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Recap / The Order of the Stick: Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales

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Warning! Recap page: Contains unmarked spoilers

A collection of cartoon strips from Dragon magazine, along with several original works created for the book.

  • "Julio Scoundrél and the Curse of the Mummy Queen" relates an adventure from Julio's youth. Illustrated in a considerably different style from the rest of the book. Julio must recover the Sapphire of Purity from the Mummy Queen, but to do so he must first defeat her consort, then risk her Curse- one hundred years as her companion!

  • "The Magazine Strips" are loosely interconnected comics set in a single dungeon. 22 strips were published in the magazine; 8 bonus strips were written for the book. The story concludes when the heroes encounter the original Dragon itself (representing Dragon Magazine) and help it escape extinction, if only symbolically. The final strip appeared on the last page of the last issue of the magazine's print run.

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  • "Edition Wars: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension" shows what happens when the Order encounters their D&D 4th Edition counterparts. The 4e version of the Order come to dimension 3.5 and deliver an ultimatum; due to the lack of Time for adventures to take place in, the 3.5e versions must merge with them or cease to exist. Battle ensues when the 3.5e heroes refuse to comply.

  • "Stick Tales:" The members of the Order tell each other a series of Fractured Fairy Tales during the interlude between Don't Split the Party and Blood Runs in the Family. These tales happen to resemble classic fiction stories, but when they are subjected to the rules of The Order of the Stick's world, Hilarity Ensues.
    • "Elan and the Beanstalk"; a boy climbs the traditional beanstalk, but the castle at the top contains a non-standard goose.
    • "Little Red Riding Hoodlum"; a red-headed jewel thief (Haley) runs afoul of the big bad wolf.
    • "Goldenleaf"; spies invade the lair of an evil genius chef.
    • "Greenhilt: Prince of Denmark"; a retelling of Hamlet in Order of the Stick style. Spoiler: everybody dies.


Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    "Julio Scoundrél and the Curse of the Mummy Queen" 

    The Magazine Strips 
  • Affably Evil: Sure, the Temple of the Shrouded Overlord want to bring about a thousand year reign of darkness, but they offer the Order refreshments when the Order realizes they're not committing acts of blood sacrifice or any sort of violent acts.
  • Call-Back: Elan is invisible again after being hit with the Wand of Dispel Clothing.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue / Talking Is a Free Action: Most pronounced when the strip stops in mid-combat for a discussion of the grappling rules.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Temple of the Shrouded Overlord. All they do is go around extinguishing streetlamps. Please do not confuse them with the Temple of the Bloodsoaked Overlord.
  • Grammar Nazi: Vaarsuvius simply cannot stand it when some monsters end sentences with prepositions, to the point that they break their invisibility to undead spell to correct them.
    Durkon: So in tha end, our doom will come from ye tryin' to qualify for tha Uptight English Teacher prestige class.
    Vaarsuvius: ...What is this English of which you speak?
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Psteve the Psion is introduced, fights exactly one monster, and... says farewell.
  • Harmless Villain: The Temple of the Shrouded Overlord. They try to bring about a thousand year reign of darkness, but mostly do so by extinguishing street lamps. Inconvenient and maybe a little bit dangerous, but it's not like they're sacrificing innocents.
  • Hand Wave: Haley explains that the reason so many Underdark races share so many similarities with their surface kin is because they were surface dwellers that got forced down there.
  • Jerkass: Belkar, as usual. He meets his match in the half-orc assassin who comes to discuss his overdue bill from the healers.
    Belkar: What are you going to do, repossess my health? Ha!
    Half-Orc: [draws sword] Actually... yes. [draws another sword] With interest.
  • Medium Awareness: Not only do the characters know they're in a comic strip, Elan knows (in a bonus strip) that Dragon Magazine was cancelled years ago; so their Recurring Character nemesis is making his last appearance.
  • Mind Screw: When Durkon has to make his Will save, but nobody else does. At least... nobody else remembers having to make a Will save... are they now in the thrall of an evil subterranean overlord? Bwahahaha!!!
  • Mooks: One strip features some goblins suddenly and horribly realizing that this is their role in life. They suffer the usual fate for nameless mooks a few moments later.
  • Poke the Poodle: The Temple of the Shrouded Overlord believe that the Ancient Overlord will bring about a thousand year reign of darkness. To inaugurate this despicable plan, they forcibly extinguish all street lamps.
    Goblin Priest: The eternal night begins NOW!
  • Recurring Character: The snail. Oh my head, the snail.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The Order helps the Ancient Dragon escape the dungeon (but not cancellation) and they fly off into the sunset.
    Haley: We should be thanking you.
    Dragon: For what?
    Haley: Everything.
  • SpaceX: Vaarsuvius is fed up with everything in the Underdark being the same as the surface world, with "Dark-" or "Deep-" tacked on in front of the name.
    Vaarsuvius: It is exactly the same as the upper world, only dimmer! JUST STAY AT HOME AND PUT ON SUNGLASSES!

    "Edition Wars: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension" 
  • Evil Counterpart: All the heroes see their opposite number as this, once the conflict begins.
  • First Kiss: 3.5e Haley and Elan share theirs, under the influence of 4e Elan's magical bard song. They weren't dating yet in this continuity.
  • Join or Die: The 4th Edition characters insist the 3.5e Order must merge with them or... well, you know, you just read the trope name.
  • Killed Off for Real: One of the Order does not survive. Luckily, it's all an alternate continuity from the online strips.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The 4e heroes arrive in dimension 3.5 via a Teleport effect that looks suspiciously like one of these.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: From 3.5e Belkar, of course.
    Roy: What my colleagues mean to say is...
    Belkar: UP YOURS, NOOB!
    Roy: I was going to say "No thanks", but that works, too.
  • We Can Rule Together: 3.5e Roy realizes that both groups can team up and battle against all the non-D&D hobbies, to create more Time for both of their groups to adventure in.

    "Stick Tales": General Tropes 
  • The Cameo: Although the heroes are portrayed as the main characters in the Tales, bit parts are played by various minor characters from the online strips.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: "Elan and the Beanstalk"; "Little Red Riding Hoodlum".
  • Shout-Out: Everywhere. See the page for specifics.
  • Twice-Told Tale: Greenhilt especially, but they all qualify.

    "Elan and the Beanstalk" 
  • Call-Back: Once again Roy (as the Giant) is falling to his death... however, he survives this time, as average falling damage in D&D terms will not kill even the weakest Giant variety.
    Roy: I've become very familiar with the falling rules in my spare time.
  • The Cameo: Instead of a magic bean, the payment for the family cow was going to be "exactly one Sean Bean." But he dies immediately after saying "hullo".
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Giant Roy: Well, fee, fie, foe, fectum, I'm gonna bury my foot in your...
  • Gender Flip: The Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs is played by Belkar. And that's not an egg.
    Goose: Nnnnnnnnnn! *ssssssSPLACKT* ... Well, I'm sure it can be shaped into an egg.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Roy the Giant, falling from the beanstalk.
    Giant Roy: [sigh] Not THIS again.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Giant Roy is not at all hard to get along with, even when you're stealing from him or growing beanstalks through his lawn.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The Giant's fruit salad is stuffed full of horse tranquilizers, allowing his serving girl (Haley) to steal the Goose. Naturally, Elan messes up her getaway.

    "Little Red Riding Hoodlum" 
  • Call-Back:
    • Lead apparently blocks locate object spells as well as detect evil.
    • And Elan as the Woodcutter enters the cottage by crashing through the window, "Dashing Swordsman"-style.
      Elan: It really ends up being worth it once out of every ten or twelve times.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Red bribes the city guard with delicious baked goods.
  • Perspective Flip: Since this is Haley's story, Red is a brilliant international jewel thief, not an innocent little girl.
  • Schizo Tech: The Big Bad Wolf (Belkar again) has a cell phone in his intro scene, and is apparently trying to call his agent.
    Big Bad Wolf: Listen, you get him on the phone and you find out why I keep ending up as the animal in these things, got it?

  • Action Girl: Lien plays one who was on her own mission to take out Goldenleaf.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Belkar is telling the story, with himself in the starring role. Of course the villain is still sitting and stroking his cat at the end of the tale.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Defied by Goldenleaf, who makes sure the spies stay put in his death trap.
    Goldenleaf: What, did you think I was just going to leave and not watch this part? Try to escape again and I'll throw a dagger in your face.
  • For the Evulz: As one would expect from Belkar's character.
    Roy: He threatened to destroy Cliffport if they didn't... actually, I don't think he gave an ultimatum.
    Lien: He made the same threat to Azure City, but specified that he was attempting to gain something called, "lulz."
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Almost invoked by name. Goldenleaf tricks agents into his secret lair so he can try out new recipes on them, before killing them.

    "Greenhilt, Prince of Denmark" 
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: Alas, poor Yikyik. It's a riff on Hamlet, someone had to have their skull dug up.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Discussed in-universe after Roy finishes the story.
    Vaarsuvius: I must also confess that I found the names of the locations distracting. Denmark? England? France?? I realize it's a work of fiction, but one cannot simply string some letters together and call it a name.
  • Expy:
    • Even more than most "Stick Tales" characters, "Laerta Liyazaki" is Miko Miyazaki transplanted to another story.
    • Xlaudius is Xykon by another name, then there's Chancellor Shojonius... hell, we might as well call Denmark "Azure City" and be done with it.
  • Hypocrite: Laerta. Oh, holy crap, Laerta.
    Xlaudius: OK, here's the poison for your blade.
    Laerta: [Greenhilt] will die for his evil acts and for consorting with the undead!
    Xlaudius: Self-awareness really isn't your thing, is it?
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Chancellor Shojonius fakes insanity in public, but when he talks to Greenhilt from behind the curtain he reveals that he is completely sane. Alas, Greenhilt thinks it's Xlaudius back there and stabs him to death.
  • Off with His Head!: Greenhilt is more decisive than Hamlet, and beheads the usurper. Since the usurper is the lich Xlaudius, beheading just inconveniences him for the rest of the scene.
  • Show Within a Show: Since Elan stages it, it goes completely out of control.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Ocelia came straight to her father to report Greenhilt's odd behavior, of course they didn't do anything else first...
    Ocelia: We certainly didn't do anything twice...