, and was once hung from a flagpole by his underwear. It was fighter college.
  • Black Dude Dies First: With regard to the main characters, though he got better and a good chunk of the Don't Split the Party arc was dedicated to making it happen. When it does, Haley gladly returns to her former position as Number Two. Altogether, the racial aspect of this trope is moot.
  • Blue Is Heroic: He is the main character and blue is the predominant color on his armor.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Attacks Durkon when he is informed that there are no rules against this at the Godsmoot after he learns that Durkon has been deceiving him, and is consigning every dwarf everywhere to eternal torment.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Invoked by Roy against the High Priest of Hel.
    Roy: But as a certain half-orc once said, "Talky man talk too much!"
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Great Cleave!" Note that this is standard for the setting, though — calling your attacks is how you make them.
  • Came Back Strong:
    • Roy trains with his dead grandpa during his stay in heaven, and learns a new sword technique, which he remembers well enough when he comes back.
    • Played with, since this is an RPG-rules mechanics universe and Roy was brought back with a Resurrection spell, logically, within the context of the universe, he'd have lost a level upon being brought back to life.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Temporarily, while his sword was broken, he used a greatclub.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Roy does this to Elan after the latter is captured by bandits. The inevitable rescue is then hilariously subverted.
  • Character Development:
    • Goes from using his teammates as a means to an end to A Father to His Men. He also listens to the team more and considers their input before making a decision, to the point where he even starts trusting Belkar to an extent. Minrah even comments how she loves the team are listening to each other, which Belkar states it's because they exhausted all other options.
    • In #1187, Elan lampshades it, noting Roy trusts them enough to handle things while he sleeps off his drunkeness. Haley points out Roy couldn't even sleep because he mistrusted them so much.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Early in the comic he called Vaarsuvius very silly nicknames like "dog" and "V-Man". It's hard to imagine Roy doing something like that nowadays.
    • One early comic has Roy decapitating a pair of sleeping goblins. Roy is hardly a paragon of honor or pacifism, but future comics wrote him as someone who prefers to only use lethal force if there aren't any clear alternatives: for instance, an arc in On the Origin of PCs, which takes place chronologically earlier, shows him going out of his way to negotiate peace with a group of orcs rather than simply wipe them out, and at one point, he even outright dismisses the idea of killing someone in their sleep. Later comics would reserve that kind of behavior to Belkar.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: His degrees in Fighter College are certainly paying for themselves.
    • Despite not technically knowing any magic, Belkar points out that he is as strong as a giant — owing in part to his Belt of Giant Strength — and survived being impaled on the horn of a triceratops. In the same strip, he casually grabs a rope two experienced sailors were visibly wrestling with and easily holds it without apparent effort.
    • The triceratops impalement happened shortly after being chewed on by a gigantic allosaurus and less than a minute or so before being impaled on his own sword, with few ill effects. Roy is up, around, and directing the battle action within a couple heartbeats.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Roy learns to time his strikes so a caster's spellcasting fizzles. It comes in handy later, albeit the first time is just an illusion.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Julia accuses him of having this, but in truth it's averted as Roy is too pragmatic for that.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's willing to resort to underhanded tactics if his opponent is powerful enough that he can't win a straight fight. During his arena duel with Thog, he uses discarded crossbow bolts and a potion bottle as improvised weapons, chucks a handful of sand into Thog's face to blind him, and finally wins by goading Thog into collapsing part of the ceiling on himself.
  • Cool Big Bro: Elan regards him as this. On more than one occasion he's had an Imagine Spot about Roy falling into the "cool older brother" archetype.
    Elan: What would Roy say if he were here?
    Imagine Spot Roy: OK, gang. we need to get to Azure City fast, but we don't have anyone to cast Teleport and traveling by boat or horse will take weeks. What we need is an alternate mode of transport. Also, you're my best friend in the whole world, Elan, and I'm happy to serve as your surrogate big brother, considering how your own father wasn't there for you growing up. Wanna go bowling?
  • Cool Sword: His grandfather's Ancestral Weapon is a greatsword. Now it has been reforged with Starmetal alloy which causes it to glow with green anti-undead energy. Further in the story, it becomes a Weapon of Legacy, and he discovers that should he lose it, he can summon it to teleport back to him.
  • Counterspell: Fighter style. The technique he learned from his late grandfather is designed to interrupt spellcasting, thus giving him an edge versus spellcasters in a world where Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards is in effect. It is later revealed that it's a Secret Art called the Spellsplinter Maneuver, and there's no Fighter alive who knows it anymore.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Despite being a Jack of All Stats statistically, Roy's actual build is laser-focused onto a single strategy: that being, hitting things with a greatsword until they die. As a single-classed fighter, he relies mainly on his good mental stats and overall cleverness whenever handling leadership duties, since he doesn't have a lot of skill points to work with or any notable abilities outside of his combat feats. Additionally, as a fighter, being so focused on greatsword combat means that whenever he has to trade down to another melee weapon (most notably the club he uses during No Cure for the Paladin Blues), he takes a very noticeable hit in effectiveness, and his skill at other fighting styles like mounted combat or archery is only passable at best. He doesn't even bother to carry a backup weapon. A few characters have pointed out that his focus on being a fighter has left him with a lot of gaps in his skillset—including, in Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales, himself, with 4e Roy pointing out that he would probably have been better off as a warblade (Roy responds by griping that Eugene would never have paid for a PhD program).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Roy's coping mechanism for the insanity he endures is a near-constant output of sarcasm. He eventually grows somewhat out of it, when it comes to his father, at least. His Lawful Good deva does advise he cut down on the snarking at one point. invoked
  • Dead Person Conversation: Thanks to the spiritual link granted by the Greenhilt sword, he can talk with his father's spirit. When the sword is broken, Roy's just Talking to the Dead. He doesn't realize it, he just thinks his dad can't be bothered to appear to him.
  • Death Is Cheap: Subverted; it takes a long time to resurrect Roy due to Durkon being separated from Roy's corpse. It was also quite expensive on a monetary level, since resurrection requires diamonds.
  • Decapitated Army: Belkar notes that while Roy was dead, the party completely self-destructed, and the only reason it holds together is because of Roy's leadership and ability to keep a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits focused.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Very nearly crosses it when Durkon gets vamped. Belkar of all people pulls him back. He's still in Heroic BSoD mode, though until Durkon (seemingly) regains his free will.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Not to the extent as Vaarsuvius, but when the team could really use a) leadership and/or b) a hardy tank, Roy is either dead or incapacitated.
  • Empowered Badass Normal:
    • His Belt of Giant Strength increases his already great strength to superhuman levels.
    • His Starmetal sword also gives him a serious boost, especially during the fight against the High Priest of Hel, where it manifests as an impressive Battle Aura. He acquires magical powers in the form of the Weapon of Legacy feat.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When the High Priest of Hel reveals his true colors, Roy, mistaking it for an Evil All Along Durkon, is left in utter shock.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When fighting Vampire Durkon at the Godsmoot, Roy is still convinced that Durkon is still himself until the vampire tries to bring up one of Roy's worst memories to bring him down further. Roy realizes that his best friend could never be that cruel, and that this isn't really Durkon.
    Roy: Ah. I understand. [snaps out of Domination] YOU'RE NOT DURKON AT ALL!!!
  • Everyone Has Standards: He doesn't like Gannji or Enor, but he's clearly uncomfortable when the two are forced to fight each other, commenting on how it's like "watching someone duel their own puppy".
  • Expert in Underwater Basket Weaving: When the Order first gets horses, he's forced to admit that he studied goat herding instead of horseback riding because "it seemed like an easy A". He also gets ribbed for having studied Architecture and Engineering in Fighter College, though he's eventually able to apply that knowledge to win a fight.
  • Eye Color Change: His eyes turn green when activating his cool Weapon of Legacy powers.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Not paying enough attention to what's going on around him (because of a crappy Spot Check and lack of Sense Motive), and thinking he knows more about a situation than he actually does. As illustrated in "Grand Theft Identity". Even worse, crossing into Poor Communication Kills, with the Vampire Durkon situation. He refuses to listen when Belkar tries to bluntly tell him, "That isn't Durkon. It's something possessing Durkon," though Vampire Durkon's quick use of his powers whenever anyone too reliable tries to share the information is at least partially to blame.
    • Overdependence on his primary weapon. He doesn't have a backup weapon and he doesn't carry any sort of ranged weapons until his sword gained the returning property, which bit him in the ass in his original fight with the High Priest of Hel. He even sold off a magical sword he could have used while searching for the starmetal, forcing him to use a nonmagical club instead.
  • A Father to His Men: Albeit after some Character Development, he takes care of his subordinates in the Order. Before that, he was the only one who refused to rescue Elan from the bandits.
  • First Law of Gender Bending: Roy subverts this along with the Second Law of Gender-Bending and the Third Law of Gender-Bending. He isn't stuck as a woman because he's traveling with a cleric who can break the curse; he observes that having different hormones is distracting but doesn't act stereotypically feminine while wearing the belt; and he doesn't prefer it to his original gender, despite Durkon checking whether he really wants to change back.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Roy experiences these following Durkon's vampirization. He goes through Denial, Anger and Bargaining all in the same page, spends the following one on Depression, and then gets to Acceptance after seeing Durkon again in Girard's epic illusion. Unfortunately, the High Priests's Durkon-act shifts him back into Denial for some time.
  • Friend to Psychos:
    • Roy is kind of like this to Belkar, even putting in a good word to get the psychopathic halfling out of prison. Although in his case, it's more from realizing that the Heroic Comedic Sociopath is better off in his charge, where he can keep him "pointed at the bad guys", rather than placing his bets on the idea that any prison can hold Belkar. However, while Roy's chief strategy is to "run out the clock" that leads to Belkar's Uncertain Doom, he still pulls him out of any dangerous situation they come across.
    • Unfortunately, his association with Belkar makes him a little too trusting of a vampire Durkon, thinking it's just "Durkon now evil and needs blood, but still loyal to the Order."
  • Gender Bender: While wearing the Belt of Masculinity/Femininity, he is female.
  • Genius Bruiser: One wonders how many points this excellent fighter allocated into INTnote , and how many people who must have given him crap for it at the time are singing a different tune now.
  • Genre Blind: Usually quite savvy, but he is so guilt-ridden over Durkon's death and desperate to believe Durkon is OK, that he is easily completely manipulated by the High Priest of Hel.
  • Good is Not Nice:invoked Make no doubt that he's a heroic character, but he has little tact and initially has a low opinion of his teammates. It is deconstructed a bit when he dies and meets his Celestial adviser. He becomes worried when his permanent record is brought up. Him abandoning Elan was the big thing brought up and Roy clearly feels remorse for it all. His adviser claims that had Roy not gone back to save him, Roy would've been chucked into the "True Neutral" afterlife as a result of it. Meanwhile, Roy was edging nearer Neutral Good than Lawful Good because of his various pragmatic actions, especially including Belkar on the team. However, the fact he tries to be both Lawful and Good is what keeps him there in the first place. She does advise Roy on the snark and Roy later learns to be more appreciative of his friends and listening to them.
  • Guile Hero: As the Deva points out, Roy often employs Chaotic means to gain Lawful goals, which brings him dangerously close to Neutral Good territory (but he's trying to remain Lawful Good, which counts more.)
    Roy: [after motivating Belkar] I work with the tools I'm given. Sue me.
  • Hates Their Parent: Roy has no love lost with his father, Eugene. Eugene never respected Roy due to his dream of becoming a Fighter (Eugene was a proud wizard who looked down on non-magic-users), and Roy resented his father for being a neglectful parent whose over-focus on work led to the accidental death of Roy's younger brother. A good deal of Roy's character arc is driven by his desire to one-up his father and the mutual dislike between the two.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: He has never been seen with an helmet, despite otherwise wearing a lot of armor. Lampshaded by Julia, who sardonically asks if he was absent from fighter school the day they were teaching about them.
  • The Hero: Character Development has Roy come into this (or rather re-realize since it's why he became a Fighter in the first place). He ultimately wants to take Xykon down because he needs to be taken down, not to fulfill a blood oath or prove himself to his dad. He lampshades how his selfishness had blinded him to why he became a Fighter in the first place when the others had gone to rescue Elan.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Roy is The Hero and the only one in the group to regularly use a greatsword. Although Haley does have an enormous dagger/shortsword/thing and Elan wields a rapier, those are back-up weapons and have their own associations.
  • Heroic BSoD: Has one (bordering on the Despair Event Horizon) when Durkon is killed, vamped, and enthralled by Malack. Surprisingly, it's Belkar of all people who snaps him out of it, but Roy is still clearly shaken.
  • Heroic Willpower: He's the only one who has made a successful will save against Vampire Durkon's mind control. He manages it even though it's a dominate effect and the command is phrased to make it seem reasonable to prevent giving a bonus on saves. That he is a Jack of All Stats came to his aid again, along with the fact that the entire world is at stake means he had a pretty major circumstance bonus.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: When he and Durkon met, the two didn't get along right away. But after Roy proved himself to be more upstanding than their adventuring partners, the two became friends, and probably have the closest friendship out of the whole Order. When Durkon is killed while exploring Girard's pyramid, Roy very nearly crosses the Despair Event Horizon, and it takes Belkar (of all people) to convince him to keep going.
  • Honor Before Reason: During his fight with Xykon over Azure City. Xykon notes that as strong as Roy's gotten, the lich himself is still a league or two above him, and Roy doesn't currently stand much of a chance in one-on-one combat, and as a corollary to this, offers to let Roy go and essentially grind XP for a while. Naturally, Roy objects. It is subverted as Roy explains the perfectly reasonable motivations behind not letting the homicidal lich control the world and that as far as Roy knows he is still the one with the best chance of stopping Xykon from destroying Azure City.
    Roy: Are you joking? Or are you that stupid?
  • Hypocrite:
    • He very much enjoyed lecturing Miko about her flaws, namely being rude to the members of the Order, constantly policing them, jumping to conclusions and suffering a major case ofinvoked Confirmation Bias. All of these are valid pieces of criticism... but can be easily applied to Roy himself. He was impolite and dismissive to his teammates on multiple occasions, as well as kept them — successfully or not — from committing evil deeds. And he sure has a nasty habit of overestimating his knowledge about a situation. Notably though, he has been shown to be both able and willing to overcome these flaws over time, while Miko... didn't.
    • For as much as he chastises Belkar for slaying goblins just because they're "evil", he never really stopped to ask why they're helping Xykon conquer the world either, something Durkon throws back in his face over a thousand strips after the fact.
  • I Am Not My Father: He became a fighter for the sole purpose of proving he was different from his wizard father.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": Roy calls it his "Trouser Titan" in "The Ultimate Sacrifice", while protesting Elan's idea to disguise him as a woman.
    Roy: There's no way I'm saying goodbye to the Trouser Titan just so I can fool some lame-ass assassins.
    Elan: ... You call it the "Trouser Titan?"
  • Idiot Ball: Despite being established as very intelligent, he grabs the ball pretty hard after his ancestral greatsword is shattered. He refuses the magical sword Elan offers him as a replacement because he plans to have his old sword reforged. He ends up using a nonmagical club in the interim instead, when the sword would have made use of his prodigious swordfighting feats. This was probably a storytelling choice to make his later defeat by Miko more believable. Belkar of all people lampshade how irresponsible it is of him to not have any backup weapons.
  • I Minored in Tropology: He took goat herding instead of horse-riding because, by his own admission, it was an easy A. He also has cross-class knowledge of engineering and architecture, which comes in handy several times. He also mentioned a "mandatory two semesters in Archery."
  • The Insomniac: In the early days of the Order of the Stick's adventures, Roy would pull several all-nighters as guard watch as a result of his mistrust of other members of the Order (with Vaarsuvius and Durkon needing the night to replenish their spells, that left Haley, Belkar and Elan; he believed that Haley would run off with everyone's gold, that Belkar would kill everyone as they slept and that Elan's sheer incompetence would allow enemy ambushes to kill everyone). By the time of the Order's adventures in the Dwarven Lands, everyone has undergone significant Character Development and have become Fire-Forged Friends, and he's alright with leaving them to do what needs to be done while he goes sleep off the effects of drunkenness.
    Haley: Yeah, remember when he used to never even sleep?
    Belkar: That was because of us? I just thought he had an undiagnosed medical condition.
  • Inspirational Insult: Roy nearly breaks down and gives up on the whole quest after hearing that Durkon has been turned into a vampire. Belkar proceeds to really lay into him verbally, which enrages Roy enough to steel his resolve. Belkar's comments afterward imply that, rather than insulting Roy for the hell of it, Belkar was deliberately invoking this trope to inspire him to keep soldiering on.
    Belkar: Of course, it would mean that your best friend got horribly killed for absolutely no damn reason at all. Me, I'm a heartless little bastard. I can shrug that kind of thing off. But you seem like maybe that might bother you at some point down the road.
    Roy: You— You of all people— You have no right to—! [Beat] Fine. We keep going.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Celia, a sylph.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: After suppressing the urge to beat Elan for a long, long time, he's absolutely gleeful to have to fight Nale.
  • Irony: His dad gives him a lot of crap for being a fighter instead of a wizard. Come Strip #1025, it is revealed his dedication to the family sword has turned it into a legacy weapon, which allows him to be a Magic Knight.
  • Jack of All Stats: Mentally speaking, he counts this trope in regards to the rest of the Order because he still has a fighter's general build. V outshines him in Intelligence, Durkon outshines him in Wisdom, Haley outshines him in streetsmarts, and even Elan has him beat in Charisma. However, his collective Int and Wis are repeatedly shown to be the best in the group and after some character development he learns to see through plenty of guile. He's outright stated to have the stats required to pursue a career as either a Wizard or Cleric, and when the mindflayer sees everyone's heads as various kinds of foods, Roy's incredibly well-rounded mental stats look like a full course roast turkey dinner, to the point that it passes up Vaarsuvius's wizard brain to try to snack on Roy's first. Really, it's not clear whether Roy even has a Dump Stat; it could be he has an average Charisma, since the Deva does not suggest Roy (who is Lawful Good) be a Paladin. He's demonstrably above-average or better in everything according to the rules lawyers in the forum's Class and Level Geekery thread. This is perfectly possible in D&D if you simply roll reasonably high for all your starting stats. From an In-Universe standpoint, it has to be noted Roy has a fighter grandfather, and a father and sister who are wizards.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has moments where he's more of a Jerkass, but the heart of gold is there. He's lawful good, after all.
  • Joke Item: The Bag of Tricks. It's a bag that fires small animals.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He does genuinely try to be Lawful Good even if he fails. His bitter remarks toward his teammates and trash talk during battles are his way to cope with the hardships and by his own admission the hope that one of his zingers will force his dad to change.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: If Rich's description of the fight with Miko is anything to go by, Roy is willing to throw the towel when he deems the risk higher than the reward, as he surrenders to the paladin instead of trying to strike her down. He also attempts to surrender to Thog in the gladiatorial arena, and is beaten senseless with a slab of masonry for his trouble. It is averted during his suicidal attack on Xykon, when he refuses to back down, even when it becomes clear that he cannot win
  • The Leader: Starts out as just the guy paying the team to go on the quest, but he evolves over time. When he's not around, the team falls apart, although, that was also partly due to the party being split by physical proximity beforehand.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: His reckless charges usually turn out fairly well. His ill-fated attack on Xykon isn't an example — he knows he's outmatched and is as prepared as he reasonably can be.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • Roy eventually figures out how to use the Bag of Tricks in combat by using the animals as a distraction, and he eventually finds out that there is a rhino in there. Unfortunately, the rhino kinda backfired on him.
      Roy: You know, this bag of tricks isn't so bad once you get the hang of it.
    • It comes in useful again with critters riding summoned giraffes, to the utter astonishment of the High Priest of Hel; they set off the traps laid for the Order.
  • Literal Transformative Experience: Roy is forced to spend some time as a woman thanks to the Belt of Femininity/Masculinity, and being flirted with while he's a woman makes him realize how unwanted and demeaning his own attempts to flirt with Miko have been.
  • Made of Iron: Roy has a lot of hit points but not Super-Toughness. He doesn't have as many as O-Chul or Thog, but still enough to give this impression.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Averted when Roy dons the Belt of Gender Shifting. He doesn't act any differently.
  • Meaningful Name: His family got its name from the ancestral sword, which does have a green hilt. And a looser case can also be seen with his first name of "Roy" — Not only is he The Leader and Reasonable Authority Figure among his own guild, but he was (as noted below) once mistaken for the king of a faraway land.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: Roy is mistaken for the King of Nowhere when staying at an inn.
  • Mocking the Mourner: Roy gets into a fight with a vampire who was raised from the corpse of one of Roy's former comrades. The vampire looks through its host's memories of Roy in order to find something to demoralize him with, and starts mocking him over the accident that killed his younger brother Eric. Fortunately, this is sufficiently out-of-character that Roy realizes the vampire isn't Durkon and gets a Heroic Second Wind.
  • Morality Chain: To Belkar, in a fashion; if Roy weren't capable of knocking him out in one shot, Belkar would be far more difficult to control.
  • My Greatest Failure: For a long time, Roy blamed himself for the death of his infant brother when one of his fathers magical experiments backfired. While intellectually, he knows it wasn't, since Roy himself was just 10 at the time, he's never fully emotionally accepted it. Meeting his brother again in the afterlife alleviated it a bit.
  • Nay-Theist:
    • As demonstrated by this dialogue:
      Bureaucratic Deva: Let me ask you something: Why did you never consider becoming a cleric yourself? You have halfway decent Wisdom and Charisma scores, you could have pulled it off.
      Roy: Well, this is awkward to say, given where I am, but I've never been that religious.
      I mean, I guess my mom raised me to worship the Northern Gods, but I always figured as long as I don't actively offend any of them, they'd leave me alone.
    • As he finds out at the Godsmoot, however, such a dismissive attitude toward religion in general might not be a good idea in a world whose fate literally hangs on the whims of the gods.
    • We later learn that this was instilled into him by Eugene, who saw gods as "fancy alien wizards" that "crowdsource their magic." He sees it as one of the few good things his father taught him.
      Roy: I think that's probably one of the only good things he ever instilled in me, honestly. That the gods don't deserve any deference solely because they're powerful. If they can judge us based on our actions, we should be treating them according to their own.
    • This unfortunately gives him a poor understanding of true devotion, leading him to get blindsided when Durkon and Minrah ignore his order to not engage in negotiations with Redcloak. As the leader of the party (and Durkon's friend), Roy certainly expected to be obeyed, not realizing that a direct mission from their god would counter any mortal's authority.
    • When Belkar convinces Serini to aid the Order, he does it by telling her that the gods will absolutely burn down the world to keep their own positions. Nobody — even the paladin Lien — can refute that, and afterward, Roy's opinion of the gods sinks even lower.
  • Neck Lift: Favors this intimidation method for interrogating Mooks.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: When he realizes Durkon is an enemy, he foregoes his usual wordiness and goes straight for the throat with a great sword.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Very downplayed. Roy's eyes are placed differently than other characters. For example, while a regular character faces right, the longer eye is shown to the left of the shorter eye, and vice-versa. When Roy faces left, the shorter eye is to the left of the longer eye, and vice-versa. This was initially due to Burlew accidentally reversing the eyes on Roy's template in Adobe Illustrator, and because it became one of Roy's identifying features, he kept it that way for later art upgrades.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Tying into his Fatal Flaw, Roy brushes off the deva in "Down to Earth" who's trying to tell him about Vaarsuvius's Deal with the Devil. He doesn't pay enough attention to what is around him.
  • Offended by an Enemy's Indifference: Roy has become enraged by Xykon's continued attitude of casual indifference if not ignorance about Xykon's evil deeds towards Roy and the people in his life.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Wearing a Belt of Gender Changing to rescue Elan.
    Roy: [whispering] Please do not mention that incident within earshot of my father. I'm begging you here.
  • Only Sane Employee: Most of his job is to manage the insanity of his party.
  • Only Sane Man: Reconstructed. The party initially begins as a bunch of borderline non-functioning psychos, with only Roy and Durkon standing out as being decent at their jobs within the Order. Vaarsuvius is too full of themself to be effective in diplomacy, Elan is an idiot, Haley's plans for fame and fortune put the party at risk, and Belkar is so Chaotic Evil that he's almost The Load. It initially seems like Roy will have no control over them and will have to clean up their messes. However, Roy's support for his friends and his willingness to put his boot down ultimately begins to bring out their better traits, and when Haley's own attempts to lead in his absence fall apart, she's forced to admit that Roy really is the best leader for their party. He's essentially a demonstration as to why we need to have an Only Sane Man in the first place, as without him, the Order would fall to pieces. It is Played for Drama at the Godsmoot, where he's the only who realizes that the assembled clerics could just destroy the (former) High Priest of Hel instead of randomly smiting the nearest vampires.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • During Blood Runs in the Family, he nearly kills Belkar when the halfling reveals that Durkon has been vampirized, completely ignoring Belkar's use on the team as he's so furious at what seems to be The Millstone of his guild yet again putting everyone in danger. It's only when Haley points out to him that Belkar likely wouldn't be able to properly conceive of Durkon's Heroic Sacrifice that he accepts the truth and nearly shuts down as a result.
    • A minor example: His heartfelt goodbye to Wrecan can come off as this to readers who are unaware that Wrecan is a tribute to a deceased member of the online OotS community. When they part, Wrecan is in no particular danger (at least, no more than any other creature on the planet), and a Running Gag has Roy immediately lose interest in interacting with minor characters who have served their narrative purpose.
  • Phrase Catcher:
    • Subtle, but he has gotten "Stop talking!" from more than one pissed-off opponent, due to his incessant combat banter.
    • "You call it the Trouser Titan?"
  • Platonic Life-Partners: He has this dynamic with Haley once he starts to see past the differences in their alignment. They confide in each other about party issues as well as personal, and their jabs about their differences are playful instead of hostile.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: When he first meets Miko, he tries to make crude passes at her to get into her pants, and treats her more like a sex object than an equal. However, his temporary escapade as a woman causes him to drop this attitude towards her, and he apologizes for treating her as such.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After failing to take advantage of an opportunity to ambush Xykon and Redcloak in Kraagor's Tomb, he atypically gets into a Cluster F-Bomb rant.
  • Reforged Blade: The Greenhilt Greatsword has been reforged with Starmetal alloy which causes it to glow with green anti-undead energy. Apparently, it also works against the Damage Reduction of Evil Outsiders.
  • Refusing Paradise: Roy enjoys a peaceful afterlife with his family in Celestia. However, upon realizing that his allies have failed to resurrect him on schedule, he rushes off to search for answers.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Roy lost a level from being resurrected. He also faceplants right afterward on his first attempt to walk.
    Roy: Oh, right. I have to actually move my legs when I'm on this plane.
    Celia: Don't worry, honey, I make that mistake all the time.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
  • Rules Lawyer: invoked Being Lawful Good, his first reflex is to try to work within any system he finds himself in. He's gotten fairly good at abusing technicalities for the greater good. In the appropriately named strip "Terms and Conditions Apply":
    High Priestess of Hel: That staff is the property of the Church of Hel, and the official regalia of the high priest. I hereby issue a formal request that it be turned over at once, in accordance with protocol.
    Roy: Oh, of course, gotta follow protocol. [SNAP!] The Order of the Stick is not responsible for any damage that may occur during the delivery of unholy relics.
  • Rummage Fail: His Bag of Tricks, much to his irritation, never seems to produce anything helpful when he needs it — when he uses it in combat or while falling, it creates small, useless animals... except for the time where it creates a more useful rhino, which then lands on him.
  • Running Gag:
    • He makes a reference to the Trouser Titan, and someone else says, "You call it the...?"
    • Him having to exasperatedly scream "NOT THE POINT!" whenever someone gets Sidetracked by the Analogy.
    • Various characters (such as his father, sister, and Belkar) all like to roast Roy over having gone to Fighter College.
      Minrah: [to Belkar] Thanks for coming and asking me about spells and stuff. I don't think Roy really knows what to do with me yet.
      Belkar: [dismissively] Yeah, but Roy needed to go to college to figure out what to do with a sword.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Puts one on when the Order moves up to the Northern lands, because it is cold up there and he is incidentally in a higher character tier than when he was in the Southern Lands.
  • Secret Art: The technique his grandfather taught him in the afterlife is a rare fighting style. Apparently the Spellsplinter Maneuver, as it is called, is a technique that no living fighters know anymore.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Despite being generally perceptive and good with people, it takes him way more time than it should to realize that Vampire Durkon is evil when he shows up saying he now serves Hel, because he does not want to believe his friend is truly dead. Especially not since he blamed himself in an earlier chapter. In the end, though, faced with irrefutable evidence, he does realize the truth and act to correct it, even when the High Priest of Hel tries using a dominate effect to play on it.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Discussed during the Godsmoot. He has no problem dying in order to stop evil, but only if it is a real victory and not just a setback. Even earlier he said that while not afraid of being permanently destroyed by the Snarl, he won't risk it as long as Xykon is still around.
    Roy: Recent lesson, connected to that "dying" thing. Noble sacrifices only make sense when they solve the problem at hand.
  • Sticks to the Back: His sword, though he's now got some leather straps on his back he sticks it through.
  • Straight Man: He is mocked by Belkar for being the guy who reacts to jokes instead of making them in "The Power Behind the Throne".
  • Summon to Hand: He can will his sword to teleport back to his hand after it becomes a Weapon of Legacy. Even at a good distance, as seen the first time, where the weapon was lost in the mountains.
  • Super Mode: In Strips 1009-1010, when Roy becomes sufficiently pissed at the vampire possessing Durkon's body, his sword emanates a green fire which glows around him, healing his wounds and giving him even more power.
  • Super-Strength: Roy already has an 18 Strength, but with the Belt of Giant Strength, it becomes superhuman.
    • In #730, he grabs Enor by the tail and swings him overhead to slam against a table, breaking it. Enor is a big half-ogre half-dragon who must weigh at least ten times as much as Roy.
    • In #951, Roy takes over holding a rope that two of the Mechane's crewmembers had just been straining to keep under control. He grips it nonchalantly with one hand, and it doesn't move an inch.
    • A later strip shows he can fight Frost Giants evenly while wearing it, and throw one for a loop by punching her.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He frequently falls into this with Belkar, as the latter is the Order's incredibly selfish and near-sociopathic Token Evil Teammate, to the point where Roy is able to use himself being essentially Belkar's mobile warden as a way to get out of being blamed for all of Belkar's crimes performed while he is the halfling's commanding officer in the guild. The below exchange from #951 when Roy is securing a loose rope on The Mechane and Belkar mocks him about it serves as a good example of Roy and Belkar's typical interactions:
    Belkar: I think this whole "fighter" thing has really gotten in the way of you discovering your true destiny as a wharf.
    Roy: I'm going to dance on your grave, you know.
    Belkar: [imitating Roy] "Xykon, you let my father's skiff drift out with the tide! I will avenge it!"
    Roy: Maybe a nice jig? I might take lessons first.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Roy has started throwing his sword as a favored tactic ever since he discovered the weapon can be summoned to hand.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: His reforged sword is an alloy of Starmetal, which makes it more effective against undead.
  • To Be Lawful or Good:invoked Virtually always chooses Good over Lawful when pressed, but doesn't fall into Neutral Good by virtue of trying to be both whenever possible. In On the Origin of PCs, Roy outright refused to slay the orc camp once he learned they were just there for concert tickets, even though they're officially listed as Chaotic Evil.
    Bureaucratic Deva: Tricking your friends into participating in a quest to fix your sword — much less conspiring to work behind the backs of an order of paladins — are not acts that scream "Lawful". Using Chaotic means to fulfill Lawful obligations strikes me as fairly Neutral... I don't think my superiors would blink if I kicked your case over to the Neutral Good afterlife, but there's one factor preventing me: You're trying. You're trying to be Lawful Good. People forget how crucial it is to keep trying, even if they screw it up now and then. They figure that if they can't manage it perfectly every waking second, then they should just pick some other alignment because it'll be easier. But it's the struggle that matters. It's easy for a being of pure Law and Good to live up to these ideals, but you're a mortal. What matters is that when you blow it, you get back up on the horse and try again.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Despite being intelligent enough to form cunning plans within limited time and outsmart opponents with greater skill and power, Roy is prone to tremendously underestimating his opponents, especially Xykon, culminating in the Battle of Azure City, where he attempts to fight Xykon, an immortal lich with tremendous magical power, one-on-one, while he is riding an undead dragon, without having any enchantments or spells to save him from the fall, then ignores the opportunity to leave the battle alive and level up, which Xykon gives him out of sheer boredom. Xykon promptly flies away and destroys his mount, causing Roy to fall to his death, killing him (temporarily).
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Becoming kinder to his teammates and learning to work with their quirks is a major part of his development. In the comic's early days, he had little patience for most other members of the Order and frequently doubted, insulted and generally devalued them, treating some of them as little more than annoyances. By the time the Order reaches Kraagor's gate, he's learned to accept their various eccentricities and treats them all with respect, taking care to involve them in his plans and being empathetic to their struggles. This change is most visible with Elan: Roy went from telling Elan he hates him and abandoning him to be killed by bandits, to asking for Elan's imput on important matters, trying out his silly ideas in earnest and apologising to him for every misstep. Even Elan was shocked by this development!
  • Trademark Favorite Food: His mom's jamabalaya appears to be this, mentioning he has been wanting some every day for the past three years. Though the fact that it's his mother's specialty and likely not being able to have any since her demise is likely a big reason for that.
  • The Unchosen One: Roy eventually takes up the quest to destroy Xykon not because of his father's Blood Oath, but simply because Xykon needs to be stopped.
  • Unknown Rival:
    • Xykon cannot remember who he is (and surprisingly enough, this isn't being faked to tick Roy off; it's genuine). Redcloak does a better job, but it's not until Strip #901 that he actually realizes the Order is directly working against them (and neither of them can remember Roy's original motive). The Monster in the Darkness uses this to save Roy and crew by noting that Roy is just some fighter Xykon offed casually, while O-Chul is a Determinator samurai paladin who wants revenge.
    • He's so annoyed by not being remembered by Xykon that he's actually a little glad when an evil goddess knows who he is and that he's a threat to her plans.
    • In a fit of irony, he's actually starting to end up on the receiving end of this trope too. Redcloak solidly recognizes him as, if not his Arch-Enemy, at least one of the most recurring and dangerous heroes working against him. ("Greenhilt. Of course it would be Greenhilt.") By all accounts, Roy isn't really aware of Redcloak except as "Xykon's cleric minion".
  • Unstoppable Rage: Even worse than Thog, who he even overpowered when the half-orc was in berserk mode, since his fighting skills are greater than Thog's and are not lessened by his rage. His beatdowns on Xykon and the High Priest of Hel are the best examples.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The High Priest of Hel played Roy like a fiddle and led the fighter to believe he himself was still good ol' Durkon with an alignment shift to trick Roy in taking him to the Godsmoot, where he could bring about the destruction of the world to the benefit of his mistress.
  • Vetinari Job Security:invoked Roy may have trouble keeping the group on a single goal, but it's been conclusively established that he's the only person capable of exerting any level of control over any of them. The Don't Split the Party arc is one long proof of this, but in particular his management of Belkar; without Roy's influence, Belkar's projected "evilness" (measured in kilonazis by the archons in charge of the Lawful Good afterlife) would have skyrocketed. When Roy was temporarily killed by Xykon and Haley took over, she had little to no real control over Belkar. "Temporary Weakness" directly acknowledges this.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Starts out as a straightforward example, but over the series he has discarded this motivation in favor of Small Steps Hero. His father's spirit, on the occasions it gets a chance to haunt him, now usually only merits a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • We Were Your Team: Haley essentially gives Roy this speech after he was resurrected, noting that the party completely fell apart without his leadership. As mentioned above, Belkar does the same, though far harsher, in "Temporary Weakness".
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • After increasingly ignoring his party in favor of trying to get on Miko's good side despite her jerkassery, Elan finally confronts him in a way that Roy can't simply snark off: He asks him calmly and politely why he's doing that followed by asking if he likes some random rude paladin more than his party.
    • After dying, a deva calls him out for abandoning Elan earlier in the strip and says that if he hadn't realized his error he would have been tossed into the True Neutral afterlife. He's also called out for being Belkar's leader despite his clearly evil tendencies, but on this point he defends himself competently.
    • Subverted when the party is traveling through the desert. A spice-addled Belkar tries calling him out for using him as Motivation on a Bugsby's hand, but then laughs and admits that he's just joking.
  • What Would X Do?: Roy is a model of levelheaded, intelligent badassery. Elan, Haley and Durkon all say something like "What would Roy do?" while trying to decide the right course of action.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Roy does this at least twice.
    • During his tavern recruitment of the party in On the Origin of PCs, after meeting with a refusal from some thirty adventurers, Roy begins to thank Haley for listening and saying that he understands, before realizing she just accepted to join.
    • In "Shattered Expectations", when the "Being of Pure Law and Good" renders the judgement of the Order's trial for weakening the fabric of the universe, Roy is so much expecting a guilty verdict that he starts saying "It Has Been an Honor" to the rest of the party, until the words "not guilty" actually register.
  • Worthy Opponent: Tarquin eventually decides that Roy is too worthy and holding Elan back from being the hero of what Tarquin considers the real story (about Tarquin and Elan), and so needs to die.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Even civilians enjoying the Gladiator Games are spared his fighter fury.
  • Wrecked Weapon: In the first book, Xykon breaks Roy's ancestral sword to bits with a shatter spell, spurring a whole sidequest to have the weapon reforged.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Taunting his opponents is one of his defining character traits. The Deva even scolds him on enjoying doing it too much during his afterlife review, but Roy says there would be too much potential humor lost if he stopped.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Trope Namer. Roy says it when receiving compliments on dealing with a prisoner from Belkar.
  • Zombie Advocate: When he encounters a vampirized Durkon, whom he sees as a Reluctant Monster, he quickly comes to bemoan the prejudice faced by well-behaved undead. When he realizes the spirit animating Durkon's body is playing him for a fool, he does an abrupt about-face with a greatsword.

    Haley Starshine 

Haley Starshine

"Gods, it's frustrating how Lawful you people are!"

Race: Human
Gender: Female
Class: Rogue
Alignment: Chaotic Good, Chaotic Greedy (according to the Adventure Game), Chaotic Good-ish (according to herself)

A cute rogue with a motivation for her theft (if she can't come up with enough money, her father faces imprisonment for life). She is incredibly neurotic with a very fragmented personality. She's also in a relationship with Elan. By her own admission, "Chaotic Good-ish". She's the second-in-command of the Order of the Stick.

  • Action Girl: A rogue, to be more specific. She at one point gathers the adventuring party to save Elan once he gets kidnapped... and likely would have succeeded were it not for Belkar.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: The position of her loose hair depends on which direction she is facing.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Played for Laughs in Dungeon Crawlin' Fools; after it's revealed that Thog's Achilles' Heel is that he's afraid of pretty girls (since Girls Have Cooties), Elan is able to scare Thog into surrendering through casting an illusion of a pretty half-orc woman. Haley is offended that she apparently doesn't count as a "pretty girl" by Thog's standards.
    Haley: What, so what am I, chopped liver?
  • Back Stab: Her obvious choice for dealing damage is a sneak attack, because she's a rogue.
  • Badass Normal: No magic but her bags of holding and a couple magic weapons, yet she can still bring down outsiders and monsters.
  • Bag of Holding: Haley thinks one can never have enough extradimensional storage space, and carries a collection of them.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: She's the only obviously female member of the Order, and though the art style makes it hard to tell at times, her top looks a lot like a leather sports bra. She averts it starting with her resistance leader outfit, and later with her "leather armor" in Blood Runs in the Family. She later lampshades that it was a poor idea:
    Haley: Like dungeon delving with a bare midriff, all I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Played for Laughs in Strip #649, where Haley is shown to be such an amazing Impossible Thief that she can steal a diamond from herself via the comic's own cast page.
  • Bows and Errors: She's typically depicted as keeping her bow strung at all times, even when it's kept slung across her back when not in use.
  • Buffy Speak: Well, you can't exactly blame her for not being that eloquent right after a mind-blast, or in the middle of wildly dodging in combat. The important point is to get the message across.
    Haley: My brain feels like a psion... did some psiony stuff.

    Haley: V and the boys are all out of it, can you please cleric at them vigorously while I do, uh, whatever I'm gonna do about this?
  • But Not Too Bi: Has "Latent Bisexuality" as one of her personality fragments and mentions having kissed girls in the past, but her only on-page relationship is with Elan and she is not about to cheat on him.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Haley has an angry reaction when her father judges Elan to be every bit as evil as his father, General Tarquin, accusing him of spying on her and tricking her into loving him.
  • Calling Your Attacks: She always yells "Sneak Attack!" whenever she performs a sneak attack. Partly for the irony, and partly to let the reader know she's performing a sneak attack, since they are pretty much identical to normal attacks.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: She has trouble talking about her emotions in general, and hesitated to confess her feelings about Elan for a long time.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Haley buys some "leather armor" which is basically just a normal top. So she invokes this trope.
    Haley: Four people on the street have accidentally addressed me as "young man" since we got here. I think some flaunting is in order.
  • Character Development:
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Haley was far more "chaotic" and less "good-ish" than she would be later. For example, she takes Belkar's idea of selling a villain and her father to slavery because of profit margins seriously; even before Character Development, Haley would find that abhorring, considering why she joined the Order in the first place. Her father was being held prisoner and forced into gladiatorship.
    • In early strips, she had a girlish giggle ("tee hee!") that was later phased out. Burlew points out in some of the commentaries that early comics often wrote Haley as something of a Brainless Beauty; future comics treated her as reasonably bright.
  • Character Tics: She sticks out her tongue whenever she's lining up a difficult shot with her bow.
  • Cheated Angle: There's always a stray hair on the side of her head facing the audience, no matter which way her head is turned facing.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: She's the one to take this role most often with Elan, both before and after they're in a relationship. She knows him well enough to include an "Elan tax" in the shopping budget.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Haley has no problem fighting very dirty.
    • For example, she ambushes Crystal as she's in the shower, catching her without her weapons, armor, and protective jewelry, and kills her while she's stunned on the floor.
    • And again once Crystal as a golem finishes turning against Bozzok in Gnometown. She lures her on top of a drawbridge above a waste disposal facility and lets her fall into the lava below.
  • Cool Big Sis: She tried to invoke the "big-sister-bonding thing" with Bandana concerning sudden promotions to leadership. It turns out Bandana doesn't need it, but she still appreciates the effort.
  • Covert Pervert: Not above taking advantage of a discount invisibility sphere to grope Elan. Or seeing what Elan's charisma is worth "under the hood". Also the first party member to notice the phallic symbolism of a Gigantic Purple Worm. After she and Elan hook up, the "covert" part goes out the window.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When she and Belkar are hunting for Roy's corpse after the Fall of Azure City, they're chased by a group of 22 hobgoblins. Since Belkar's Mark of Justice makes him worse than useless in a fight, she takes them all on her own and wipes the floor with them solely through use of her archery and tactical thinking (shooting out a stone holding up a collapsed tower so it falls and crushes more than half of them). Notably, even Belkar is impressed.
  • Curse of Babel: After a building explodes and takes most of her gold with it, she develops aphasia and is only able to speak in cyphers for two arcs.
  • Cypher Language: She is afflicted with this for a while and several jokes are made at characters attempting to translate it.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Generally speaking, she saves herself nearly as often as she gets rescued, and frequently manages to help other people break out in the process.
    • One of Xykon's goblin minions kidnaps her in Dungeon Crawlin' Fools. She easily knocks him out and rejoins the party, practically before they even notice she's gone.
    • She needs Roy to rescue her from the bandits in No Cure for the Paladin Blues, but grabs a bow and jumps back into the fight the second she's freed from her bonds. The scenario repeats itself (this time with Celia as the rescuer) during the brawl at Old Blind Pete's house.
    • In Blood Runs in the Family, Tarquin knocks her off a ledge into a squad of armed guards and uses the possibility that she'll be killed to browbeat Elan into surrendering. By the time he orders off his Mooks, Haley's already killed all of them with a stolen ranseur and even complains about how she now has to go find someone to surrender to.
  • "Darkness von Gothick" Name: When she was a teenager, she went through a Goth phase and called herself "Dark Mistress Shadowgale".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has her moments, such when she muses aloud that Blackwing probably doesn't run into an invisible Vaarsuvius when they're both flying only because of V's verbosity.
  • Dump Stat: Constitution and Wisdom. As a rogue, she needs good Dexterity for combat and sneak-attacks, Intelligence for her various skills, and uses her Charisma fairly often to bluff with, but she gets drunk very easily and at the start of the comic hasn't really made a lot of good life decisions and gives in to her character flaws, particularly her greed. Lots of Character Development has indicated that she might have been investing in a slightly higher Wisdom score, though Durkon still worries about her Will save when fighting a vampire. It is lampshaded early on, when a mindflayer sees her brain as a caramel sundae: sweet, but with a lot of empty calories.
  • Excellent Judge of Character: She is the best at analyzing the motives of others among the Order, and is very good at determining if someone is lying or not (though she needs to look into their eyes for this talent to work). As an example, she determined that an early character is evil, while everyone else insisted that they should cooperate. That character became a major recurring villain.
  • Fanservice: She parodies this in the prequel, and later plays it as straight as one can with the comic's art style. She decided flaunting was in order.
  • Fatal Flaw: Both her inability to trust people (thanks in large part to her father raising her to have a rabid paranoia for everyone outside of her "family") and rampant greed (though this gets increasingly downplayed after her father finally gets out of prison) have screwed her over multiple times.
  • Female Misogynist: For some reason, Haley rarely gets along for very long with other women, either good (Miko, Celia)note  or evil (Crystal, Sabine, Samanthanote , Tsukiko... — she jokes once she's always fighting "flying skanks"). There are exceptions, however, as she's best friends with Vaarsuvius (who is genderqueer) and seems to have no problem with Niu (in Azure City) or Jenny (in the backstory), and later Bandana. So it's more of a case of only meeting women whose personalities clash with hers. She recognizes this trait of hers and tries to move beyond it by Utterly Dwarfed:
  • Fiery Redhead: Haley sure can be fiery, but it's downplayed: she suffers from considerable self-loathing issues and feels it necessary to hide her true feelings much of the time, believing people wouldn't like her if they really knew her.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: She and Bandana quickly became the best of friends after they helped each other survive against and ultimately defeated the flesh golem Crystal in Gnometown.
  • Freudian Excuse: After her mother died when she was little, her father instilled in her a crippling paranoia regarding others to help keep her alive in Greysky City that has persisted into adulthood, to the point where she now suffers from severe self-loathing issuesnote  and is near-pathologically unable to open herself up when talking to other people.
  • Give Me Back My Wallet: Except that she turns the tables by picking the pickpockets' pockets.
    Haley: Seriously, Durkon, if you're going to get your pocket picked in every town we visit, at least try to attract higher-leveled thieves. Twelve silver pieces and some string is a waste of my talents.
  • Godiva Hair: Haley takes advantage of the Power Perversion Potential of magical cosmetics in "Picking Locks".
  • Goth: As a teenager, she was the gloomy, rebellious kind.
  • Greed: Haley's initial personality was all about the loot, though she does receive character development and a real need to collect a lot of money. Although she still really likes money, thinks about money to get into a sexy mood, and has an obsessive desire to polish it, she's now able to better manage her greed and work through it rather than getting so stressed out about it that she can temporarily afflict herself with aphasia.
    Roy: Haley, I know it causes you physical pain to see money spent without haggling, but—
    Haley: [dismissively] No, no, it's not that. As long as I don't see the coins change hands, it'll just be a mild rash.
  • Groin Attack:
  • Guile Hero: While Haley's definitely more than able to hold her own in a fight, she's particularly adept at using her wits, various rogue skills, and Charisma to out-think and talk her way out of problems. In particular, she ends up defeating the flesh golem Crystal by first telling her who was really responsible for her being turned into a flesh golem, which prompts Crystal to utterly slaughter Bozzok, and then leads Crystal along and keeps her distracted with a heart-to-heart discussion about their mutual rivalry until she's right over a waste disposal pit.
  • Had to Be Sharp: She grew up in a Wretched Hive of a city, with her father being a high-ranking member of a Thieves' Guild where there was always a chance of being betrayed, cheated, and/or killed by the people she was living around on a daily basis. Notably, this is gradually deconstructed, as it turns out that her growing up in such a terrible environment might've helped her in becoming an excellent rogue, but it also resulted in her developing a near-pathologic inability to trust or open herself up to anyone.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • She's temporarily afflicted with aphasia after a near-mental breakdown, but can still hold her own in a fight.
    • And later, when fighting on the Mechane, Tarquin breaks Haley's arm. However, she is still resourceful enough to use her good hand and her foot to aim two arrows at Tarquin, which cause him to fall off the ship.
  • Hate at First Sight: The flashback of her first encounter with Crystal strongly hints at instant and mutually reciprocated loathing.
  • Heroic BSoD: She was hit with this early in the series after several craploads of her loot were utterly destroyed in an explosion. Afterwards, she gets an episode of Cypher Language (see above), and finally learns to get over her abandonment issues and openly admit her feelings for Elan, the shouting of which cured her.
  • Heroic Willpower: Haley's high Bluff ability goes both ways, as she's able to resist a failed charm ray save by using Literal Genie logic to delay obeying the orders.
  • Honor Before Reason: After learning that Belkar has tripped his Mark of Justice, she decides to leave him to rot and take on the entire Thieves Guild along, which proved to be a terrible idea and almost ended in her death. In fairness to Haley, though, she had no reason to trust Belkar at that point and he had yet to undergo fake Character Development here into becoming a genuine team player.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: She doesn't carry a quiver. When Roy is handed her bow and he asks Elan where she keeps her arrows, he says "I dunno. They just sort of appear in her hand when she needs one." Haley proceeds to complain to Roy about not following Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
  • Important Haircut: In "You're It", but latter defied by "Picking Locks" where she uses magical cosmetics to grow her hair back. Like many other things, the trope is discussed: Elan thought the haircut was supposed to symbolize character development but Haley says it was just a stupid haircut.
  • Impossible Thief: In "It's a Shame She Didn't Grab That Script While She Was There", Haley steals a diamond from the cast page, resulting in said diamond replaced with an IOMe (it's not an IOU because Haley stole it from herself).
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Haley is able to fire two arrows at Tarquin's eyes even with a broken arm.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Many characters comment that Haley is hot/pretty or curvy, but due to the art style she looks no more attractive than her companions.
  • In-Series Nickname: Her "Wanted!" Poster mentions she's also known as "Mistress Nightengale" [sic] or "The Red Blur".
  • Irony: She's mentioned to have Manyshot, which is commonly agreed to be one of the worst feats to ever be printed in any D&D sourcebook along with being almost completely worthless for any rogue. Naturally, Haley has used Manyshot three times in the comic — twice against Sabine and once against Tarquin — and each time it was responsible for saving her life or Elan's.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Played for Laughs in #743.
    Durkon: Ye dinnae trust anyone! Ye think marsupials be shady 'cause they haf a secret pouch!
    Haley: They could have a knife in there, you don't know!
  • The Lancer: Haley Starshine is the official Number Two and is a greedy thief to contrast Roy Greenhilt's duty-bound warrior. She eventually becomes Roy's advisor on devious lines of thought. Both she and Belkar find themselves sharing this role after Vampire Durkon's true colors are revealed in Utterly Dwarfed.
  • Loveable Rogue: Yes, she's a rogue, and she's also quite loveable.
  • Ma'am Shock: Haley takes more exception from Samantha calling her "old woman" than from the lightning bolt she took in the face.
    Haley: I'm not old! I'm 24! That's not old! Twenty! Four!
  • Magic Wand: Pilfers three of them from Zz'dtri's body and buys a few more, later. As a rogue with Use Magic Device, she can use them... though it takes some practice.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Haley and Elan once have sex on the back of a giant purple worm. She implies that its phallic shape turned her on.
  • Miser Advisor: Justified by the ransom she needs to gather to free her father. Although she's still plain old greedy too, as fitting for a rogue.
  • Missing Mom: Mia Starshine died when Haley was very young.
  • Money Fetish: A very literal example; Elan mentions that she wanted to do it on top of a pile of gold coins, and she's admitted it's true on multiple occasions.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Haley is the most common version, since she's always looking for ways to get more loot from adventuring, but won't sabotage saving the world to satisfy her greed and does go out of her way to look out for her fellow man whenever she can manage it.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She's often described as a Head-Turning Beauty. Her brief nude scenes reveal quite the rack, she has a Bathtub Scene in one of the prequel books and considering that she's also an extremely flexible redhead, she's as close to this trope as the comic's artstyle will allow.
  • Multishot: She has the appropriate feat. She doesn't use it very often, but it comes in handy against Sabine (since she's not sure whether the succubus is weak to silver or cold iron), and later Tarquin (to hoist him with his Arrow Catch feat).
  • Never Say That Again: Never tell her that treasure isn't that important.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Her name means "hay meadow", but she grew up in a fully urbanized Wretched Hive and isn't really a fan of living out in the countryside.
  • No-Sell:
    • Her Evasion allows her to straight-up ignore damage from a lot of area-of-effect attacks. Lampshaded in "Acid Redux", when she somehow manages to dodge two acid attacks that fill the entire room.
    • Trying to pickpocket the party will result in the thief being pickpocketed themselves.
      Note: Not on my watch, pigtails. - H
  • Not Completely Useless: D&D players have long complained Manyshot is an impressive-sounding Feat that is actually not very useful — and Haley herself has noted that — but as mentioned elsewhere, it comes in useful to save herself and everyone else from first Sabine and later Tarquin.
  • Number Two: She manipulated Roy into giving her the position for a greater share of the treasure. It backfires when in Roy's absence she finds herself actually in formal charge of the Order. While she struggles when in charge and is relieved to relinquish the role on Roy's return, she's gradually growing into the position of second-in-command and advisor.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • With Vaarsuvius, whose formal and reserved attitude is in stark contrast to Haley's more outgoing and energetic personality.
    • With Roy, as he is a Lawful Good fighter while she is a Chaotic Good rogue.
    • She also becomes good friends with Durkon as they spend more time together among the Order.
  • Only Sane Man: Takes over this role in Roy's absence and does not like it one bit. Managing the Order's eccentricities is not fun. Furthermore, she's the only level-headed and competent leader of the different Azure City resistance cells until she appoints Thanh as her successor.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "Truth", she breaks down crying out of frustration and fear when Nale briefly tricks Elan into thinking she was Evil All Along while she can't refute this due to being The Unintelligible.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Haley's mental projections annoy her quite a lot, especially Dark Mistress Shadowgale.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: She and Vaarsuvius have always been extremely close, with Haley only ever agreeing to share a room with V until she and Elan became a couple. Their friendship is so strong that when they are temporarily separated from one another for the majority of Don't Split the Party, Vaarsuvius starts to suffer from severe Sanity Slippage (which is further compounded by trance deprivation and their lingering guilt over the Fall of Azure City) leading up to their Deal with the Devil.
  • Power of Trust: She has this relationship with Elan, in spite of her father's strenuous objections, because she knows he won't abandon her.
  • Prophecy Twist: Surprisingly averted. Out of all of the members of the Order who ask the Oracle their questions — with hers being "How can I restore my speech?" — the advice given to her ("When the gift horse comes calling, don't look it in the mouth.") is actually pretty metaphorical and not a case of Exact Words in play. That aforementioned advice referred to Nale-impersonating-Elan's offer of a date during War and XPs; Haley's acceptance despite her suspicions led to the circumstances that not just broke her mental block, but her giving her Love Confession to Elan.
  • Properly Paranoid: Thanks to her father's upbringing, she has a problem trusting some people. Sometimes she's right not to:
    • Her first reaction to the Linear Guild is "Evil!", and sure enough, Elan's long-lost brother is the Evil Twin, and the whole party are assassins working for Xykon.
    • She also doesn't trust Elan's father, or Malack (the cleric he works with), and, yup, they are bad, too.
  • Queer Establishing Moment: She technically has two, with the first being obscured by it occurring when she was suffering from her speech impediment.
    • When she's trying to tell random secrets to Elan to cure her aphasia in War and XPs, she mentions that she's kissed a girl more than once during their lunch "date".
    • Later, in Utterly Dwarfed, when she and Bandana are fighting against Golem-Crystal and Bandana asks if their attacker was a former girlfriend of Haley's, the rogue's only response is to scoff and say that she had much better taste in girls than Crystal.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Consciously averted. " the Boots of Speed were totally powerful, but they were, like, lime green." Later on, we learn she held on to them and gets a craftsman to dye them a more suitable color.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: Haley magically regrows her hair very long in "Picking Locks" after overcompensating for her short haircut before. She cuts it back to something manageable afterward.
  • Rebel Leader: After the Time Skip, before handing that role off to Thanh, she runs the Azure City Resistance.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Early on, she steals two of Belkar's potions to heal Elan. When Belkar accuses her, she guilt-trips him about being prejudiced by accusing him of assuming she stole them just because she's a rogue.
    • After managing to increase her already huge Bluff skill to ludicrous levels in #767, she's able to effortlessly convince whoever she's lying to no matter the absurdity of whatever she's saying.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: In a sense; growing up in a hellish Wretched Hive like Greysky City resulted in her quickly learning and easily grasping the necessary skills to become a great rogue, but also resulted in her becoming incredibly insecure and paranoid.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: "Screw that, I'm just flat-out ignoring Roy right now."
  • Shoot the Dog: After turning Crystal against Bozzok and generally making peace with her, she nevertheless finishes Crystal off one last time because the latter is a proven danger to everyone and has confirmed that she will only continue to spread needless suffering if left to her own devices.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: She has red hair, and Elan's puppet show in the retail version of No Cure for the Paladin Blues implies that she has green eyes. The "significant" part comes in because she's one of the main characters.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Grows into this trope thanks to Elan's influence and becomes more optimistic and trusting.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Her love for Elan, as she explains to her father: She loves him because he is so pure and good that he makes her a better person just by being around her.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Happens to her during a trap search (along with Wardrobe Malfunction).
  • Slipped the Ropes: She clearly has ranks in both Escape Artist and Use Rope, meaning tying her up is doomed to failure.
    Gannji: Hey, wait. Weren't you tied up a moment ago?
    Haley: That was a moment ago.
  • The Snark Knight: She certainly isn't one... but, on the other hand, her brain is hosting "Mistress Shadowgale", a.k.a the imaginary personification of her self-loathing, who certainly has several levels of Snark Knight.
    Haley: You look like I did as a teenager.
    Mistress Shadowgale: How else would you expect your self-loathing to look?
    Haley: Good point.
  • The Sneaky Guy: As is fitting for a rogue, she has the stealth, the deception and the "sneak attack!"
  • Spoonerism: While drunk:
    Haley: I'm gonna sit on this spin until the room stops chairing.
  • Stepford Smiler: Her jokey and extraverted personality hides a mass of paranoia, cynicism and self-loathing. Over the course of the strip (and especially her relationship with Elan) she comes to terms with this and becomes a much more genuinely happy person.
  • Sticks to the Back: Her bow, unlike Roy's sword, has no latch.
  • Street Smart: Social savvy and pragmatism are required to survive Greysky City for any length of time, so her dad made sure she was.
  • Taken for Granite: She blows the saving throw against a flesh to stone spell from Zzd'tri. Durkon later turns her back to normal.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "SNEAK ATTACK — BITCH!" V later borrows it.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: After Belkar kills the Oracle, she decides that since Belkar has finally crossed the line and he's now completely useless, she's perfectly fine with leaving him to vomit himself to death somewhere far away from her and Celia. She's only prevented from following through on this thanks to the Oracle's memory charm, and after re-learning later on from a cleric of Loki what happened, she leaves Belkar to suffer and deal with the repercussions of his actions.
  • Time to Step Up, Commander: After Roy's death, she is promoted to head of the Order.
  • Token Minority: invoked Haley is the only member of the Order to have been confirmed as bisexual per Word of God (with Vaarsuvius being Ambiguously Gay and the rest of the Order being at the least straight-passing).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Both a literal and metaphorical case; the Time Skip not only has her becoming even more of an awesome and skilled rogue than she already was, but she's also become considerably more stable mentally speaking, along with being a more effective tactician and team leader as the head honcho among her group of La Résistance.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Crystal attempts to do this during the fight in Greysky City, chopping off Haley's hair while she's unconscious. It doesn't work — Haley isn't happy about it, but goes right back to fighting perfectly well when she gets back up. She eventually has her hair grown back out through magical means while she and the Order are staying in Bleedingham.
  • Trick Arrow:
  • Un-Confession: In "Hawaiian Love", Haley, seriously wounded and apparently not expecting to live, starts to tell Elan that she loves him. She's interrupted by Durkon healing her wounds.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: She has one, as shown in On the Origin of PCs. Amusingly, she uses hers as a resume.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Averted, but Crystal is under the mistaken impression that Haley is lethally vulnerable to pickles just because she never liked having pickles on her sandwiches. Just to be clear: Crystal is dumber than a post.



"♪ Bluff, Bluff, Bluff, Bluff the stupid ogre! ♪"

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Class: Bard/Dashing Swordsman
Alignment: Chaotic Good, Foolish Good (according to the Adventure Game)

A fairly dim but highly charismatic bard with an idiosyncratic thought process and only a slight effect in battle. Later this is mitigated after he takes his first level in Dashing Swordsman. Can be extremely slow on the uptake.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: In "Sort of Like a Reverse Psion", Daigo comments that Elan is more useful the less he understands what's going on. Durkon agrees, and adds that Elan has "ignorance" as a class power source.
  • All-Cheering All the Time: Elan is a Bard, but definitely falls into the "cheering at inappropriate moments" category. Like "Concentrate, Concentrate, Concentrate!" or "Move, Move, Move Silently across the battlefield!"
  • Ambiguously Bi: While he's in a very happy and mutually loving relationship with Haley, he also comes across as visibly disappointed when Vampire Durkon feeds on him in Utterly Dwarfed and he's informed that they don't now share a "mystical blood bond that draws [Elan and Durkula] into a mesmerizing web of erotic subtext".
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Inverted. He's genuinely distraught over the death of his Evil Twin and Arch-Enemy Nale, and at least part of his uncharacteristic cruelty when defeating Tarquin is seemingly motivated by avenging him.
  • And This Is for...: A subtle one to Tarquin, telling him that he's not a twin anymore before letting him drop from the airship.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Definitely qualifies; Elan is frequently shown to get very easily distracted and part of his Character Development is him learning more impulse control. At one point during Utterly Dwarfed, it takes him eleven tries to cast mending and fix a rip to the hot air balloon used by the Mechane. Granted, there was a big fight going on along with a mutiny, but still.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Elan is physically the youngest member of the overall Order at only 22 in the comic's present dayFor sake of reference:, and his general status as a Manchild also definitely makes him the youngest from a behavioral standpoint along with various asides (e.g., Belkar calling him "kid" and Elan himself claiming to have just come out of "bard camp" before deciding to become an adventurer).
  • Bad Liar: As Haley explains to him when trying to encourage him to not try and bluff his way out of a bunch of guards:
    Haley: No offense, but you literally can't bluff to save your life. In fact, I think your bluffs usually endanger your life in new and exciting ways.
  • The Bard: His character class is bard. He talks about story conventions and has a bard spell called summon plot exposition. He is described as a "certified bardic genius" by one of a pair of Dwarven bards.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's probably the nicest, sweetest member of the Order, always happy to help anyone the group comes across. He also tries to drown Kubota after he killed Therkla, sets a sword-wielding killer on Nale and throws his father off an airship.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Sure, Elan may have dump-statted his Intelligence (it's speculated to be in the single digits) and he constantly annoys his teammates to the point of being a liability, but his Prestige class makes him a truly formidable Jack of All Trades who can fight, cast, heal, and buff to support the other specialists in the Order.
  • Beyond the Impossible: In Strip #794, Elan seduces a succubus. As in, you know, a demon who is, by her own admission, an evil incarnation of illicit sex.
  • Big Damn Heroes: One of his Dashing Swordsman class features lets him sense where to go to dramatically save the day, and ensures that he always arrives there just in the nick of time.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: His Pixellation hiding his nudity is significantly bigger than Roy's, and Haley as well as many Azurite women are also extremely pleased upon seeing him naked.
    Haley: Well anyway, V says Elan has been running around naked, so I'm off to see what his 18 Charisma is worth "under the hood".
  • Brainless Beauty: He's considered very attractive In-Universe, even if the "beauty" part is difficult to tell thanks to the art style.
  • Buffy Speak: Due to his ditziness, he often defaults to this when trying to either name or describe something. As noted below, when he's trying to Face Death with Dignity, he asks to be stabbed "in one of the less hurty organs."
  • Bumbling Sidekick:
    • To Roy until the party got split, due to the counterproductive songs and ditziness.
    • He was this even more so to Sir François in On the Origin of PCs because he was younger and (more) foolish.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Dishes one out when Tarquin orders Roy, Durkon, and Belkar killed to "bring order" to his and Elan's narrative.
    Elan: You're wrong. You're wrong about everything. You only think you know what's supposed to happen. But we get to decide what sort of story this is and what role we play— hero or comic relief. Or both at the same time.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: It's a good thing the rest of the Order usually keeps an eye on him, because Elan is exceptionally bad at keeping anything hidden. Seen below in Strip #727:
    Haley: A secret kind of quest.
    Elan: Yeah, we need to find this guy, Girard Draketooth, and tell him that—
    Haley: Elan!! What part of "secret" do you not understand?
    Elan: The part where I don't tell other people, obviously.
  • Cargo Cult:
    • Elan is currently the sole worshiper of his handpuppet, Banjo, Clown God of Puppetry. Due to the way divinity works in the Stickverse, Banjo actually is a (very weak) god, thanks to the fact that Elan worships him; he gets stronger because a tribe of orcs believes he exists, and worship his brother Giggles.
    • When he, Durkon and a pair of paladins are negotiating with orcs on an island, the orcs begin worshiping Banjo, and steal him from Elan. After getting him and the paladin back, Elan cheers up the tribe by introducing them to another handpuppet: Giggles, the Clown God of Slapstick, who is also Banjo's brother and rival. Due to their rivalry, the orc's worship of Giggles also empowers Banjo (and by extension Elan).
    • He also indicates the possible existence of Banjuhlu (Banjo with an illusion on him giving him face tentacles).
  • Chaotic Stupid: invoked Averted; Elan is Chaotic Good and Stupid separately (and has been working on the "Stupid" part... more or less). However, Elan is less Stupid and more Foolish.
  • Character Development: Elan is not so much a dimwit now as at the start, but is still The Ditz nevertheless. More focus has also been given to highlighting how he's clever, not smart, how he's significantly matured as the story has gone on, and how his Meta Guy nature is actually a lot more valuable than it may first seem.
    • Really underscored in issue #889; in the early days of the comic, if Elan was the one to break the party out of an illusion, he'd most likely do it by being Too Dumb to Fool. Here, he has developed enough to realize that his dreams are childish, unrealistic and completely unlikely, including outright calling his father and brother on the fact that they are evil, hateful people who will never be able to be a proper family to him. Thus he convinces the others by pointing out the plot holes in their own dreams, like how they apparently beat Xykon but never went on to break up Tarquin's empire.
    • Another very pointed example is the contrast between early comic #69 and way later, #936. In both situations, Elan has an opportunity to Save the Villain, but makes different choices. In the latter, Elan even explains the similarities and differences to the villain in question, highlighting what he's learned.
    • Perhaps the greatest indication of Elan's character development happens in #1218. When the Order is split down the middle on whether or not to confront Xykon, Roy defers the decision entirely to Elan, asking him if the situation feels like the climax that the current narrative arc has been building towards. He decides it's not, and everyone immediately trusts his judgement. At the beginning of the comic, Roy would have been offended by the mere suggestion of asking Elan for advice, and no-one would have paid attention to him if he offered any.
  • Character Focus: Blood Runs in the Family is heavily focused on Elan, with his increased maturity, cleverness, badassery, and Meta Guy traits all deliberately contrasted against both Nale and Tarquin.
  • Characterization Marches On: It can largely be chalked up to Character Development, but in the earlier days of the comic, Elan's Manchild nature was often comically exaggerated to the point of infantilization (e.g., asking to have Roy read him a bedtime story and tuck him in for the night). Later on, while he's still pretty immature (e.g., spending his first day in Bleedingham riding on the Empire of Blood's equivalent of kiddy rides), he also has more of an adult nature emphasized about him (such as him and Haley often eagerly and enthusiastically ravishing each other when given the opportunity).
  • Chekhov's Skill:
  • Chick Magnet: It's been stated outright that he has 18 Charisma (the normal maximum at character creation). Indeed, Elan initially considered this part of his job description and did not understand why Haley didn't care for it.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: A flashback explains Elan being The Ditz as a result of his brother Nale continually Dope Slaping him out of frustration when they were babies.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He has had many strange ideas (such as "naked = invisible"), and his Genre Savviness frequently comes across as inane babbling.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Whenever Elan casts spells, his magic is light blue.
  • Comedy as a Weapon: Elan's moves as a Dashing Swordsman gain more power if he makes a pun while attacking.
  • Companion Cube: Elan worships Banjo the Clown, his own hand-puppet.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: Averted. While Elan worships his puppet, Banjo, he never believes Banjo can speak (barring the intervention of half-orcish ninjas).
  • Contractual Genre Blindness:
  • Crippling Overspecialization: His original use of his silent image spell, which revolves around projecting an illusion of a female version of whoever he is fighting to distract them. It only works once (sort of) against Thog, and only because Thog is afraid of cooties. It becomes far more useful once V helps him use it more creatively.
  • Cuckoosnarker: While he's almost always Sarcasm-Blind, he typically becomes pretty sarcastic whenever he's particularly upset (e.g., him asking his father if he's planning to "make [me] watch as you punch a bunny in the face").
  • Designated Victim: As noted below, he usually is the one to end up in a hostage situation, most often due to his brother Nale. Ironically enough, it's usually Haley that tries to save him.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Briefly brought to the brink when he's half-goaded, half-Brainwashed (specifically, under the effects of suggestion) by Nale into thinking Haley is The Mole, and almost kills her over it.
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: We really must mention the epic one he gives just before the Battle of Azure City.
    Elan: Friends, Azurites, countrymen, lend me your ears. Not literally, because ewww. I mean, that would be disgusting.
    And messy. And since you'd just be lending them, we'd have to figure out how to reattach them all, and that'd be a lot of work.
    Today, we stand here on the wall, preparing to defend this city from the forces of evil. And probably chaos, too.
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. And sisters. Definitely also sisters, they are part of the band too. I think they play drums.
    A day may come when the courage of men (and women) fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.
    And if the battle lasts through tomorrow, it's not that day either.
    It may or may not be the day after that, I'm not sure. Still too early to tell.
    But in case it's not that day, or it is that day but the battle is already over so it doesn't matter, I want you to remember this:
    No one ever won a war by dying for their country. They won by making the other guy die for his country. Which still applies even though hobgoblins don't live in countries.
    They live in caves, I think. So make them die for their caves. Which, admittedly, sounds a lot less heroic than dying for your country.
    But today will be the day when Azure City declared in one voice, "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!"
    And the fact that it rhymes does not make it any less true!
    We'll stand here together and tell our enemies that they may take our lives...
    But they will never take our freedom!
    Unless... unless they kill us, then animate the dead corpses as zombies to fight for them. Then I suppose they've taken our lives AND our freedom.
    [beat panel]
    ♪ Fight, fight, fight, fight the— ♪
    Random Azurite Soldier: You suck!
  • Distressed Dude: Happens often enough that he lampshades it:
    Elan: [glumly] I wonder if I qualify for some sort of hostage-based prestige class by now...
  • The Ditz: Initially, he was spacey, dimwitted and thought that singing could improve a Move Silently check. This changed when Character Development toned it down. Mocked early on when a mindflayer describes his brain as a diet soda: something sweet but completely devoid of any real nourishment.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Elan keeps trying to win his potential father-in-law over, despite said father-in-law being The Paranoiac and Elan being the son of his greatest enemy. Elan finally manages to convince him he's not trying to betray him or Haley — if ever there was proof of an 18 Charisma...
  • Dumbass Has a Point:
    • Happens a few times.
      Haley: Am I drunk enough yet that later, I won't remember getting out-logicked by Elan?
    • In later comics, this actually becomes something of a gag involving him and Roy: Roy has gotten so used to Elan's Crazy Enough to Work and Genre Savvy aspects turning out right for him that he will actively take Elan's viewpoints into consideration or even give them a shot. At times, this even scares Elan: when Roy gives an entirely serious explanation for why they couldn't use Banjo the Clown to break the tie at the Godsmoot, Elan looks horrified until Roy concludes by noting that Banjo is a hand puppet.
    • Together, Elan and Belkar, the two least intelligent members of the party, independently deduce that part of the reason Xykon's such a prick is because, as an undead lich, he's unable to experience the pleasures of the flesh, by speculating idly about whether or not he can taste ice cream and what the point of living would be if someone couldn't.
  • Dumbass No More: Post-Time Skip he's gone from The Ditz to something between a Cloudcuckoolander and a Genius Ditz.
  • Dumb Is Good: His lack of knowledge and common sense is practically a Running Gag, and he happens to be the nicest member of the group. Also played for laughs when he knows something the others don't.
  • Dump Stat: Intelligence, and especially in early strips, Wisdom. Both, especially the latter, are improving, and he has shown moments of Genre Savvy mixed with Simple-Minded Wisdom.
  • Ethical Slut: Elan is a childish, kindhearted dumbass...with a charisma in the low 20s and a self-proclaimed job of seducing female villains. When he gets in a committed relationship with Haley, the two are running off to...scrub the monkey on the regular.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: It's heavily implied that he finally realized his own romantic feelings towards Haley when he was wrongfully imprisoned by Nale and started to especially freak out when he had the sudden revelation that she was now at Nale's mercy as he infiltrated the Order.
  • Evil Twin: He has one in Nale, who looks just like him except for an evil goatee and a perpetually sinister expression.
  • Eyepatch After Time Skip: Invoked and parodied. He wears an eyepatch because it is customary to do so after a Time Skip and it makes him look fierce. Hinjo tells him to take it off.
  • The Face: He's highly charismatic and once talks a female enemy into a Heel–Face Turn. Roy invokes this trope when the group needs to talk to someone, like the teenage goblin in the first arc.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When he believes that his father is going to kill him his only request was that he "stab him in one of the less hurty organs".
  • Face Doodling: He does it to Roy while the latter is paralyzed by poison.
  • Fatal Flaw: His naivete and ditziness. As the comic goes on, Elan actually becomes quite clever and wise in how he recognizes his own over-idealized view of the world, but still is pretty kooky and not all there in the head.
  • The Fool: Elan plays with this trope in many directions depending on the strip; foolish, insightful, lucky, etc.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In the early comics, he often forgets about his illusion magic, since he is so bad at coming up with a good use for it. After Dorukan's Dungeon, he slowly begins to use them more effectively thanks to V's advice.
  • For Happiness: Elan and his mother both always try their best to live up to this trope. When he gets a chance to ask the all-knowing Oracle of Sunken Valley a question, his is merely: "Will there be a happy ending?"
  • Friend to All Children: Perhaps due to his own child-like nature, Elan is good with the few children we see in the comic, particularly Kudzu, Hilgya and Durkon's infant son.
  • Fun Personified: In "New Beginnings", Elan and Hinjo are walking down the street while a festival is going on. Elan manages to party with everybody while Hinjo completes an expository monologue on what the festival is and why Elan and Hinjo shouldn't be celebrating right now. When Hinjo turns his head to check on Elan, Elan is back to his normal walking pace behind Hinjo, with his lute and puppet put away and his clothes back on (and a woman's hotel room key in his pocket).
  • Gag Penis: Apparently, having maxed-out Charisma is worth quite a bit "under the hood".
  • Genius Ditz: Primarily due to being Genre Savvy, he's smarter than his silliness makes him appear.
  • Genre Savvy: Although he's been mistaken sometimes, he has a general idea of what's going on. Also occasionally suffers from Contractual Genre Blindness, as exaggerated and, in the process, Defied (when it gives Nale a headache) in "Critical Thinking".
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In addition to Chaotic Angel and Lawful Angel, which only appeared once. He dismissed them for being unhelpful.
  • Got Me Doing It: Haley, Lien, and Durkon have all started adopting his beliefs in Rule of Drama, though only Durkon's turns out to have any payoff.
  • Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die: His rousing speech prior to the Battle of Azure City, basically told them that they would die and then become enslaved zombies.
  • Hair Antennae: Shared by his brother and father, and they're all idiots (in different ways).
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Blond-haired, and far and away the sweetest and most innocent member of the Order of the Stick.
  • Hammy Herald: For Sir François in On the Origin of PCs. Including when it's wholly inappropriate, like while entering a Bad Guy Bar.
    Elan: Behold, wretched hive of scum and villainy! The noble Sir François is here!
    Your days of seedy backroom dealings and poor personal hygiene are at an end, for he is here to wash this corrupt city clean!
    He is much like a giant scrub in that respect. He also has bristles — again, like a scrub brush.
    However, he is not easily held in one's hand and used to scrub cutlery, so that's one way he is different. I'm sure I can think of other ways.
    Sir François: Um, Elan?
    Elan: Yes, oh vanquisher of unpleasantness?
    Sir François: Yeah, see, the thing is that this was supposed to be a low-profile visit.
    Elan: Oh! I can fix that!
    Attention, scum and villainy! If at all possible, please ignore the dashing and righteous Sir François as he goes about his business of making a few Gather Information checks regarding your illicit activities, to better shut them down at a later date.
  • Happily Ever After: Elan's fate, according to the Oracle, because this story will have a happy ending for him.
  • Healing Hands: Has the spell mass cure light wounds from a bard level, and picked up neutralize poison at the same time. Post-Empire of Blood, he decides to take on a "backup healer" role and picks up cure critical wounds, as well as a wand of cure moderate wounds later on.
  • The Heart: He's outright referred to as such by Durkon. He's more heroic than anyone else (with the possible exception of Durkon himself) and very likable. Heck, even Belkar likes him.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: His Genre Savviness is actually an incredibly useful and vital skill since he lives in a world built around the Theory of Narrative Causality. Just as an example, Roy at one point uses Elan's advice regarding storytelling to determine whether or not the Order should fight Xykon yet (read: if it seems like this is the proper climax that the whole story has been building up to), and his decision is shortly proven to be right.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Sometimes because he's The Ditz (to the point at which Roy briefly abandons him to his fate) and sometimes because he's too Genre Savvy, his heroism can have few results.
  • Hero of Another Story: Okay, "hero" is honestly being a little too charitable, but On the Origin of PCs reveals that he'd been a bard for a good while prior to meeting the Order, to the point where his reaction to being abandoned by his previous charge in the middle of a random city is to just complain about it having happened yet again.
  • Hidden Depths: "Horse Sense" reveals that he's actually quite skilled in horseback riding. Justified since his first job as a bard was serving as the herald to a paladin, and so they rode on horseback pretty much everywhere.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: His obliviousness to his father, Tarquin, being evil is astounding. This isn't so much a case of Elan's ditziness as it is Wrong Genre Savvy — Elan mistakes ruthlessness for the well-intentioned pragmatism displayed by Roy. Also, he understandably loves/trusts his father, and the affection is mutual despite his father's Card-Carrying Villainy.
  • Hurricane of Puns: This trope is required by the Dashing Swordsman class feature, and it is lampshaded by Tarquin when he tells Julio that Elan's vocabulary is terrible.
  • Idiot Ball: He grabs it whenever it has the potential to be funnier.
  • Idiot Hero: He sure is an idiot, and he tries very hard to be a hero. Maybe not as bad since he Took a Level in Badass, but he still has some cringe-worthy moments.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: A good one from On the Origin of PCs:
    Elan: Sir, I'm not about to tell an innkeep I just met about the priceless antique shield Sir François carries, or the pouch of rare gems he keeps hidden in his saddlebags, of his purse filled with platinum pieces that he hides in his left boot when he sleeps.
  • Inept Mage: As a bard, Elan is capable of casting spells, but he's not very good at it. This is largely because he's focused on illusion, a school of spells where the caster's intellect and creativity is the main limitation. Most of his illusions, therefore, end up being unconvincing or useless, barring some occasional lucky breaks. He also has a tendency to forget he can even use them in favor of focusing on swordplay — most notably, in the Battle of Azure City, Vaarsuvius was surprised to find that Elan had only cast a single spell in the entire battle. He does improve over the comic's run, with Vaarsuvius's tutelage helping him craft actual effective illusions and a newfound focus on healing.
    Roy: And as of right now, we don't even have any spellcasters!
    Elan: Roy, I'm a spellcaster.
    Roy: YOU DON'T COUNT!!
  • Informed Attractiveness: He's a stick figure character that doesn't look much different than any other, and yet has multiple girls flirting with him.
  • Insane Troll Logic: His reasoning behind Invisible Streaker, among several other things.
  • Instant Ice: Just Add Cold!: V "accidentally" encases him in ice, for "helping" with a concentration check.
  • Invisible Streaker: There is an attempted inverted invocation; Elan tries to be this when he thinks that because wearing heavy armor makes you less stealthy, wearing less armor will make you stealthier and being naked will make you invisible.
  • Irony: While he's by far the dumbest member of the party, he actually has the best-optimized build of them all thanks to his Dashing Swordsman prestige class and bard traits both relying on his incredibly high Charisma stat.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Elan has a habit of saying some version of this, usually just before the other shoe drops.
  • Jack of All Stats: His bardic music, illusions, and limited healing make him a passable support caster and healer, and his Dashing Swordsman class has boosted his combat effectiveness enough to make him a decent melee fighter as well. He doesn't outstrip any of the team's specialists, but he's an effective replacement for any member of the team but V.
  • Large Ham: Thanks to being a bard, Elan absolutely loves to go full-ham and be as comically overdramatic as much as possible, even going out of his way in the earlier arcs to intentionally invoke certain tropes he really liked just to make the story seem more dramatic. Part of his Character Development is this facet of his personality getting increasingly tapered down, with Elan greatly benefiting from learning discretion and how to be more subtle and less obnoxious when interacting with others.
  • Law of Disproportionate Response: Gladiator arena is where falsely imprisoned men kill each other for the benefit of the cheering crowds. What is it that offends Elan the most? The awful choreography of the pre-game show.
  • Leet Lingo: Parodied in "Still a Long Way to Go". V assures Roy that there will be a proofing stage for Elan's message.
  • The Load: At the beginning of the comic, many jokes are made about his uselessness. Until he Takes a Level in Badass, Roy compares adventuring with him to adventuring with syphilis. He leans toward The Millstone when his music keeps making things worse, and especially when he blows up Dorukan's Dungeon. In the prequel book On the Origin of PCs, Sir François ditched him when he screwed up one too many times (though unlike Roy, at least it was in a populated, if seedy, city where there was no immediate danger) and Elan's reaction to realizing he was just abandoned indicates this wasn't the first time this has happened.
  • Loon with a Heart of Gold: While not quite mad, Elan is certainly full of quirks. He's also incredibly kind and loving to pretty much everyone, even his evil family members.
  • Lover, Not a Fighter: Initially, because he's a bard. Then he becomes a Dashing Swordsman, a prestige class that lets him use his Charisma as his primary attack stat.
  • Mad Dictator's Handsome Son: His father is Tarquin, a Lawful Evil warlord. Elan's attempts to reconnect with his father after the party run into him on the Western Continent cause conflict between him and Haley, who doesn't trust Tarquin's Affably Evil demeanor and whose father is a prisoner of his regime.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "X, X, X, X the Y!" when using his Bardic Inspiration. This varies from the trivial ("Jump, jump, jump, jump, over the pit! "), to the trashtalking ("Deny, deny, deny deny the psychopathic egomaniac!") to the...unhelpful ("Bluff, bluff, bluff, bluff the revenge-driven kobold into not realizing that you're faking it on account of being under the effects of a magic curse that prevents you from doing lethal damage within a town, city, or other urban area!")
  • Magic Music: Being a bard, this is his stock-in-trade. He primarily employs it for (often ineffectual) Status Buffs, but also makes use of the Song of Freedom ability to free Belkar from Girard's simulacrum trap.
  • Magic Wand: Haley picks him up a magic wand of cure moderate wounds.
  • Manchild: It's practically a Running Gag for Elan to display behavior fitting more with a not-so-bright kid than an adult (though he does still significantly mature and grow over the course of the comic). Notably, Roy has to baby-sit Elan, fixing at what time he could go to sleep for example. When reunited with his father, Tarquin, he spends a full day enjoying the Empire of Blood equivalent to kiddy rides (riding dinosaurs).
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Fits this trope suprisingly well, being a childish, free-spirited, immature and beautiful man whose love gets the cynical and ruthless thief to lighten up, trust others and learn to enjoy life.
  • Master of Illusion: "Master" is a bit generous, but Illusion is Elan's favored school of magic and the one he most relies on whenever he remembers to use his bardic spells.
  • Meaningful Name: Elan's name is a French word that literally means "enthusiasm"/"liveliness".
  • The Medic: He's become the secondary healer after leveling up during the Time Skip, which came in handy later with Durkon's vampirism problem.
  • Meta Guy: Genre Savvy is his only form of useful intelligence, and after he takes a level in Dashing Swordsman, he derives his new powers from adventure tropes. This is even invoked on occasion, with Roy trying to use Elan's talents here to help search for Girard's Gate while they're all in the desert by asking him to find "where the most dramatically appropriate location for the Gate would be" along with using his invocation of a searching montage to change the time from day to night so they can all rest.
  • Metaphorgotten: A frequent trait of his, especially when giving speeches.
  • Min-Maxing: He's ironically the only member of the Order with an optimized build, since both Bard and Dashing Swordsman are primarily Charisma-based for Spellcasting and Swordfighting, respectively — and Charisma is a stat that Elan has in spades.
  • Momma's Boy: Downplayed; he was raised by his kind and loving mother, a tavern waitress in their home village, after his father Tarquin left, taking Nale with him. Even as an adult, out on his own as an adventurer, he often brings her up and her parenting has clearly shaped the way he sees the world. It's telling that the Oracle, who everyone usually just remembers being a member of their own species due to his memory charm, is remembered by Elan as the spitting image of his mother. The first time he saves Nale is because his good angel pointed out his mom will cry if he doesn't.
  • Morality Chain: He helps Haley develop beyond a greedy and selfish rogue; this is even why she fell in love with him.
    Haley: [to her father] Elan is the best man I've ever met. Sure, he's a little dumb sometimes... Most of the time. But he's... I don't know. Pure. Honest. Better than I am, that's for sure. He makes me a better person just by being around, and I like feeling that way.
  • Motor Mouth: Given the opportunity, Elan will talk someone's ear off by either spouting various inane comments or giving meta-textual commentary.
  • Mr. Exposition: Most often through song, and with the addition of illusory magic to provide illustrations. Belkar lampshades it at the start of the final arc, calling him "Cap'n Recap".
  • Mr. Fanservice: invoked He's described as being a Head-Turning Beauty In-Universe, is apparently pretty well-endowed, and has gotten naked the most times out of any of the comic's cast of male characters (albeit moreso for the sake of comedy than sex appeal). As such, he's probably the best example that the comic's artstyle will allow. It's particularly Played for Laughs when Therkla is Eating the Eye Candy in "Surreptitious Admirer" and her espionage quickly becomes a comically long diatribe of Female Gaze, Squicking out Qarr in the process.
  • Music for Courage: A bard skill is boosting performance with song. He has varying success, though not for lack of trying.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Sometimes, as a result of his Genre Savviness.
  • Naked People Are Funny: His belief that being naked renders him invisible is Played for Laughs a few times.
  • Nice Guy: He's solidly "good" on the character alignment, being easily the friendliest and kindest member of the Order who intentionally tries to always look on the bright side of things along with going out of his way to keep everyone's spirits up and try to encourage the better side of everyone he comes into contact with. Easily one of the best examples of this is when Nale is killed by Tarquin and he screams out in genuine anguish. Keep in mind, Elan knows exactly how evil Nale is at this point — but Nale is still his brother. See also The Heart.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The others have to call him on his stupid choices sometimes, especially Roy after the destruction of Dorukan's Gate.
  • Noble Shoplifter:
    • After escaping the Cliffport prison, he leaves a note of excuse in the clothes shop he's stealing from (since he doesn't have any money at all).
    • Later, he leaves gold after getting a new lute while fleeing Azure City. Especially notable since it's in the middle of an invasion and it's unlikely the store owner is even coming back.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Heavily downplayed since he really is an utter ditz, but it's shown at times that several of his more outwardly self-destructive actions (e.g., setting off the self-destruct mechanism for Dorukan's Gate) are him trying to intentionally invoke particular tropes he likes/thinks are appropriate to the story he thinks he's in. Part of his Character Development involves him increasingly moving past this, even admitting to Roy in Strip #1230 that the Order's previous cruelty towards him was slightly justified at the time thanks to him willfully acting as The Millstone For the Lulz.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: At one point in Blood Runs in the Family, when he and Haley are trying to break Haley's father Ian out of the Empire of Blood's prison/gladiatorial arena, their plans are momentarily foiled when it turns out that the Empire of Blood's guards are all given manuals giving them Genre Savvy-laden advice that forces them to flee. Cue the following conversation when Haley and Elan are running from a bunch of guards:
    Elan: [exasperated] Man! Is having someone who points out all the cliches in all your plans always this annoying?
    Haley: [annoyed] I love you, so I'm not going to answer that.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • He gets along well with Thog, the evil and dimwitted barbarian — probably because Thog is also The Ditz and comes across as Obliviously Evil.
    • Additionally, while "friendship" is admittedly pushing it when describing any kind of relationship involving Belkar, Elan actually gets along (relatively speaking) well with the halfling ranger and probably has the most positive relationship with him out of any member of the party. Sure, Belkar may insult Elan a lot and once even tried to kill him for XP, but has also insisted that they save Elan from bandits since "He makes me laugh," and even trusted Elan to take care of his cat Mr. Scruffy while he and Roy were imprisoned. Most poignantly, during the time the Order spent in Girard's phantasm and Belkar is thought to be dead, only Elan and (to a far lesser extent) Haley are shown to be mourning the halfling (with Roy and an illusion of Vaarsuvius both being visibly happy about Belkar having finally died).
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Charisma is the key ability for his bardic music and bard spells, and his Dashing Swordsman levels let him apply it to attack and damage rolls as well.
  • Only One Name: Unlike many other characters who have Luke Nounverber names, but like his brother and father, he is just "Elan".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Generally speaking, whenever Elan's upset, he takes a level in snark, as evidenced with him getting angry with Vaarsuvius for disintegrating Kubota simply for being a hindrance on them reuniting the rest of the Order or having to meet up with his father again after the destruction of Girard's Gate.
    • Specifically when dealing with his Archnemesis Dad near the end of the Empire of Blood arc. To see Elan delivering "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him and letting him plummet hundreds of feet from an airship with a cold, blank expression are rather jarring, considering he's a Nice Guy otherwise.
    • He also reacts with teeth-clenched anger whenever Kubota is around and minces no words that he hates the guy. Considering Elan can't muster that level of antipathy even towards the brother who's tried to murder him multiple times, it really goes to show what a slimeball Kubota is.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In combat, he lacks Roy's physical power or Belkar's aggressiveness, and while he can do spells he isn't capable of V's firepower or healing as well as Durkon. He's perfectly fine with this.
    Elan: I don't know why everyone complains about being overshadowed in combat. I always found it very relaxing.
  • Out of Focus: Through most of the story Elan has been getting almost as much limelight as Roy, but after defeating Tarquin he has been staying in the background and hasn't impacted the new plotline in any significant way. This lack of focus fits his decision to defy his father by not taking the lead and might even be an intentional (lack of) action on his part.
  • Perma-Shave: He not only never has any facial hair from the start, but after Nale frames him by shaving off his own beard and gluing it to Elan's face, the glue apparently affects Elan's skin such that he now couldn't grow a beard even if he wanted to.
  • Picked Last: Elan is picked last when the party splits. Even when there was nobody else left to pick, Roy still didn't want to pick him.
  • Positive Friend Influence: Elan's kindness and sheer optimism often brings about the best in everyone around him, such as him helping Haley realize that she wanted to be a legitimately better person and not just be "Chaotic Good-ish," while Therkla fell in love with him and performed the closest thing to a Heel–Face Turn she could manage prior to her death.
  • The Power of Acting: The Dashing Swordsman class is like playing the role of a movie-style Action Hero in real life.
  • Prestige Class: Dashing Swordsman. He's the only party member to take a prestige class (though he needed it most).
  • Prophecy Twist: The Oracle of the Sunken Valley answered his question "Will this story have a happy ending?" by saying "Yes - for you, at least." Near the climax of Blood Runs in the Family, the Order of the Stick (sans V and Durkon) accidentally wander into a Lotus-Eater Machine while looking for Girard’s Gate, and the illusion gives them all a "happy ending" where they all won. Notably, Elan is able to Spot the Thread and snap both Roy and Haley out of it when he ultimately realizes that his overly idealized concept of a happy ending is too naïve and foolish to actually happen, and so their "happy ending" is false.
  • Protector Behind Bars: The danger Haley is in really inspires him to break out of jail.
  • Pungeon Master: His Dashing Swordsman prestige class allows him to add his huge Charisma bonus to damage as long as he makes a pun with each attack. Fortunately, lame puns qualify, and Elan uses them to demoralize his enemy.
  • Quirky Bard: Elan's the archetype before taking a prestige class... and often afterwards as well. His Genre Savvy and ditziness makes him plenty quirky.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a deceptively simple yet incredibly effective one to his father during the Final Battle of the Blood Runs in the Family arc after Tarquin begs Elan to help him aboard The Mechane so he can be imprisoned and later interrogated while hanging onto the airship's railing for dear life. Suffice to say, Tarquin gets absolutely wrecked psychologically when Elan points out how he's, at best, an Arc Villain.
    Elan: You know, the first time I met Nale, we ended up in almost the exact same situation. He wound up hanging over a pit of monsters, and I pulled him up. He didn't understand why I did it. I told him it was because I was the Good twin, not the Neutral twin.
    Tarquin: Good, good, glad to hear it. Now pull me up, I think my fingers are slipping.
    Elan: But see, Dad, that's the thing. I'm not a twin anymore. And you're not the real villain.
    [Tarquin's eyes widen as he finally loses his grip and falls overboard]
    Elan: [mockingly] Don't worry. You'll live.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Spoofed in Elan's speech prior to the Battle of Azure City. He quotes a number of famous speeches, goes off on a tangent and then tries to use his bardic music.
    • On a more heartwarming note, he gives two more genuinely motivating and uplifting speeches later on in the comic, the first inspiring the rest of the Order to keep their hopes up after breaking out of Girard's epic Lotus-Eater Machine, and the second helping inspire the Order to get ready to beat Xykon after a drunken Roy completely blows his own attempt at one.
  • Royal Rapier: His weapon of choice, although he's lost a few. His silver rapier was given to him by Julio Scoundrél and sundered by his father. It's one of the few melee weapons Bards start their careers proficient with, and is likely integral to the Dashing Swordsman prestige class as well.
  • Rule of Drama: He mostly follows it, though he also knows when to avert it. Stories are fun, but they aren't worth hurting people over.
  • Running Gag: His bard songs making things worse instead of helping, his belief that being naked makes you invisible, and his Manchild antics.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Though Elan is slowly getting a better grasp of sarcasm, it's still hit-or-miss for him.
  • Self Aware Loon: Elan seems to be aware of his own ditziness and quirkiness on at least some level, particularly as he takes levels in competence and moves closer to being a Cloudcuckoolander Genius Ditz. For example, as noted above in Strip #727, he muses to Haley that the part of "secret" he doesn't understand is "obviously" the part where he doesn't tell other people. He also sometimes sets up jokes about his stupidity himself, such as in #1091.
  • Shattering the Illusion: He's the first to realize the party was stuck in a Lotus-Eater Machine after descending Girard's pyramid, and subsequently assists the party in breaking out of it.
  • Shipper on Deck: During the bonus strips of Don't Split the Party, he tries to set up Lien and Hinjo on a date, thinking they need to "repopulate the paladin race". It goes nowhere because Lien already has a boyfriend and Hinjo does not want to date one of his subordinates due to the power imbalances involved in it.
  • Show Some Leg: Early on, this is his primary tactic with illusions — make an attractive female version of the enemy's species. It never works as intended, as his enemies tend to be married, gay, or Thog.
  • The Social Expert: Because of his high charisma stat and storytelling knowledge, he can convince people to join his cause with ease.
  • Soft Glass: The Dashing Swordsman Prestige Class gives him immunity against damage from shattered glass.
  • Something That Begins with "Boring": Elan with Roy, while waiting in the dragon's cave.
  • The Squire: Formerly the squire of a paladin, Sir François, who ditched Elan due to his constant incompetence.
  • Super Window Jump: He has taken a liking to glass-breaking dramatics since acquiring his Dashing Swordsman Prestige Class.
  • Support Party Member: Magic Music and the occasional bardic knowledge check were pretty much the only things he contributed to the party for a long time, and he's also taken on the role of the team's secondary healer after the events of Blood Runs in the Family. After taking levels in Dashing Swordsman, though, he's become able to play a more active role in combat.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
  • Tempting Fate: Genre Savvy enough to become worried when someone invokes Retirony, for example.
  • There Was a Door: Elan prefers to jump through windows even when doors are present, because his Prestige Class gives him immunity against damage from shattered glass. And because it's dramatic. At one point he specifically jumps through the window because they had left the door open, so he couldn't burst through it dramatically like everybody else.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: His incredible Performance skills come in handy when fighting a beholder: he successfully makes a skill check to make the creature's eye water until it blinks by describing a hot and dusty desert, disrupting its anti-magic gaze-cone long enough for the party to get access to a key magic item.
  • To the Pain: During Dungeon Crawlin' Fools, he gives an... unconventional version when the Order is interrogating a goblin teenager for Haley's location and Roy's attempt at just bodily shaking the goblin into talking doesn't work.
    Elan: But me, I have a different method of persuasion. Tell us what we need to know, or
    Goblin Teen: Do your worst!
    Elan: —I'll cry.
    Goblin Teen: ...What?
    Elan: You heard me. I'll start bawling like a toddler who dropped their ice cream on the sidewalk. In front of your friends, your teachers, any girls you like. And I'll tell them it's because you won't be my friend.
    Goblin Teen: [visibly horrified] ...You wouldn't.
    Elan: [leans in menacingly] I think I'm misting up already!
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Shockingly subverted. When the team is under the influence of an illusion spell which makes them live through their greatest dreams, Elan is the one able to see through it, because while Roy and Haley have somewhat realistic desires, Elan's greatest wishes are, as he himself puts it, "stupid childish ideas that should never have happened". Thanks to his increased maturity, Elan is able to Spot the Thread and convince the other two that they need to snap out of their hallucination and return to the real world.
  • Too Dumb to Live: While he regularly gets into life-threatening situations and makes existing situations worse by his stupid actions, he has not yet died, although this is entirely thanks to his luck and the help of his friends.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He is a quite literal example of this trope. Dashing Swordsman hugely improved his effectiveness because its power is based on his high Charisma.
  • Tragic Dream: More than anything, he wants to see his family brought back together. A big part of his Character Development is his coming to terms with the fact that Nale and Tarquin are irredeemable, and that he'll have to look elsewhere for a happy ending.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Pointed out in an early strip, where Elan's happy childhood with his sweet, loving mother is responsible for turning him into the good-hearted lovable goofball he is, while his brother's father turned him into a miserable sociopath. As he grieves over his brother, he laments that while Nale may have deserved what he got, he might have been no better if their positions were reversed. While the readers know this isn't quite true, since Nale was whacking Elan when they were babies, it's still a powerful and tragic moment.
    Elan: He was your SON! Not a plot element! And if he were kind of a crappy person, it's because YOU made him that way!
  • Wandering Minstrel: He's a bard; his understanding of fictional devices is part of what gives him power.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Does this to V for disintegrating Kubota, using his illusion casting abilities to drive it home.
    Elan: [to Vaarsuvius] Wow, V, you're absolutely right. It's totally cool for us to go around killing people. As long as it make it more convenient for us, why worry? I mean, it's not as if knowing that we need to lie about it to the paladin is a good indication that it may be the wrong idea.
    Illusion Belkar: I honestly don't see any problem with that plan. Rock on, elf buddy!
    V: Your swift progression with illusions is overshadowed only by your long overdue grasp of the basics of sarcasm.
  • What Would X Do?: When forced to think for himself, his default tactic seems to be "work out what Roy would say".
  • White Male Lead: Defied (much to his father's annoyance), with Elan instead serving as the Plucky Comic Relief among the Order. Tarquin's attempts at Railroading Elan into taking up the leadership mantle only further ensure that Elan stays in his current position among the team, to the point where he's deliberately Out of Focus in the following two story arcs.
  • Whole Costume Reference: In War and XPs, he dons a Locke Cole outfit (complete with wig) to attempt to sneak onto an airship with the other protagonists of that game. They end up throwing him off the ship, but Elan keeps the outfit. However, Art Evolution would later show that Elan's outfit has sleeves, something Locke's outfit lacks.
  • With Catlike Tread: Elan is spectacularly bad at stealth, as shown in the strip when he ROLLS A 4! on his Move Silently check, and when Haley has to remind him that singing to encourage his companions to move silently across the battlefield is counterproductive. The one time he manages to use stealth effectively, he immediately sneaks back into the bandit camp he'd just escaped from because he feels it is his duty as a bard to seduce the bandit queen.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: It's part of his Dashing Swordsman skillset, but he hasn't exactly mastered this move yet. Although he did quite well during his battle with Nale just after getting the Dashing Swordsman class.
    Nale: We're identical twins, you idiot! You just insulted yourself!
    Elan: Really? 'cause you seem to have a couple more holes in you right now.