(WARNING! UNMARKED SPOILERS!)
- ...But He Sounds Handsome: A disguised Belkar tells guards that the amazingly handsome halfling who broke out ran in the other direction.
- Call-Forward: Many of the jokes in the story, of course. The biggest two plot-relevant examples however are Haley getting the ransom note for her father (which was first seen in #131) and the reason Durkon was exiled from his home.
- Can't Argue with Elves: V's constant response "And the problem with that would be?" to Haley explaining the limitations of elves earns hir a Dope Slap from Haley.Haley: Sneak attack to the face!
- Comedic Sociopathy: Belkar, as usual. When Belkar expresses a desire to kill Haley and Elan for accidentally attacking him in the Epic Fail below, Roy points out how Varsuuvius, Durkon and Roy would make quick work of him. Belkar quickly agrees that his idea isn't smart.
- Costume-Test Montage: Elan puts Roy through one of these to make him look like a mysterious stranger.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The story is not in color because Rich Berlew wanted to evoke the idea this is a prequel. And it's cheaper to make.
- Delicious Distraction: Haley is able to sneak past an Angry Guard Dog this way. It helps that the steaks she brings are laced with sleeping potion. And that she has one for each of its heads.
- Die Laughing: Durkon comments that the kobolds did this after the group's Epic Fail.
- The Eeyore: After decades of being in the human lands, Durkon was constantly sour until he meets Roy.
- Epic Fail:
- While in an Iron Chef like magic contest, Vaarsuvius miswrites a spell. The result destroys the entire wizard's guild and a part of the jail next door... allowing Belkar to bust out.
- The Order's first battle against a group of kobolds ends in disaster. Belkar prepares to charge the first kobold that gets within 30ft of him, Elan prepares to flank the first creature that takes damage, Vaarsuvius prepares to hit the first four creatures in front of them with Lightning Bolt and Haley prepares to move ahead and shoot the first creature that charges. Belkar charges and misses, resulting in Haley shooting him. Elan then flanks Belkar and stabs him with his rapier. The three of them plus the kobold are hit by Vaarsuvius' Lightning Bolt.
- Everything Is Racist: Belkar accuses the guard and medium-sized humanoids in general of looking down on small-sized people, citing things such as game mechanics and separate drinking fountains. The guard points out that small sized people can't reach the larger fountains.
- Fanservice: Lampshaded, as Haley complains Bozzok's summons are ruining her fanservice moment (bathing nude in a heated tub.)Haley: Darn it! Who's interrupting my gratuitous bath scene? (later) Geez, you try to squeeze some fan service in...
- Get Out!: The High Priest of Thor to Durkon. And he doesn't mean after an hour to arrange his departure. He means right now.
- Getting the Boot: Right after the High Priest of Thor tells Durkon that he needs to leave now, the next panel is of Durkon being forcibly tossed outside by a pair of guards.
- Ho Yay: Invoked when Gronk tells Roy he "will do anything for a backstage pass at the Iron Golems concert", and winks at him. Roy is less than pleased.
- I Resemble That Remark!: When Roy claims that Arcane casters are flawed by their faith in their magic, his father Eugene (A wizard) immediately retorts that Arcane Magic is all-powerful and completely flawless.
- A Lady on Each Arm: Belkar, when he finds the local prostitutes are having a 2-for-1 sale.
- Literal Metaphor: The Iron Golems are a Heavy Metal band who are... iron golems, and are definitely made of metal and are gigantic and heavy.
- Monochrome Past: To give the book a "flashback" feel. And be cheaper to print...
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: The very first lines is the standard "I didn't know she was your sister!" dialogue between two guards.
- Mysterious Stranger: Elan has Roy dress up as one and tells him to set in a bar booth. Roy thinks it's silly — and realizes a long line of adventurers have lined up to talk to him.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: We first see Belkar in jail, on a charge of murdering several people in a bar brawl. He tries to defend himself saying that they shouldn't have brought fists to a knife fight, but the guard retorts that it wasn't a knife fight until Belkar started stabbing people.
- Nominal Importance: Deconstructed in the preface written by Redcloak:I should also mention that as far as NPCs go, I'm one of the lucky ones. I've had a name since OOTS #95, which is more than I can say for most. Before that, I was just another goblin in a long time of disposable goblins. For a moment, imagine the inconvenience of going through life as Goblin #341. You can't vote, you can't get a driver's license, and your letters are always ending up in Goblin #314's mailbox, which is awkward because you used to date his cousin, Goblin #734, but it didn't work out because she needed to "find out who she really is", whatever that means.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: Elan's reaction when the knight he accompanies decides to ditch him.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Belkar uses the beard of a guard he just killed to craft a fake-mustache in order to sneak out of jail.
- Punny Name: On the Origin of PCs to On the Origin of Species.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: How the Order starts out. They get better in the main story.
- RPG-Mechanics Verse: As usual for The Order of the Stick, but invoked most directly when Haley convinces Vaarsuvius to go adventuring to gain levels fast. V bitterly mutters that apparently decades of magic study is less effective than killing kobolds.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Roy recruits Vaarsuvius by using this deliberately.Vaarsuvius: Bah!! You are clearly only hiring me because I intimidated you intellectually, to the point where your masculine pride requires you to establish your dominance over my superior mind.
Roy: Maybe. Or maybe I'm hiring you because I require the creation of a managed spherical energy release with a thermal signature no less than 1850° Kelvin, which can be manifested at specific X, Y, and Z coordinates from verbal cues. I require this specific temperature because it is the minimum level at which necrotized epidermis has been proven to combust and I have reason to believe that my mission will require the incapacitation of multiple post-organic hostiles.
Vaarsuvius: So... you need Fireball spells to toast the undead you expect to fight?
Roy: Did I stutter?
Vaarsuvius: ... A pleasure to serve under you, sir.
- Snipe Hunt:
- At the beginning of Durkon's story, the High Priest of Thor, Hurak, sends into human lands to act as a liaison and not return until called for. Not long after Durkon is tossed out, Hurak confesses to the Temple Brewmaster Firuk that Durkon has been prophesied by Odin's priest that the young dwarf will bring death and destruction the next time he returns to home, and sent him on an endless mission in hopes of averting a Prophecy Twist. Firuk points out that it may be a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, and is ultimately proven right decades later.note
- Sir Francois gets rid of Elan by telling him to count with his eyes closed and hightailing it out of there while Elan's distracted. Elan's reaction indicates this isn't the first time it happened to him.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Averted in the Iron Mage contest, where Vaarsuvius' Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness costs them most of their prep time.
- A Tankard of Moose Urine: The Trope Namer. This is Durkon's reaction to a taste of "the finest beer in human lands". The implications do not sit well with him.
- Taxman Takes the Winnings: Haley steals a diamond worth 20,000gp. Bozzok's fees reduces her take to double digits.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: Inverted; Roy will take anyone, but almost no one is interested in his terms.
- Ticket Line Camp Out: Roy's first mission as an adventurer is helping a town deal with a band of orcs. In the battle, he learns that the orcs aren't raiders, but camping out for concert tickets. The town just overreacted. The concert they're waiting for isn't due for a few more weeks, but the orcs are that determined to get good seats. "Mezzanine seats are sign of weakness."
- To Be Lawful or Good: Roy refuses to murder orcs who are just camping for concert tickets, instead arranging a deal to bring them snacks from town while they're waiting. Roy's teammates point out that they could have killed them for XP and not have an alignment shift. Roy shoots this down, annoying them but pleasing Durkon.
- The Unreveal: Eugene's story on how he began his Blood Oath against Xykon is skipped over, as it's covered in the main comic.
- Uriah Gambit: Shockingly employed by adventurers who are supposed to be Lawful Good, in that they send Durkon on deliberately dangerous missions because they wouldn't mind if he got killed. Roy, who is Lawful Good himself, is disgusted by their actions. He tries to inform Durkon of their actions, but Durkon already knows and goes along with it, thinking Humans Are Bastards anyway. Roy's behavior changes his mind.
- Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Belkar says he didn't kill everyone in the bar. The guard retorts they didn't want anyone killed. Belkar replies that's just silly.
- You All Meet in an Inn: Naturally. In fact, Elan tells Roy flat out this is how adventurers meet for some reason.