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The Order of the Stick

Roy: Let my people handle this, we're trained professionals. Well, we're semi-trained, quasi-professionals, at any rate.

Led by Roy Greenhilt, the Order is a group of six PCs (plus a familiar, later two animal companions, and further later a cohort), out to destroy the evil lich Xykon and prevent him from taking over (or worse, destroying) the world.

    In General 
  • Badass Crew: Definitely.
    • They hold the defense of Azure City together almost by themselves.
    • Between Haley and Belkar, with support from the unnamed Greysky Cleric of Loki and Celia, they are able to devastate the majority of the Greysky Thieves' Guild members and incapacitate both Bozzok and Crystal when they are ambushed at Old Blind Pete's house.
    • After the destruction of Girard's Gate, the much-depleted Order still poses a credible threat to an entire army of Faceless Goons.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Any attack or spell they use is usually accompanied by them saying its name. Partly for reader benefit, although explained in On the Origin of PCs as a way to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: The whole Order gets up to this regularly, due to abuse of Talking Is a Free Action and the fact that they're Deadpan Snarkers. Vaarsuvius and Belkar, however, especially stand out, the former being generally unafraid (of combat), and the latter being a Fearless Fool. Elan gets to do this whenever it's narratively appropriate, due to being a bard, and Roy gets quite a bit due to the fact that his sheer exasperation and/or frustration with the absurdity of the Order's circumstances overshadow his fears.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Late into the story, Vaarsuvius gains the telepathic bond spell, allowing the characters to silently communicate with each other. When telepathically communicating, everyone's speech bubbles are color-coded.
    • Roy's speech bubbles are dark blue.
    • Haley's speech bubbles are orange.
    • Elan's speech bubbles are light blue.
    • Vaarsuvius' speech bubbles are pink.
    • Durkon's speech bubbles are brown.
    • Belkar's speech bubbles are green.
    • Blackwing's speech bubbles are dark grey.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of them can be pretty snarky with both each other and anyone who crosses their path. While it's most apparent with Roy, Vaarsuvius, and Belkar, Haley also has her moments, and Durkon also becomes increasingly sarcastic thanks to his time spent imprisoned in his own body with only the High Priest of Hel to talk to. Furthermore, while Elan is typically Sarcasm-Blind, he usually becomes a Cuckoosnarker whenever he gets sufficiently upset at someone.
  • Deus Exit Machina:
    • Vaarsuvius is removed from several fights due to being too powerful, such as falling off the wall during the Battle of Azure City, absent from most of the fleet fights, temporarily thrown into an alternate realm of ranch dressing beings, falling down a booby trap during a panic attack...
    • Removing Durkon from the equation is just as tough. He was the only match for the druid Leeky, he's Roy's best friend, and until Elan invested in learning some spells, the only healer. Hence things getting really tense when he's turned into a vampire by Malack.
  • Destructive Saviour:
    • During the first story arc, they defeat Xykon and drive off his minions, saving the world. Then they blow up the Dungeon of Dorukan because Elan can't resist activating the Self-Destruct Rune.
    • During their stay at an inn, they foil an assassination attempt on a visiting king, but Belkar inadvertently sets off the assassins' explosives and destroys the inn. Sensing a pattern?
    • Azure City's castle also blows up not too long after their visit, but here they can hardly be blamed for it... at least not directly.
      Vaarsuvius: It is troubling that we can now recognize our failures by immediate auditory familiarity.
    • And Girard's Pyramid can be added to the list. This time it is fully intentional, though, the Order having no other choice.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Literally every member of the Order has noteworthy mental issues of some shade or another, to the point where only Durkon and Elan can be said to not suffer from severe self-loathing problems. Roy has a hefty amount of Survivor's Guilt thanks to his dead infant brother, Haley is both incredibly greedy and almost pathologically unable to trust anyone outside of her "family", Elan is a dimwitted Cloudcuckoolander Meta Guy desperate for the affection of others, Vaarsuvius is an Insufferable Genius who usually resorts to violently blowing up awkward social situations along with developing a hefty Guilt Complex following their Deal with the Devil, Belkar is an enthusiastically homicidal maniac who uses violence and Jerkassery to hide his emotional vulnerability, and Durkon is an incredibly honor-bound and fervently religious stick-in-the-mud. Needless to say, before they all became actual True Companions over the course of the comic, they initially got along like a bunch of wet cats. It's even lampshaded by Minrah during Utterly Dwarfed:
    Minrah: Does everyone in your group have weird emotional issues?
    Durkon: Eh, tha cat's prob'ly fine.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: They build significantly more mutual trust once their goals escalate from loot (and/or justice and/or murder) to defending the world against clear and present threats.
  • Fixed Relative Strength: The groups distribution of power is always constant, regardless of the battles that one misses. Justified due to their universe being based around RPG mechanics. As Belkar's fight with Crystal and Bozzok shows, a frontline fighter can deal with multiple higher-level Rogue-type-classed and overcoming Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards is nigh impossible.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
    • The Cynic: Vaarsuvius and Haley post-Character Development. V originally joined the Order just for the opportunity to use adventuring for spell research, but is set apart from Belkar below by being far more logical, cold-minded, and eager to harp on criticism/boast of their own intellect among their perceived lessers prior to them undergoing a lengthy Break the Haughty character arc in Don't Split the Party. Since then, while they're now a significantly kinder and more empathic person who is fervently dedicated to atoning for their past misdeeds, they still have a very bitter outlook on the world and are on some level utterly convinced that they are irrevocably damned no matter what they do. Haley, meanwhile, eventually evolves into a nobler person, but keeps her street-smart attitude from before and is Properly Paranoid about whatever suspiciously positive opportunity falls into the Order's lap.
    • The Optimist: Elan. Not only is he the kindest and most sincere member of the Order, but he goes out of his way to try and see the best in everyone and keep up everyone's hope even when things seem their bleakest. Part of his Character Development in Blood Runs in the Family is his idealism becoming increasingly tempered by harsh reality, with him eventually losing any hope for his family being reunited and even directly admitting that his Tragic Dream for his evil father and brother to be worthy of his love is painfully naïve.
    • The Realist: Roy and Durkon. Roy obstinately tries to be invoked Lawful Good, but often finds himself engaging in far shadier and more chaotic-aligned means to ensure the greater good is achieved (i.e., him keeping Belkar as part of the Order for as long as he has). Durkon, for his part, does his best to be as honorable and considerate to others as possible, but is also fully aware of the world's cruelties and often agrees with Roy's more pragmatic stratagems.
    • The Apathetic: Belkar and Haley prior to her Character Development. Belkar initially joined the Order only for an opportunity to further indulge his Comedic Sociopathy, and has to be given a Restraining Bolt for several months so that he can eventually learn how to "trick" everyone else into thinking he's become a legitimate team player (though he has ironically started to Become the Mask). Meanwhile, Haley is initially concerned with only getting enough money to pay for the bail to release her father from prison, but she eventually becomes more of a genuinely noble person thanks to her time spent with the Azure City Resistance and her Fire-Forged Friends relationship with both Roy and Durkon.
  • A Friend in Need: Not all of them, but mutual assistance is common. Most noticeable — using the trope name — when Roy offers to let Vampire Durkon drink his blood, and Elan and Haley jump to offer as well.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: All the guys are melee fighters (even Belkar, which makes no sense for a halfling ranger), except for Haley the archer. Downplayed somewhat in that Belkar can use his daggers as throwing knives (but he typically prefers the hands-on approach), Durkon mixing it up with divine magic and Vaarsuvius not identifying as female, but rather as genderqueer. Briefly inverted when Haley takes Roy's sword (to change the target of a Silicon Elemental that was ordered to kill "the human with the greatsword" first) and Roy takes up Haley's bow.
  • History Repeats: Just like the Order of the Scribble, the Order of the Stick is a group of six quirky adventurers drawn into an epic quest revolving around the Snarl and preventing the gods from needing to destroy the world. Both parties are made up of three humans and three non-humans including an elf, a halfling, and a dwarf. Both parties suffer a significant Crisis of Faith and are broken apart when one of their number dies (though at least the Order of the Stick was able to re-assemble), one of their members was/is doomed to be Killed Off for Real (Kraagor was killed by the Snarl, while Belkar is prophesied to "take his last breath - ever" before the end of the In-Universe year), and both groups lose their dwarven members in combat - though Durkon, unlike Kraagor, was eventually brought Back from the Dead).
  • Interspecies Friendship: The team consists of three humans, a dwarf, an elf and a halfling, all who become Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Justified Title: The team name (and webcomic title) were originally just a reference to the drawing style, but it got a justification in the On the Origin of PCs prequel. See Line-of-Sight Name below.
  • Lethal Joke Character: As you can see with Min-Maxing below, the Order are sub-optimal in almost every way. Nevertheless, they're saving the world.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Vaarsuvius and Durkon are often given a Deus Exit Machina during plot-important fights because they are a wizard and cleric, respectively, and so develop fantastic powers the others lack. This means the Giant often places situations where they can't solo the encounter.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: In response to his teammates' lame attempts at coming up with a name for their group based on ridiculous things (like the fact that they were hired in a tavern, a trait that most adventuring groups share, or that it was a cloudy day), Roy sarcastically suggested they call themselves "the Order of the Stick" because there was a stick on the ground. To his dismay, the name struck a chord with everyone else.
  • Luke Nounverber: Everyone whose last name we know follows this formula, with Roy Greenhilt, Haley Starshine, Belkar Bitterleaf, and Durkon Thundershield.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: The team consists of three humans, and three people who all count as Long-Lived: a Halfling who downplays it, a Dwarf who plays it straight, and even-moreso Elf.
  • Meaningful Name: The above Line-of-Sight Name is in-story justification from the Prequel. The true reason for the name is, naturally, that they are Stick Figures.
  • Meta Guy: While Elan is easily the most prominent case (to the point where this makes up a not-insignificant part of his characterization), all members of the Order have Medium Awareness to at least some degree and frequently engage in Lampshade Hanging.
  • Min-Maxing: Averted. None of the Order's members have perfect builds, often making choices that better fit their personalities rather than what makes them the most effective from a gameplay perspective.
    • Durkon's focus on healing as a cleric means that he can't make as good of a use of his dwarven traits. Furthermore, his low Charisma results in him having a consistently poor success rate at Turn Undead. And on a more comedic note, due to his ludicrously thick Funetik Aksent, some of his spells simply fizzle out because his own god can't understand them.
    • Roy's high Intelligence and Wisdom scores don't transfer over in terms of arcane power for him as a fighter due to him wanting to be a Badass Normal to stick it to his Jerkass wizard father, to the point where it's not until the penultimate story arc that he becomes a Magic Knight through his Weapon of Legacy. Furthermore, Roy has no real weapon proficiency in anything other than two-handed weapons, which results in him being a terrifyingly powerful force on the battlefield whenever he has his Ancestral Relic/Weapon of Legacy, but being mediocre at best when armed with anything else. Averted in that his 18 Strength and high Constitution are optimal for single-class fighters.
    • Vaarsuvius barred themselves from Conjuration and Necromancy (the two best schools for wizards) by only focusing on Evocation (the single worst school for wizards) due to their initial belief in the supreme might of arcane power being founded largely in Stuff Blowing Up. Furthermore, V having taken Dexterity as one of their many Dump Stats results in them often whiffing ray attacks on any moving target that's beyond point-blank range.
    • Haley is a rogue who specializes in archery, and while that's not totally crazy, it's rarely done the way she does it for a reason because standing so far back denies Sneak Attack dice (which requires flanking, that cannot be done with a ranged weapon, or taking advantage of a flat-footed opponent, which can only be done from less than 30 feet away). Furthermore, at one point she mentions that she took the "Manyshot" feat, one of the weakest feats ever printed in any book, and which specifically prohibits Sneak Attacking on the second shot — though in at least two of the instances in which "Manyshot" has been used, it has ironically saved her life. Finally, her weapon of choice is a longbow, when rogues are only proficient in shortbow by default. Essentially, this means she burned another precious feat on a martial weapon proficiency for an average of only 1 more point of damage per attack, and a range increase she can't fully benefit from because, again, she needs to be up close to Sneak Attack.
    • Belkar deserves special mention here, as he has quite possibly the single worst build in the entire comic. To further elaborate, Belkar's "build" is (deliberately) suboptimal; as a halfling he gets both a Strength penalty (Strength is one of the most important stats for both his barbarian and ranger classes) and a Dexterity bonus (but he hardly ever uses missile weapons), and taking Wisdom as a Dump Stat impairs his use of key Ranger skills (i.e., tracking) and spellcasting. Furthermore, he specializes in Dual Wielding, which is typically regarded as impractical due to the high feat and stat taxes involved and all of the accuracy penalties that come with it. The only aspect of his build that isn't complete crap is that he appears to utilize his Dexterity to extremes, jumping around like Yoda, meaning he is very good at defeating low-level minions. Additionally, since his racial favored class is rogue, the disparity between his ranger and barbarian levels means he now earns 20% less experience than the entire rest of the party (assuming that rule is being enforced).
    • However, Elan explicitly min-maxes when he starts branching into healing magic (a result of his experiences with Therkla), resulting in the ironic situation where Elan's build is the best optimized of the party given that his strongest stat (Charisma) is the primary stat used for both his base and prestige classes; Dashing Swordsman weaponizes Charisma.
  • Mirroring Factions: It eventually turns out that they're this in regards to the Order of the Scribble, the Greater Scope Paragons behind the creation of the Gates. The Order of the Stick's members do not have optimized character builds (with the ironic exception of Elan), but they're also True Companions and able to kick tons of ass through working together to be stronger as a whole while making up for their individual weaknesses. In contrast, from what can be discerned, each of the members of the Order of the Scribble consisted of people with optimized builds to the point that each was a Jack of All Stats concerning their specific role on the team, but internal strife and drama resulted in virtually all of them hating each other and splitting up to defend their Gates individually, resulting in Crippling Overspecialization issues and the current Divided We Fall situation facing the Gates.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: The individual moralities of the Order's members are all across the board.
  • Nice Mean And In Between:
    • Among the human members of the Order, Elan is the Nice (Elan's relentlessly idealistic and cheery, to the point where Roy typically has him act as The Face for the whole Order), Haley is the Mean (Haley is pessimistic and paranoid — the latter to a downright pathologic level — despite still having a strong moral center, and has such a Money Fetish that parting with money — even for a good cause — gives her a rash unless haggling is involved), and Roy is the In-Between (Roy is a bitingly sarcastic and cynical Knight in Sour Armor, but one that always tries to make sure he and his teammates are doing the right thing, and is definitely more of an optimist than Haley due to having had a safer childhood).
    • Among the non-human members of the Order, Durkon is the Nice (Durkon is incredibly polite and self-effacing, and has selflessly sacrificed his own life multiple times in the name of what's right), Belkar is the Mean (Belkar is a Jerkass Sociopathic Hero with a comically-vast Ambiguous Criminal History), and Vaarsuvius is the In-Between (V has No Social Skills along with a generally haughty and stoic demeanor, but has also dedicated themselves to atoning for their past mistakes and can be polite to those they view with genuine respect).
  • Player Character: The Order's members are explicitly described as such in-universe, even though the distinction PCs/NPCs becomes increasingly unclear since there are no actual players behind the Main Characters. Redcloak notes in the forward of On the Origin of PCs that Nominal Importance has more of an effect on what constitutes main characters and unimportant characters.
  • The Team:
    • The Leader: Roy Greenhilt calls the shots in the Order, being the only member mentally stable enough to properly juggle all of his team's various neuroses and make sure they stay on track regarding their goals. This results in him having Vetinari Job Security (which proves to be a problem when the Order temporarily implodes because of his absence in Don't Split the Party).
    • The Lancer/Number Two: The Order only has one for the vast majority of the comic, but gains a second near the midpoint of the penultimate story arc:
      • Haley Starshine is the official second-in-command and is a greedy thief to contrast the duty-bound warrior. She eventually becomes his adviser on devious lines of thought (i.e., figuring out Redcloak's Batman Gambit regarding the Xykon Decoys during the Fall of Azure City).
      • invoked Following Durkon's vampirization, Belkar Bitterleaf becomes the one who is most willing to call Roy out for being Genre Blind along with forcing the group to confront certain uncomfortable questions they need to face if they want to save the world. Haley's still the Number Two, but she's more supportive and less abrasive than Belkar is, and Belkar is also more of a stark contrast to Roy in terms of both personality and character build (being an Ax-Crazy Chaotic Evil halfling ranger/barbarian compared to Roy's Lawful Good Genius Bruiser fighter).
    • The Big Guy: There are three of these in different ways:
      • Combat Medic: Durkon Thundershield wears armor and has a spell that makes him huge.
      • Blood Knight: Belkar is the bloodthirsty one who mainly contributes with physical prowess. He even lampshades this in Utterly Dwarfed, noting how he's pretty much kept around only for raw muscle.
      • Black Mage: Vaarsuvius specializes in offensive magic and mostly goes around blowing stuff up.
    • The Smart Guy: The Order has four:
      • Vaarsuvius is your traditional wizard who weaponizes their intelligence and is a big fan of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
      • Roy, as the guild's leader, is the strategic mastermind and has a mind sharper than the Greenhilt family sword.
      • Haley is cunning enough to analyze and counter cons, tricks and schemes, all of which makes her an effective Number Two.
      • Even Elan can be this when it comes to the comic's narrative and examining narrative phenomena in play (such as knowing anything that is a "million in one chance" is guaranteed to happen).
    • The Heart:
      • Elan is most definitely this, being the sweetest, kindest and most empathetic member of the team. Durkon even mentions that he is the heart and soul of the team when planning to save him.
      • Durkon himself is the most stable, mature and reliable member through his dedication and solid personality. He can be counted on whenever madness is going on (barring the dwarves' irrational paranoia involving trees).
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Mostly prevalent in the early days of the comic due to everyone's various neuroses getting in each other's way. It still crops up every now and then, mostly whenever any of the more moral members of the party butts heads with Belkar.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Considering the RPG Verse nature of the comic, everyone in the Order gains literal levels in their respective classes as they overcome obstacles. Beyond that, they also function better as a team, with each of them going through sufficient Character Development to make them all more competent and supportive in combat. As Roy puts it in #1063: "It's just the most probable outcome given how strong my party is these days. We're not the team that freaks out, fights among themselves and runs away anymore." In the same encounter, Haley also notes that they can easily handle enemies that they used to run away from.
  • True Companions: Although they have a rocky start, they evolve into tight friends with time. It is sealed when Roy rips up his teammates' initial contracts and gives them the choice to pursue the quest on their own choice. Even Belkar has stuck with them till now, despite several opportunities to defect to the evil side.
  • Two Girls to a Team: For a while, Haley was the only woman on the team. But with the inclusion of Minrah Shaleshoe as the 11th-Hour Ranger, the Order now has a grand total of two women on the team.
  • Unlikely Hero: Invoked verbatim by Elan about the team's origins as a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in #1230.
  • With Friends Like These...: The comic was at the start all about their personal conflicts. The group's various dysfunctions sometimes look even more insurmountable than many of their enemies.
    Roy: Wow. It's refreshing to not have to jump through hoops to convince the members of my own party to participate in a mission.
    Vaarsuvius: Can anyone endeavor to explain why in the unspoken names of the infernal dimensions we are wasting our precious time at this insignificant mudhole???
  • You All Meet in an Inn: It's an Enforced Trope. Yes, the Order's initial recruitment was held in a tavern, on Elan's insistence, because it is traditional.