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The Black Moon Chronicles (French: Chroniques de la Lune Noire) is an epic Dark Fantasy comic series by French author François Marcela-Froideval and illustrated by Olivier Ledroit, who is better known by English speakers for his work on Pat Mills' Sha and Requiem Vampire Knight .

It deals with the Villain Protagonist / Anti-Hero Wismerhill, a half-elf from an unknown father allying with Evil Sorcerer Haazheel Thorn in order to overthrow the Holy Roman Empire-esque empire of Lhynn.

Sounds simple enough, no? Guess again.

Turns out that Wismerhill is the lynchpin of a Gambit Pileup involving prophecies, gods, demons, elemental forces, and immortal archmages and that his choices will ultimately decide the fate of his entire world. And with so many different clashing agendas, few things are as they seem, and fewer people can be trusted...

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Volumes

  1. 1 Le Signe des ténèbres (Sign of Darkness, 1989)
  2. 2 Le Vent des dragons (Dragon's Wind, 1990)
  3. 3 La Marque des démons (Mark of the Demons, 1991)
  4. 4 Quand sifflent les serpents (When Snakes Hiss, 1992)
  5. 5 La Danse écarlate (The Blood Dance, 1994)
  6. 6 La Couronne des ombres (Crown of Shadows, 1995)
  7. 7 De vents, de jade et de jais (Of Winds, Jade and Jet, 1997)
  8. 8 Le Glaive de justice (Sword of Justice, 1999)
  9. 9 Les Chants de la négation (Songs of Negation, 2000)
  10. 10 L'Aigle foudroyé (Struck Down Eagle, 2002)
  11. 11 Ave Tenebrae (Ave Tenebrae, 2003)
  12. 12 La Porte des Enfers (The Gate of Hell, 2005)
  13. 13 La Prophétie (Prophecy, 2006)
  14. 14 La Fin des temps (End of Times, 2008)
  15. 0 En un jeu cruel (A cruel game, 2011)
  16. 15 Terra Secunda (Book 1/2, 2012)
  17. 16 Terra Secunda (Book 2/2, 2014)
  18. 17 Guerres ophidiennes (Ophidian Wars, 2015)
  19. 18 Le Trône d'Opale (The Opal Throne, 2017)
  20. 19 Une semaine ordinaire (An Ordinary Week, 2018)
  21. 20 Une porte sur l'Enfer (A Gate to Hell, 2019)
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Volume 14 is the final album of the first arc. The French version was released on 21st of November 2008. Subsequent volumes have been released, concerning Wismerhill as the leader of a dozen-odd Fantasy Counterpart Cultures that escaped the destruction of the old world.

Two spinoff prequel series were made: Methraton, which reveals more of the title character's past and goals against a backdrop of the setting's distant past, and Les Arcanes de la Lune Noire, recounts the origin story of Wismerhill's companions and what their lives were before the main series' events; so far, one-shots covering Ghorghor Bey, Pile-ou-Face, Parsifal and Greldinard have been released. A prequel detailing Wismerhill's origins has also been released. Finally, the comic has been adapted into a strategy video game.

While the comic was originally only available in France and several other European markets, Dargaud is translating the volumes into English as of 2017.


Tropes:

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    A to D 
  • Accidental Misnaming: Haazheel Thorn mishears Krell-Dinard (Dinard's name after "he" tames a Krell) as Greldinald, and is not the kind of person you point this out to.
  • Action Girl: Feydriva (before her fridging) and Hellaynnea.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: The master of the Thieves' Guild that Pilou grew up in kept the other criminals in line by putting poison in their food and providing an anti-toxin at the end of every day if they had fulfilled their quota. Pilou starts to take a small portion of the poison every day to build up an immunity so he can one day escape.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Wismerhill and Pilou run into Ghorghor Bey's warband, the dreaded warlord attempts to claim Pilou's two Empathic Weapons for himself, only for Pilou to repeatedly summon them back. This initially pisses off Ghorghor, who considers having them both killed on the spot, before switching gears and admitting that it takes guts to taunt him like that. He happily embraces the two and inducts them into his army.
  • Affair? Blame the Bastard: In their youth, Wismerhill and Ghorghor Bey were both raised by men who did not father them, and abused them horribly for it. In Wismerhill's case, his mother had an affair with a demon lord disguised as a handsome elf prince. In Bey's case, his mother was raped by an ogre. They both get their revenge eventually; Wismerhill by personally murdering the man, Bey by leaving him to die as their town is besieged by another ogre raid.
  • Allowed Internal War: The sprawling, feudal Empire of Lynn has very little control over its provinces outside the capital region, so is often unable to stop them from going to war with each other, while the Emperor spends most of his time on various campaigns against insubordinate governors and nobles to reassert the crown's authority.
  • All There in the Manual: Sort of: Pilou's tearful reunion with his adoptive dragon family comes out of nowhere in the main series, but is explained in his own spinoff book.
  • All Trolls Are Different: In this case, similar in abilities and weaknesses to both D&D and Warhammer trolls, but 20+ feet tall, with a more-or-less caucasian skin tone, giant noses, and they look a bit like they came out of Jim Henson's creature shop.
  • And Show It to You: Wismerhill finally defeats Haazheel Thorn by tearing his heart out of his chest.
  • The Antichrist: Hints are dropped early in the series that Wismerhill's Disappeared Dad might be The Devil himself. It's a Red Herring; Lucifer's son is actually Haazheel Thorn. Wis's dad is actually Pazuzu, a demon prince disguised as an elf.
  • An Arm and a Leg: During the final battle with Haazheel Thorn, he rips off Hellaynnea's arms when she tries to stop him from killing Wismerhill.
  • Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain: Wismerhill, and by extension pretty much every member of his True Companions (even the succubus), dance constantly back and forth over the line between both. While some like Shamballeau the mage or Murata the samurai aren't as morally questionnable in their own actions, the fact that they have no problem hanging around the others speaks for itself.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Played with. Some nobles are little more than bandits with a fort (like the former proprietors of Wis' first fiefdom); others are sadistic assholes (most prominent in Ghorghor Bey's Back Story); the Baron of Moork is The Dragon to the Big Bad. But then you have Lord Parsifal and Emperor Haghendorf. Most imperial nobles seem to be of average morality.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration:
    • When captured by Ghorgor in the first book, Pilou plays a trick on him, teleporting his swords back to himself whenever Ghorgor tries to look at them. Ghorgor is so enraged by this that he... takes Pilou and Wismerhill into his warband.
    • Wismerhill is very amused when mage Shamballeau kills 20 of his soldiers in an explosion, going from initial anger to happily adopting him as part of his own growing band.
  • Artifact Title: In the second cycle with Haazheel and his religion dead, there's no more Black Moon to chronicle about. Instead, we follow Wismerhill facing new threats on the second Earth such as an army of snake folk or a conspiracy against him.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Hell is ruled by whatever demon is strong enough to fight off any contenders. For aeons, Lucifer kept the other princes in line by being a Bad Boss. When he goes missing with his army, Beelzebub takes over the vacant throne because no one dares to question him, as he immediately demonstrates by devouring a lesser demon who opposes.
  • Badass Normal: Murata, unlike most of his allies, does not have any inherent magical powers (Wismerhill, Hellaynnea), powerful magic weapons (Pile-ou-Face) or incredibly size and strength (Ghorghor). He's just a very well-trained human Samurai.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Magnifico's troupe use this to their advantage, calling for challengers to face their champion while standing next to a dwarf. The local meatheads line up for an easy win... only to learn that the dwarf just opens the curtain to reveal the real champion, a full-grown half-ogre (as tall to the men as they are to the dwarf).
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: When Lord Parsifal and his Knights of Justice visit the impregnable castle Altenberg to persuade the Knights of Light to rid themselves of their corrupt leadership, the commander in charge of the castle orders his soldiers to kill Parsifal with crossbow bolts despite the high priest having granted Parsifal safe passage. His soldiers fire on their commander instead.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: After Wismerhill and Pile-ou-Face rob a merchant, they leave him with only a barrel.
  • Base on Wheels: Wismerhill buys a traveling castle from the dwarf masters to use in his next campaigns. The dwarfs even shaved off half the price since the lord who originally commissioned it had spontaneously died.
  • Beelzebub: He's a morbidly obese demon made up of thousands of flies. Beelzebub immediately usurps the throne of hell when he realizes Lucifer is gone and declares war on the remnants of humanity.
  • Betrayal by Inaction: When Emperor Haaghendorf and his army are about to fight the evil forces of the Black Moon, he calls upon the two autonomous military orders to assist him. The Knights of Light led by Fratus Sinister arrive on the battlefield but stay out of any fighting in the hopes that Haaghendorf will be killed and they can seize power from whatever's left, even shooting numerous imperial messengers sent to ask them for reinforcements. However, Haaghendorf sees through this deception and demotes Fratus Sinister after winning the battle singlehandedly.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: When Lucifer organizes an invasion of the second Earth after humanity has vacated the old one, he turns himself into a frog and turns back into his demonic self after Hellaynnea kisses him.
    Lucifer: Oh, I'm a prince alright, just not a charming one...
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Since the Empire of Lhynn and its vassals and enemies are in a near constant state of warfare, there are numerous examples of massive battles and city sieges being waged between armies of knights, mages, dragon riders, orks, elves, giants, and war machines. Ledroit's artwork is impressive for its attention to detail.
  • Big Eater: Ghorgor, naturally. His old circusmaster friend is able to keep up with him, despite being a short human.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Altenberg, the seat of the Knights of Light, is an absolutely MASSIVE seaside castle that could withstand any siege.
  • Big Good: Methraton is the greatest force for good who (unlike God) actually takes an active interest in the affairs of the mortal realm. He's virtually a god in his own right, but he's really just an immortal archmage. His most significant act is probably providing the portals used by the different nations in the world to escape the coming destruction of Earth.
  • Big Red Devil: Most of the demons of Hell take the form of giant red humanoids with horns and wings.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Haazheel Thorn is not happy after he learns that Wismerhill has betrayed him and closed the Hell Gate that he had opened to conquer the world.
    ''He dared doing WHAAAAAT!?
  • Bittersweet Ending: Wismerhill manages to save many of the world's civilizations from the impending destruction of Earth (primarily human ones), but many (primarily barbarian ones, whether human or monstrous) are left to hang, and some of them (like the dwarves and elves/fey) choose to Face Death with Dignity instead.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Wismerhill and his friends are primarily self-interested warlords, but the Big Bad Haazheel Thorn is an Evil Sorcerer and Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Black Swords Are Better: When Wismerhill becomes the commander-in-chief of the armies of the Black Moon and one of the Lords of Negation, his master Haazheel Thorn gifts him with a black sword forged out of steel from the land of the dead. His main sword earlier on was also black, with red highlights.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Ghorghor Bey, all the way. He's a bloodthirsty half-ogre warlord who loves nothing more than fighting, drinking, and tumbling with his men.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ian the inept ranger.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Feydriva and Pilou both wear armor that exposes quite a lot of their well-formed bodies. Although Pilou at least has the excuse that he's also a thief, so carrying less bulk is a plus.
  • Child by Rape: Ghorghor Bey was conceived when his mother's small northern village was attacked by a group of man-eating ogres and she was discovered by a young ogre who, struck by her beauty, decided to rape her instead of eating her. She still loved her half-human half-ogre baby boy (partly because his birth crippled her for life, meaning she wouldn't be able to have children again), but to the rest of the village (including his step-father) he was some sort of abomination.
  • Church Militant: The two religious knightly orders of the empire, the Knights of the Light (patterned after The Knights Templar) and the Knights of Justice (patterned after The Knights Hospitallers). Eventually, the former is absorbed by the latter after they try to overthrow the emperor.
  • Color-Coded Armies: The factions seen in battles are often easily identified by their colors. The Empire of Lynn is red, the Order of Light is white, the Order of Justice is blue, and the Black Moon is green.
  • Conjoined Twins: Ghorghor Bey's first love(s) as a young man were the conjoined sisters who travelled along as part of the Freak Show exhibition of the traveling circus group that Bey had joined. They were later killed by a Dzorak when the group had to escape the clutches of an evil nobleman. Bey did get his revenge on the duke in question, but he wasn't reunited with the twins until years later when Wismerhill resurrects them as a token of friendship to Bey and even goes to the trouble of giving them separate bodies.
  • Cool Ship: The flagship of the Tharque Empire, a maritime nation that once ruled most of the known world, is made out of the skeleton of a dead sea monster. It utterly dwarfs the other ships, and is even powered by magic so that it can row itself.
  • Cool Chair:
    • Gredinald's throne (later Wis's). Turns out to be a potent magical artifact too.
    • Haazheel Thorn's throne is a massive crystalline beast with Spikes of Villainy that makes the Iron Throne look friendly.
  • Cool Helmet: Everyone who wears armor. One recurring mook looks like Jason, while Parsifal's looks like the good-guy version of a Khornate Berserker's.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: The entire plot of the series was set in motion by Lucifer and his minion Pazuzu when they decided to play a game where Pazuzu couldn't just let his boss win every time to escape his wrath. Each of them would create a child on Earth and let them battle for the fate of the world.
  • Court Mage: Any lord of high enough standing employs at least one mage if they're smart about it, since not being prepared against the enemy employing magic against them could cost them their heads in this war-torn setting.
  • Crapsack World: War is virtually constant in this Dark High Fantasy world (often as proxies for divine forces), the rulers are either brutal pragmatists trying to salvage what's left (Emperor Haaghendorf) or total monsters who just want to destroy and kill everything and everyone (Haazheel Thorn), feudal holdings and cities are often ruled by cruel nobles or unscrupulous magistrates, and even outside the cities dozens of warlords regularly go on their own campaigns of killing and plunder. Never mind the nigh-infinite list of creatures that feast on unfortunate wanderers who are too stupid to not travel in armed groups, or kill anyone in their territory regardless of intentions. Basically, Everything Is Trying to Kill You, or suck out your soul to dine on it, or worse.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church is built on an alliance with God, represented by two stone tablets that are later destroyed. It's far from the only religion in the empire, though.
  • Deader Than Dead: Despite Death Is Cheap being a thing, there are some things you just can't come back from, such as having having your soul be a demon's snack or being destroyed by oblivion-invoking effects, like the Breath Weapon of the Lords of Negation's dragon mounts, or a Sphere of Annihilation.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • Justified in that Haazheel Thorn is a stupidly-high level mage and demigod in an RPG Verse. To quote the man himself just before he resurrects Wismerhill: "Dead again? It's starting to become a habit...". In fact, the only time he gets angry about this is because Wis goes on a dungeon crawl through an undead prince's palace without having him along.
    • Zigzagged after Parsifal and Gredinald have their climactic duel. Greldinald later reappears as if getting a sword buried in your helmet is no big deal, but Parsifal's decapitated head being replaced on his body and brought back to life by a massive prayer is treated like a miracle, although nobody, even Parsifal himself, is surprised it worked.
  • Demonic Possession: The demon Urmarcht takes over the body of warlord Ghorghor Bey as he's defending a stronghold that his forces have occupied from a counterattack by the Knights of Light. The demon leads him to abandon his defense at the gate tactics and instead meet the knights in open battle so that he and his forces will easily be wiped out.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Lucifer is the infernal High Prince who rules over all Hell, but there are various lesser Princes and Dukes ruling one of its 666 domains. Among those mentioned:
    • Urmarcht is a "high demon" who directly works for Lucifer and Haazheel Thorne.
    • Oghun is a Blind Seer and demon prince who participates in the demonic invasion of Earth, being more specifically tasked by Lucifer to kill the Oracle so no non-demonic source of prophecy remains.
    • Pazuzu is the Prince of Demons and The Dragon to Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness. He is also Wismerhill's father.
    • Beelzebub is the Prince of the Flies, a giant bloated demon whose body is composed of tens of thousands of flies amalgamated into one form.
    • Helle is an infernal archdemoness who was originally allied with Lucifer before making a deal with Beelzebub to invade Terra Secunda.
  • Destination Defenestration: As the Baron of Moork, Wismerhill is badgered by the guild leaders who demand more rights of him. He eventually gets so annoyed that he throws the head of the guild through the castle window to his death. Two scared engineers then respectfully ask their lord if they should restore the window, given that they've already had to repair it twice that very week. Wismerhill is so amused that he promises them he'll just use a sword next time.
  • Dirty Coward: When Wismerhill first goes on a campaign against the empire, some cities who surrender before his army can sack them take groveling to a degree that disgusts their conquerors and pillagers, even offering their wives and daughters.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Early on in the series Wismerhill and his friends develop a routine where Feydriva will suffer an "accidental" Wardrobe Malfunction when one of her Breast Plates falls off so that Pilou can steal the purse of any gentleman who will be distracted by this sight.
  • Dragon Hoard: The oldest and biggest dragon in the world, who spawned the rest of his race, has been sleeping for thousands of years Beneath the Earth on top of a huge pile of gold.
  • Dragon Rider: Dragons are used as steeds by particularly badass warriors. The Dragonlords of the mountains in particular specialize in this form of warfare, and the Emperor of Lhynn has some of the most impressive dragons in the entire setting.
    • Prior to the Empire's confrontation with Haazheel Thorn's decoy army, the latter animates an entire undead army to soften up the enemy, and its commanders are powerful undead lords mounted on similarly undead dragons.
    • The Lords of Negation, the Black Moon's smallest, most elite corps (only a dozen or so) are mounted dark grey wyrms who seem to breathe oblivion.
  • Droit du Seigneur: Pilou gladly practices it when Whismerhill temporarily put him in charge of the Empire.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Feydriva is rather suddenly killed off in the third album while the heroes visit a Vanishing Village.
    • Fratus Sinister looks like he's going to play a major part in the final battle between Wismerhill's and Haazheel's forces, but he's casually killed by Hellaynnea.
  • Dying Curse: Haazheel Thorne's last action when Wismerhill finally slays him in battle is to curse the entire world for his defeat, using his magic to ensure that the moon will crash into the planet and exterminate all life.

    E to L 
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The series was a lot closer to a Role-Playing Game Verse early on before moving to be closer to High Fantasy.
    • Wis is first introduced as a knight errant using a horse and lance to... kill a rabbit.
    • Pilou's name originally referred to the fact that his personality changed depending on which sword he drew (as in "Heads or Tails"), this aspect was dropped pretty fast in favor of the standard Lovable Rogue personality.
    • The first dwarfs seen onscreen are a bunch of crass hairy bar-brawlers types who slap Feydriva's ass and yell out weird catchphrases like "Dwarf Power!" Those seen later fit Our Dwarves Are All the Same much closer.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Oracle as it appears in its true form to emperor Haaghendorf (subverted epically in the last volume, which reveals her to be a Hot God).
    • The Dzorak/Dvorak (huge swamp-dwelling cycloptic octopus-things only second in power to dragons among monsters, considered embodiments of foulness, and their name is a very common insult).
    • The infernal hekatonkheires (gigantic living weapons of mass-destruction of The Legions of Hell).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Without spoiling anything else, let's just say that the last volume's title is perfectly justified.
  • Enemy Mine: After Fratus Sinister is defeated by Lord Parsifal and has to go on the run, he joins up with the Black Moon to get revenge on both the emperor and on the dragonlords who abandoned him. Wismerhill even uses the trope word-for-word, stating that the enemy of his enemy is his friend. It still doesn't end well for Fratus, mostly because he can't resist trying to betray his new allies.
  • Exact Words: The dragons are bound to the Dragon Knights by a pact that has to last "until the end of the world". It comes to bite them in the ass in the very last volume, when The End of the World as We Know It is about to happen so the dragons consider the pact no longer in effect.
  • Expy:
    • The demon nursemaids are pretty much the same as the less-than-fearsome assistants to the heroine of a previous work of Froideval's, Succubus (Hellaynnnea herself made a cameo in it).
    • The Empire is, for all intents and purposes, the Empire of Warhammer Fantasy (including an alliance with a dwarven kingdom), minus the gunpowder.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The decision of both the dwarves and the elves/faerie folk as a whole when The End of the World as We Know It comes knocking, instead of trying to save their skins by attempting to go through the same portal to another as the humans do.
  • The Fagin: As a young elf boy Pilou was bought from a slave merchant by a criminal mastermind who trained children to be pick-pockets for him and ultimately full-time thieves if they were successful. This was just one part of his organization, as most of the criminals working for him were adults.
  • Faking the Dead: After the Black Moon loses a massive battle against the Empire and both Haazheel and Greldinard are apparently killed off, it turns out that the whole thing was a diversionary tactic so that they could lay low for a while and rebuild their forces without the Emperor recognizing the urgency of nipping this threat in the bud.
  • False Flag Operation: Haazheel and Greldinard stage the death of Wismerhill's father at the hands of the empire so that Wismerhill will join the forces of evil in the final battle for the fate of the world.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Wismerhill allows a dozen or so tribes to follow him through the gate to the new world, ranging from Mongols to Vikings to Aztecs.
  • Feudal Overlord: The Empire of Lynn is swarming with unscrupulous nobles like this. The upper hierarchy of the Empire has no time to deal with them since they're far more occupied with keeping the realm from collapsing completely due to constant threats from within and without. For example, the tyrannical duke who imprisoned Ghorghor Bey's circus troupe after refusing to pay them for their services and incited his development into a barbaric warlord.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Hell is a fiery subterreanean landscape where the souls of the wicked are tortured and devoured by Lucifer and his giant red demons.
  • For the Evulz: While nobody has motivations that are this simple, most characters indulge in villainy for their amusement from time to time, or have way too much fun doing their morally dubious job.
  • Framing Device: The second series is framed as a story told by one of Wismerhill's daughters to her own daughter about how grandfather became the emperor of this strange new world.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Hellaynnea does this a few times. What else would you expect from a succubus?
  • Gambit Pileup: Haazhel Thorn intends to give the world over to demons by opening demonic portals. But because Wis wasn't aware of it (and would NOT have approved anyway), he closes one of the portals, to Thorn's fury.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: When the Black Moon leaves its orbit to crash into the world, the moon's gravitational pull starts to cause earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and massive tidal waves. The old naval Empire of Tharque is destroyed by the mother of all tsunamis.
  • Glamour Failure: Played for laughs when the hell-lord Pazuzu transforms himself and his demonic minions into an elf prince and his entourage so they can infiltrate a castle. One of the (male) demons who has been transformed into a noblewoman is rather transparent with his boorish body language unbecoming a high lady of the court. His boss incinerates him as a lesson to the others to remember to act their parts.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When they use their magic Wismerhill and Haazheel Thorn's eyes are burning red and green respectively. Because they're both half-demons.
  • A God Am I: When Wismerhill asks Haazheel Thorn if he is truly a demigod as his followers say, Haazheel says he might as well be. In fact, he is the son of the most powerful demon in Hell.
  • Groin Attack: Frater Sinister, in an unbelievably suicidally stupid move, summons Hellaynnea for a one-on-one session with the succubus. She responds by biting off his penis and sucking out his soul.
  • Half-Human Hybrids:
    • Wismerhill is a half-elf (later revealed to have been a demon prince in the guise of an elf)
    • Ghorghor is a half-ogre (his father was a very young ogre, his mother an unwilling villager).
    • Haazheel Thorn is the offspring of the Prince of Darkness and a human woman.
  • Having a Blast: Creating explosions is one of the many powers that a mage can learn. Shamballeau especially is very good at it, being introduced blowing up twenty soldiers who hassled him before Wismerhill adopts him into his crew.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Hellaynnea. Wis and Greldinard towards the end, after a fashion.
  • Hellgate: It's opened by Haazheel Thorn on the Prince of Darkness's orders so The Legions of Hell can assist the Black Moon in destroying the empire before laying waste to the rest of the world. After Wismerhill discovers the plan was not simple to dismantle the empire but to create Hell on Earth all along, he marshalls his forces for an epic battle to banish Lucifer and his demons back to Hell and close the portal for good.
  • Hell on Earth: Haazheel's and his father Lucifer's plan is to destroy the Empire of Lynn and turn it into a demon-worshipping theocracy so that God will leave the Earth in disgust. Then the true invasion through the Hellgate can commence, as The Legions of Hell destroy all of humanity to turn the Earth into a new Hell. Wis kinda threw a wrench in those plans by closing the gate, because he wasn't in on the plan.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: One artbook that goes into more detail about the Empire's workings is narrated by a Femme Fatale, who ends up falling for Wis and Hellaynnea by the end.
  • Horse Of Another Color: Greldinard rides a Krell into battle, a giant armored four-legged Xenomorph Xerox which usally resides in volcanic landscapes. In fact, the only reason he survived the encounter was because his mother helped him from the spirit world to subdue the beast.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Haazheel Thorn and his father Lucifer.
  • I Know Your True Name: Methraton is able to overpower Lucifer because he knows the Prince of Darkness' true name, then imprisons him in another dimension.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Parsifal and his Knights of Justice.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: During Ghorgor's time with a traveling theater troupe, the lead actress of a Romeo And Juliet-like play fell ill. The manager hurriedly looked for someone to replace her and went with Ghorgor. Without informing the lead actor, who was forced to proclaim his love for the delicate girl as the balcony collapses under her weight.
  • Inertial Impalement: By waiting until the last possible moment to lift up their pikes, a group of pikemen under Murata are able to completely destroy a line of charging knights.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: After going on several campaigns of Rape, Pillage, and Burn on the edges of the Empire of Lynn, Haazheel Thorn goes to the capital city of Lynn with his entourage to pledge his allegiance to the emperor as his vassal. Everyone involved knows that this is just for show and war will soon continue, but both sides are stalling for time to strengthen their forces.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Wismerhill goes through two different and very elaborate ones, first when he becomes a high priest of the Black Moon by crawling through a cave system to undergo several trials, and second when he becomes the leader of the Lords of Negation, Haazheel Thorn's most elite soldiers. Both instances involve him dying and being resurrected as well.
  • It Amused Me: The prequel shows that the entire plot was set off by a bet between Lucifer and Pazuzu, because the former wanted a game that wouldn't be deliberately lost by his opponent for fear of retribution.
  • It's All My Fault: Wismerhill blames himself for the end of the world after Haazheel Thorn uses his last ounce of magic to cause the Black Moon to crash into the Earth, but the Oracle tells him that every possible path would have led him here.
  • Kill the God: Deicide is apparently possible in the setting. When Lucifer's demons rampage around the world after Haazheel opens the Hell Gate between their dimensions, they attack the Oracle's sanctuary intending to destroy the Oracle before Wismerhill intervenes and slays the demons. On the other hand, Methraton later specifically seals Lucifer away after his defeat because he doesn't know of any way to kill a god.
  • Last Villain Stand: When Wismerhill finally betrays Big Bad Evil Sorcerer Haazheel Thorn, the latter arrives in the royal palace with his elite guard to punish Wismerhill. When his forces are all killed by Wismerhill's, Haazheel snaps and transforms into a giant humanoid demon. He almost wins the battle singlehanded in this form, killing pretty much all of Wismerhill's allies before Wismerhill rips his heart out and destroys his former mentor for good.
  • The Legions of Hell: The demons of hell are summoned in battle by Haazheel Thorn and sent by Lucifer to Take Over the World after God is out of the picture.
  • Let the Boss Win: The entire events of the series are set in motion because of Lucifer playing chess (and always winning) against his minion Pazuzu (who knows exactly how much Lucifer's promise not to kill the one who bests him is worth), who keeps losing so as not to incur his master's wrath. So they decide to play the game with mortals instead.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: The priests of the Black Moon faith are often found floating in a lotus position when they're either meditating or accompanying their leader Haazheel Thorn's forces.
  • Light Is Good: The Order of Justice, whose grandmaster Parsifal is an exemplar of the pious, Lawful Good Paladin and Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Light Is Not Good: The leadership of the Knightly Order of Light is held by grandmaster Fratus Sinister, who has designs on the imperial throne, and his cronies, all of them power-hungry, morally bankrupt assholes.
  • Living Gasbag: On the second Earth Wismerhill's men run into miles-wide flying jellyfish that are either giant colonies of smaller jellyfish, or the smaller ones are the brain cells of a single being.

    M to P 
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Wismerhill ends up fathering nine children (eight daughters and one son) with Hellheyna and his harem.
  • Mercy Kill: During his imprisonment by the Empire, Dinard was shown mercy by an Imperial priest, who even taught him to read. So when the orcs breach the fortress, Dinard finds the priest and explains that he's going to kill him to spare his being tortured. The priest forgives and blesses him as he dies.
  • Mile-High Club: Wismerhill is carried by his Winged Humanoid lover Hellaynnea the succubus to have sex in the clouds.
  • Military Mage: The army of the Black Moon contains entire units of military sorcerers casting spells at the enemy. Wis' giant warmachine has a specially designed bunker where his mages can cast spells in safety.
  • Minion Manipulated into Villainy: Haazheel Thorn orchestrates the apparent murder of Wismerhill's long-lost father in a False Flag Operation to make the Empire of Lhynn appear responsible. When Haazheel offers him an opportunity for revenge, Wismerhill joins the Sorcerous Overlord's army and becomes one of his most useful assets in the war against Emperor Haaghendorf. Wis later discovers the truth when his real father shows up to inform his son how Haazheel has been manipulating him all along.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The cover of album 13, The Prophecy, shows Wismerhill and Hazheel Thorn staring each other down with (literally) burning eyes.
  • Monster Progenitor: The dragon species was spawned by a single primordial dragon, who is of course the biggest. He doesn't show until the end of the world approaches when he wakes up from his centuries-long slumber to lead his children through the spacegate.
  • Moon Base: The headquarters of the Black Moon are, astonishingly enough, on the Moon. It can only be reached through a portal deep in the swamps of the Barony of Moork, which on the outside only shows an illusion of a simple tower.
  • Moon Drop: The Big Bad doesn't take defeat well. NOT. AT. ALL.
  • Mugging the Monster: Wishmerhill visits a powerful mage who claims to know where to find the oracle. The mage drugs him and straps him to a device intending to drain his lifeforce. He didn't know that Wismerhill possessed powers far beyond an ordinary half-elf.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: During a massive engagement between the Black Moon and the Empire of Lynn, Haazheel Thorn transforms into a gigantic four-armed titan to throw magic blasts at the opposing armies.
  • The Multiverse: Apparently reality is made up of many different dimensions tied together by the four elements. After humanity leaves the Earth for a different world when it is about to be destroyed, it takes Lucifer one hell of an effort to find humanity again between all the different universes.
  • Mutual Kill: Lord Parsifal and Baron Greldinard of Moork both deliver each other a killing blow during a major battle between the Empire of Lynn and the Black Moon. However, both are later revived by the forces of light and darkness, respectively.
  • The Necrocracy:
    • Wismerhill and his entourage go on an unapproved mission to the southern provinces to invade a kingdom of the living dead. They mow down the skeletal armies outside the tombs fairly easily, but are almost killed by its lich prince and his vampire, mummy and ghost lieutenants, surviving only thanks to their boss Haazheel Thorn's intervention.
    • Wismerhill himself, despite looking fully human, is a type of crypto-zombie when he became one of the Lords of Negation, Black Knight super-warriors loyal to Haazheel Thorne. Long after Haazheel's grip on them has been broken and Wismerhill has become the Emperor of all humanity, he has to resort to consuming human lifeforce for a while until his mages find a way to supply him some other way.
  • Necromancer:
    • Haazheel Thorn has control over the living dead, raising them as part of his army. He can also gift his servants with a straightforward resurrection if they've fallen in battle, but you better damn hope he considers you useful enough to bother.
    • He also spares Greldinald when he sees the unusual method his mother used.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Haazheel Thorn raises a gigantic legion of undead, lead by mighty wyrm-riding undead lords... merely as a way to soften up the imperial armies before battle. He still loses said battle... just as planned.
  • No-Sell: Methraton takes a full-powered attack from Lucifer himself and comes out of it with an expression of mild irritation, like someone threw a rock at Dr. Manhattan.
  • Origins Episode: Several characters from the main series have been given their origin story albums, namely Pilou, Ghorghor Bey, and Lord Parsifal.
  • Our Angels Are Different: They're giant winged humanoids serving God who, unlike the demons, only rarely intervene in the world, most notably when the Knights of Justice summon Gabriel to ask him to make the Knights of Light see the true way after being led astray by its corrupt leadership.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Various types of demons are seen. Most of The Legions of Hell are big, red, horned humanoids, though Lucifer himself looks could almost be mistaken for human. The succubi also originate in hell, and are ambiguously sexual shapeshifters. All demons love human souls, which they eat for lunch. The Big Bad himself is a half-demon spawned by the Devil [[Spoiler: and the protagonist is revealed to also be a half-demon, spawned by Pazuzu]].
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Many sizes and colors, but mostly cosmetic differences as they're pretty much all big (human to kaiju size) reptilian flyers with fire breath (except for undead ones and negation wyrms, who breathe unlife and oblivion respectively). Most are (or at least seem) sentient, though several look like they have the intelligence of a cat or chimp more than a human one.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Stout, short and bearded? Check. Live inside mountains (and active volcanoes)? Check. Master engineers, miners and smiths? Check. Greedy? Check. Love alcohol? Check. Hate orcs? Check. Fight equipped with massive war machines, heavy armor, axes and hammers? Check, check and check.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: They grow really big here, often easily over 50 feet tall. They're also pretty much brutish savages who will happily join the Army of the Black Moon in their war against the empire.
  • Our Gods Are Different: There are said to be many different gods, although they're almost never seen. God and his angels occasionally help out the holy orders of knights who serve the empire but prefer to keep their distance from mortal affairs. The Oracle is another god, whose true form is a multi-headed Eldritch Abomination but is in fact a female Hot God. Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness himself, can be considered this, and likely one of the more powerful ones apart from God.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: After Haazheel Thorne's demise, the heroes are visited by a clone that the wicked sorcerer had created of himself to manage the Black Moon prayers (and is also far less evil-minded than him so he would be easier to control). He's basically just there to serve as Mr. Exposition about Haazheel's final plan before he melts into a puddle because there's no more magic energy to sustain him.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Wismerhill and his gang decide to go tomb raiding in a kingdom of the living dead in the southern provinces ruled by a lich prince. He's by far the most dangerous undead they face, and almost kills them (actually succeeding in some cases) with his magical powers. They survive (or get resurrected) only by summoning their boss Haazheel Thorn to help them out, who's an even more powerful dark wizard.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: They look more like brown-furred, club-wielding yeti. Half-ogres look more human but are just as big. How big? Ghorgor Bey uses a beer barrel as a drinking goblet.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Similar to Warhammer orcs, with the same sense of tactics, only usually with more humanlike skintones and racial hatred of elves.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: This is how the hero Wismerhill met his first paramour, Fey, bathing in a river. At first she's mad at the peeper, throwing her bastard sword in a tree next to him (she may bathe nude, but she never parts with her weapon). However the virgin hero reacts quite innocently, having never seen a naked woman before, and she quickly warms up to him.
  • Physical God
  • Planetary Nation: Zigzagged Trope. After humanity settles on a new world after the forces of evil have destroyed the old one, Methraton tells the human nations that they have to pick one emperor from among their kings who will rule over the entire world, as he won't allow any more pointless warring between them. They select Wismerhill when he is the only monarch to refuse the throne. However, the other kings seem to retain a degree of autonomy (and their titles), given the feudal setting.

    Q to Z 
  • Religion of Evil: The Black Moon faith, which worships Haazheel Thorn.
  • Road Apples: While walking through the Black Moon army camp, Wismerhill dodges a giant who just took a crap above him. Pilou notes that it would have been a particularly embarassing way to go.
  • Roleplaying Game Verse: The books start with a nobody called Wismerhill going on a journey and adding more friends to his party while facing various perils that are thrown in their way. It helps to explain a lot of what happens when you know that the series was inspired by one of Froideval's old Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, and that he worked on AD&D for TSR in The '80s.
  • Royal Harem:
    • Aside from Hellaynnea, a succubus and his main consort, Wismerhill gains around ten other wives, all of whom bear him a daughter.
    • Haazheel Thorn has his own harem of succubi, who are otherwise unable to hurt him because of his vast magical powers.
  • Satan: Lucifer is shown early on to be the true master of all demons, and it's hinted that he's more powerful than the gods (except maybe for God himself, who's unfortunately a lot less proactive). Old Nick is also The Man Behind the Man for much of the series' plot.
  • Scary Impractical Armor:
    • Wismerhill's "leader of the Lords of Negation" getup.
    • Parsifal the paladin's armor is impressive too.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • The most notable ones happen towards the series' end: First, God, when it's obvious that with Lhynn in the hands of a puppet of Haazheel Thorn, the latter has a free hand in bringing about Hell on Earth, calls out for all his true faithful to go to Lord Parsifal's realm, and when the last of them passes through the gate, takes the land away to Another Dimension of prosperity and security.
    • Then in the very last volume, when The End of the World as We Know It is about to happen by way of Moon Drop, Methraton organises the evacuation to another world of the population of humanity's greatest, most organised nations from all continents. The Winds go through with minimal fuss; The dragons are let through by Methatron out of pragmatism, as it's not certain the human forces would be able to stop them or survive trying (a few dozen dragons? Messy, but doable. The entire species? Good luck); everybody else who tries (orcs and other savage humanoids, barbarians, what-have-you) is screwed unless they're among the small minority allied to the protagonists. The elves/fairy folk and the dwarves choose another path.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Succubi are able to take on any form, female or male, to lure in victims. Hellaynnea does a very extended demonstration when she offers to serve Wismerhill, going through 30 or so forms, including his previous lover who had been Stuffed into the Fridge.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Very common in this setting. When one faction sends a messenger to another faction, they usually end up dead.
    • One of Ghorghor Bey's men is turned into a frog by the master of a sorcerer's stronghold after demanding their surrender.
    • Fratus Sinister and his corrupt cronies at the head of the order of the Knights of Justice shoot (with arrows) upwards of 20 imperial messengers one after the other. A variation in that they're shot before they even deliver the message, as Sinister want to keep plausible deniability as to why he didn't commit his forces to the absolutely massive battle taking place against the Big Bad's decoy forces (Fratus wants to take over the Empire, see). This bites him in the ass later on, as the savvy emperor isn't fooled, and Fratus gets a humiliating demotion from the Empire's aristocratic pecking order.
    • Wismerhill and his friends respond to a representative of the empire demanding that they hand over the Barony of Moork to its newly appointed lord by having the messenger roasted by a baby dragon and served up for dinner—their own, not the dragon's.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Pilou's origin story, we get a crowd scene in which a tall bearded man in gray with two shorter guys can be seen. Haazheel's Lords of Negation are also very similar to Sauron's Ringwraiths, being tall armored semi-undead faceless knights controlled by their master through Rings of Power.
    • Further cementing the RPG-Mechanics Verse's nature, the elder dragons are classified by color, one of them a Multiple Head Case with each head a different color.
    • In their first appearance, the orcs were essentially Warhammer Fantasy-esque brutes with a wider range of skin colors. When they appear in Greldinald's spin-off, they're much closer to Warcraft orcs, from skin color to armor (though they still ride giant boars).
    • Dinard gets himself a giant monster called a krell to use as a mount that is, for all intents and purposes, a pantherish xenomorph the size of a bus.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Color of choice and standard side-effect of the magic of Haazheel Thorn and his Black Moon cronies.
  • Sky Face: After the army of the Black Moon sacks several cities, Haazheel Thorn's face appears in the sky to declare that the Black Moon is finally rising.
  • Soul Eating:
    • Souls from all the mortal races are devoured by the demons from hell, as well as succubi. The main bad guy also dies this way when Lucifer shows his displeasure with his failure.
    • The One is also found of eating souls like candies.
  • Spanner in the Works: After Wismerhill attacks, and closes, a portal to Hell, Haazheel is very angry indeed, as this marks the end of Wis being his puppet.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Ghorghor Bey's armor as a dreaded warlord is covered head to toe with massive spikes, to the point where nobody could conceivably even get near him without getting gored in the process.
  • Spirit Advisor: Greldinard's mother, who was a shamaness in life, continues to advise him as a spirit after her death. She actually plays a vital role in preventing Greldinard's youthful brashness from getting himself killed, as she uses her magic to bind a cave-dwelling monster to him so he can use it as a mount, and convinces the uber-powerful Haazheel Thorne to spare her son's life.
  • Spoiler Title: Album 14 is named The End of Days. Guess what happens?
  • Snake Person:
    • Methraton's servant Serpent is a half-snake warrior usually seen guarding his master's temple in the clouds. He also makes noticeable use of Sssnake Talk.
    • Some of the original inhabitants of Terra Secunda are the Ophidians, a race of snake people who don't take too kindly to the new invaders.
  • Sssnake Talk: Serpent, Methraton's right-hand man.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Wismerhill is perhaps a bit too powerful by the time of the second story arc on Terra Secunda where he's a God-Emperor. While his conflict with the Black Moon took years to unfold and finally killing Haazheel required immense effort and the help of all his allies, every conflict on Terra Secunda is resolved rather quickly with Wismerhill smashing Lucifer's demonic army, then smashing the Ophidian Army and kidnapping the Emperor with little effort, and then easily thwarting a second demonic invasion because his friendship with the new god pretty much gives him a Deus ex Machina who does house calls.
  • Storming the Castle: Castle and city sieges usually amount to thousands of soldiers storming the gates and killing anything in sight. Having sorcerers, dragons, giants and other huge war beasts helps a lot.
  • Stronger with Age: Dragons only get bigger as they get older. The oldest dragon in the world and the progenitor of his kind is so big that he barely fits through the spacegate.
  • The Strongman: Ghorgor Bey was part of a traveling circus in his youth, which included a strongman who used his dumbbells as weapons.
  • Summoning Ritual: There are various rituals available to mages to can summon different demons. One of them gets one hell of a surprise when the demon turns out be Satan himself, who was looking for a doorway to reach mankind after they had abandoned the previous world to escape its destruction.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: When Lucifer and his son Haazheel Thorn finally meet, the latter looks like a frail old man while the former like somebody in his prime. Lucifer of course is an immortal deity, while Haazheel has been aging normally for decades. Part of Lucifer's plans for Haazheel involves ascending him to full godhood in exchange for delivering the Earth to him.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Back in his This Loser Is You days, Wis hunted rabbits with a jousting lance and a charger.
    Wismerhill: Victory! The beast has perished!
  • Thieves' Guild: Pile-ou-face the elf was sold to the master of a thieves' and assassins' guild as a young boy and brought up in their trade. He was quickly hated by the other boys both for being a non-human and his talent at stealing thanks to being an elf arousing their jealousy. As an adult Pilou eventually sells out the entire guild to get revenge on the master for arranging the death of a friendly thief who had been a father figure to him.
  • Those Two Guys: The final battle against demons leaves two survivors, a hulking brute and a diminutive imp who's the brains of the outfit, though not by much.
  • Treacherous Advisor: in a way, the mage who worked for Ghorgor Bey's nemesis:
    Lord: Here he comes! Mage, do something!
    Mage: Sorry about this, lord, but I've got a teleport on the boil, goodbye!
    Lord: Mage? Oh no!
  • Treasure Room: When Wismerhill and his friends invade the kingdom of the living dead and defeat its lich prince, the next thing they find is his enormous treasure room, which they plunder to fund their military build-up against the empire.
  • True Companions: While Wismerhill becomes more powerful and fearsome over the course of the story, he never loses his friends' respect and trust. In one story he takes time to buy rare gifts for his companions, and one companion in particular gets his dead lover(s) resurrected.
  • Upper-Class Twit: After the first defeat of the Black Moon armies, Emperor Haghendorf bestows the apparently vacated title of Baron of Moork unto a foppish aristocrat who thinks his new subjects will just welcome him with open arms. Wismerhill makes a good show of this before capturing the clueless nobleman and seizing his own feudal estates.
  • Vanishing Village: The party stays in one unwittingly for a night near the beginning of the series. Used to facilitate the aforementionned fridging.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Tharque empire, an Ancient Grome Fantasy Counterpart Culture that still has some impressive vestiges of its glory days, including a ridiculously huge flagship made from the skeleton of a sea monster for its navy, supposedly still the mightiest in the world.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Subverted in The Opal Throne. The Ophidian snake-emperor retreats after witnessing his army being destroyed, with the captions noting that he will bide his time, slowly rebuild his forces, and be back for another round. Immediately afterwards, Wismerhill in his giant form pursues and catches the Emperor, levels his palace, and forces him to submit by threatening to kill his Empress.
  • Villainous Breakdown: At the final confrontation with Wismerhill in the imperial castle, Haazheel finally goes apeshit when his soldiers start to lose, going One-Winged Angel and destroying anything he sees.

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