The Order of the Stick provides examples of the following tropes:
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- Vancian Magic: Magic in the world of OotS, naturally, follows official D&D rules... though how consistent these are is a matter of opinion. Indeed, even this is lampshaded with occasional references to "third-party supplements" and "non-core spells".Leeky Windstaff: Truly, more wizards have been laid low by the writings of Jack Vance than by any single villain.
- Vegetarian Vampire:
- Downplayed. Malack feeds on the runoff from all the executed prisoners, but not only are they in an All Crimes Are Equal state, but he's got no qualms against eating non-condemned people, aside from the problems involved in revealing his true nature to people, which would be disadvantageous. The excessive runoff is simply more than what he needs to survive comfortably.
- After Durkon becomes a vampire, the party decides that Durkon can feed off of them, then use his Restoration spell to undo the damage.Elan: We can get stickers saying we donated, and drink orange juice after!
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Subverted. Haley realizes that no matter how much stronger she gets, her personal rival will always get just as powerful offscreen. Later on, said rival argues against her boss who just wants to kill her, because she'd like to gain a few more levels for free.Crystal: [playing poker] Sweet! Starshine gained a level!
Jenny: I really need to pick a fight with a PC one of these days...
- Villainous Breakdown: Tarquin begins to suffer one after the destruction of Girard's Gate, becoming increasingly frustrated at the realisation that Elan is not the primary hero of the story — and therefore, he is not the primary villain. Suddenly his carefully calculated Pragmatic Villainy devolves into an attempt to destroy the "superfluous" members of the Order at all costs, hoping to set Elan off on a revenge quest.
- Villainous Friendship: Seems to be the case among the members of the Vector Legion—Tarquin refers to Malack as his "best friend" and Laurin is noticeably upset upon learning that Nale killed Malack.
- Villains Out Shopping: Inverted when Nale and Sabine dwell on what a terrible responsibility the heroes are under — cut to them playing Parcheesi.
- Violence Is Not an Option: Played with. Being based on a roleplaying game, violence is often used as a means of solving problems (particularly ones that involve Belkar), but at least once, Roy has invoked this trope to justify not killing anyone. At the Godsmoot, where there's a vote taking place on whether the world should be destroyed or not (due to the danger Xykon and The Gates present), the vote is all tied up due to unexpected involvement from a vampire cleric of Hel.Roy: Honestly, I've got half a mind to take one for the team and try [to kill the vampire at the Godsmoot] anyway. Being dead's not so bad. [...] But even if I could kill her before they toasted me, that still wouldn't tie this up with a neat little bow. If I die, my team falls apart and big X moves into scoring position. — And everyone is right back here to voting in a week or two.
- Virgin Sacrifice: When the Banjo-worshiping orc tribe prepares to sacrifice Lien, she tells them that if they're looking to make a virgin sacrifice, they'd have to travel back in time to before her Junior Prom.Shaman Vurkle: no, banjo like girl with some experience.
Chief Grukgruk: better if been around block few times.
Lien: Damn it, how does my mother keep being right about this stuff?
- Visual Pun:
- From one of the filler strips: "Comic is running late."Rich Burlew: Get back here, you ungrateful...
- The Cliffport Police Department is trying to fight off Pompey's summoned centipedes, so they send in the SWAT team... who happens to be heavily armored officers with flyswatters. SWAT team, indeed...
- Fox News is an actual fox.
- After Redcloak lampshades the stupidity of the Order of the Scribble having to be ignorant about the protection of each other's gates due to their distrust of each other, a hobgoblin presents a lampshade to him.
- Lien claims it's ridiculous that "a superhero would just show up on a random island in the middle of nowhere", and Elan insists that it's happened before. A cutaway panel shows Cyclops, with a flock of sheep, meeting some sailors getting off a boat...
- In the "Beach Party" wallpaper, you can see a "horseshoe crab"... i.e. a actual horseshoe with crab legs and pincers.
- A plasma-screen television in Hell leaks blood when smashed.
- From one of the filler strips: "Comic is running late."
- Voiceover Letter: Julio Scoundrél's farewell letter to Elan implies that's he's already left, causing Elan to lament that he didn't get to say goodbye. This, despite the fact that the guy is clearly standing directly behind him and had been reading the letter out through a tin can.
- Volleying Insults: Julia and Roy having a friendly brother-sister spat.
- Vomiting Cop: The rookie cop in Cliffport. Understandable, since he just walked in on a serial killers massacre (secretly commited by Thog).
- Waking Non Sequitur:
- Elan, after being stabbed by Nale and healed by Belkar from the brink of death, mumbles "Mommy... I don't wanna go to school today..."
- When Redcloak hits Hinjo with a Disintegrate spell, it's enough to knock him out but not kill him. When he's healed, he wakes up mumbling, "I'm sorry, Uncle, I'll never take a drink from your private stash again..." Probably related to the fact that his uncle Shojo apparently has a taste for Dwarven brandy. Which happens to double as a high explosive.
- Blackwing, after being hit by a trap, wakes up in "The Pit of Despair".note Blackwing: I'll be back for supper, Ma... Me an' 23 friends are gonna see if we fit into a pie...
- Haley, shortly after being stunned by a psychic attack.Haley: What is the... Where? The whuh?
Roy: The answer to your question fragment is: Time to get the hell out of here.
- Wall of Blather: Vaarsuvius blathering to a dozen of goblins about the power of magic in "Like Enthrall, Only Boring", putting them to sleep... without even using a spell.
- War Is Hell: Well said, O-Chul.O-Chul: This isnt the dungeon. In a war, people on the winning side still die. You might want to consider taking it somewhat seriously.
- Warrior Heaven: Dwarves who die with "honor" go to Valhalla, while those who don't are condemned to Hel. Dying in battle seems to be considered an honorable death by default, but Thor has made a case that people who die from alchol poisoning and cutting trees also counts.
- Watch Where You're Going!: In "When Plotlines Collide!", Roy and Haley smash into each other while fleeing, respectively, from a trio of ogres and a group of goblin ninjas.
- Weapon Jr.: A young Roy had a toy mockup of his family's ancestral sword, as seen in a flashback when the real one is broken.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Played straight. After the hobgoblins under Xykon overrun Azure City, three resistance groups spring up. Haley leads one, but isn't working with the others, because, as she explains:Haley: One group believes it was the evil influence of the Order of the Stick that corrupted their righteous leader, Hinjo, and led to his ruin in battle. The other group thinks that Hinjo orchestrated Shojo's assassination personally, and that anyone who worked too closely with him can't be trusted. Neither group is therefore at all keen on the idea of working with me. We've spent more time fighting them over supplies than we have battling hobgoblins.
- Weasel Mascot: Averted."Hors d'oeuvre": Can I be your familiar?
"Hors d'oeuvre": C'mon, it will be fun. You'll be Mysterious Cloaked Avenger, and I can be your wisecracking sidekick.
- Webcomic Time:
- The comic has been running since 2003, and as of 2018 has yet to cover two years of in-story time. Battle scenes suffer from particular dilation — a full turn of combat, which going by D&D action economy represents around 6 seconds of real time, may sometimes be spread over more than one strip.
- Lampshaded by the Oracle (providing the trope's page image), who knows the difference between Real Time and Webcomic Time, and makes sure the readers do, too. For reference, said strip is from 2008, and the thing he's prophesying sort of took place in 2013.
- Another lampshade is hung in #1136, when Thor estimates that Durkon has been dead for five and a half years (which he has, in real time), and Durkon, puzzled, replies that it's only been a week (in-story).
- Wedding Smashers:
- Kazumi and Daigo's wedding is interrupted by a sea-troll attack arranged to screen an attempted ninja assassination. On the plus side, the wedding goes ahead, they get ennobled, Kazumi's pregnancy is revealed, and all the fighting kicks both of them up to 6th level. So a pretty good day, on balance.
- The fact that Elan's parents remarrying doesn't get disrupted by anything — not even by Nale — is the final hint to Elan that the whole thing is an illusion and he's stuck in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
- Weird Sun: In "Dropping the Ball", the sun appears bigger as we zoom in on the Linear Guild. That's impossible for a celestial object.
- Weird Trade Union: The Slavedriver Union Local 934, apparently in the middle of a labor dispute over the construction of the Empress of Blood's lavish palace.Plackard: We'll Do Even Less Work Than Before!
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: General Tarquin claims that the reason he's trying to rule all of the Western continent via three empires and puppet rulers is to end to the chronic warfare that plagues the region. He may be lying, though.Tarquin: What I'm trying to do is move beyond those ideas [of "good" and "evil"] into a world where no one has any reason to fight one another. But you can't make an omelet without ruthlessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your steel boot and then publicly disembowling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others.
- Went to the Great X in the Sky: In "A Blissful Marriage", the wife of a dirt farmer, when reunited with him, states that she was afraid that he had gone to the "Great Dirt Pile in the Sky".
- We Were Your Team: When Roy was unavailable to lead the Order for several months due to being dead, not only was the party split for unrelated reasons, but the half of the party that was not actively working on getting Roy resurrected spent their time dithering around doing sidequests and was already breaking apart by the time Roy returned to the field.
- Wham Episode: Enough of them to have their own page.
- Wham Line:
- When Roy is talking to his grandfather.Horace Greenhilt: Roy... You've been dead for three and a half months.
- When Tarquin reveals the grand history of old names for the Empire of Blood:Tarquin: ... Tyrinaria...
- Malack fighting Belkar.
- Roy announcing his plan for Girard's gate.Roy: I'm going to destroy it.
- The IFCC observing V trying to alert the rest of the Order from below the gate chamber.Cedrik: Now.
- And again in this arc, Tarquin after realizing that Elan is perfectly content following Roy and playing the support role.Tarquin: Kill the ones in the crater.
- The High Priestess of Odin convening the Godsmoot and opening a binding resolution:High Priestess: The statement upon which we shall convey our patron's Yea or Nay is as follows: Whether or not, at the conclusion of this binding referendum, the gods of the three pantheons should immediately thereupon destroy the world.
- Haley does some spitballing about the spell Vampire Durkon was actually trying to learn, if not "Protection from Sunlight".
- Thor shows Durkon and Minrah the gravestone for the first world and reiterates that after the Snarl destroyed that world, the Gods created a second one to contain the Snarl and be a home for mortals.
- And it only gets worse the further down the page you go.Thor: Well, it's like my Dad says: We gods may have a lot of bad qualities — [panel zooms out to show the millions upon millions of world gravestones] — but we sure ain't quitters.
- Thor gives two in rapid succession:
- First, when explaining why the Snarl keeps breaking out of its prison. Each of the three divine pantheons has a unique "color" which represents their philosophical essence. The more divine colors involved in the creation of something, the more real it becomes.Thor: And the Snarl is made out of four.
- Secondly, after Thor explains how everyone else has given up on trying to deal with the Snarl, rationalizing that the cycle has no chance of changing, Durkon realizes that Thor isn't of the same opinion:Thor: No. Because this time, there's something different. [shows an image of the Dark One] There's a new color in the crayon box.
- First, when explaining why the Snarl keeps breaking out of its prison. Each of the three divine pantheons has a unique "color" which represents their philosophical essence. The more divine colors involved in the creation of something, the more real it becomes.
- When Durkon is being brought back to life again:Durkon: We'll just work it out, an' we can all get on wit tha bus'ness aboot tha Snarl an' tha rifts an' tha planet inside tha rifts an' wha'ev'r else. [leaves]
Thor: Wait, what did he mean about a planet inside the rifts?
- When Roy is talking to his grandfather.
- Wham Shot:
- The final panel of "All in the Family". As Roy is wondering who killed the Draketooth clan and why, Vaarsuvius finds a family tree of said clan -and realizes how it relates to V's earlier fight with the black dragon mother.
- The final panel of #1105.Hilgya Firehelm: I was told someone here needed help murdering Durkon Thundershield.
- After a battle, Durkon and Minrah are walking around in Fluffy Cloud Heaven and searching for Valhalla. Turns out those clouds are the fur lining of Thor's boots.
- #1139. Thor reveals that the current world is not the second world created by the gods as that one was destroyed by the Snarl too by showing Durkon and Minrah the "grave" the gods erected for the first two worlds. He then reveals that it is not the third world either by showing that world's "grave". The last panel then shows millions, maybe billions, of world "graves".
- #1141 follows it up, with a reveal of not only why the Snarl keeps getting loose, but that his plan to seal it permanently involves The Dark One.
- What Measure Is a Mook?:
- In "Unexpected", Elan celebrates when the Allosaurus eats the anonymous soldiers instead of two Jerkass bounty hunters. "Hooray! The people whose names I know are saved!" Tarquin is the only person who seems to object to their deaths, because mooks "don't grow on trees, you know."
- Crossing over with What Measure Is a Non-Human?, the Dark One's entire scheme is built on the fact that the gods explicitly created the entire goblin species to serve as XP fodder for clerics. He and Redcloak are less than happy with this arrangement.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Deliberately invoked in-universe. The Gods created the Always Chaotic Evil races to serve as XP-fodder for human (and humanoid) heroes, so it would be possible for their clerics to reach high levels. Unfortunately, they didn't actually make all those species, such as goblins, orcs, etc., Evil, it's just a cultural rule of thumb. As a result, the humanoid species have been conditioned to slaughter them at any opportunity, and the Evil races have been conditioned to hate humanoids, even when it doesn't make any sense. This has led to some very understandable resentment on their part, at least from the Evil characters who are high enough level to know what's really going on.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Roy's Bureaucratic Deva calls him out for abandoning Elan to the bandits, even though he did eventually come around.
- Inkyrius to V. Vaarsuvius tries to say that V only adopted the soul splice and resultant powers to protect V's family -but when Inkyrius tells V to shed the powers now that they're safe, V hesitates. Cue a short but epic verbal smackdown from Inkyrus about what V really wants, and has always wanted. (Later we learn this is the last in a long line of actions where V has been more interested in power then partnership and parenting.)
- A hilarious one comes when, following his resurrection, Durkon states his disbelief over the fact that Belkar was the only one to see through the High Priest of Hel's ruse.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...:
- The wizard Vaarsuvius initially prefers arcane magic as the ultimate solution to everything — redundant subplots, villains seeking to escape justice, giant devils from hell, or relationship problems. Vaarsuvius also originally has a blaster mentality — despite the wide range of spells available to wizards, V's preferred solution to anything is a proportionally sized explosion. V later briefly tries to remedy their attitude by limiting themself to support spells, but all bets are out the window once Elan gets involved. V is getting better about this, though; for example, in a thread where a rival caster had tailored his build to defeat Vaarsuvius, V eventually realized that brute force was not going to work in this case. V got around it by using a Dominate spell on the rival's archer ally. Thanks for the advice, Xykon!
- Xykon is another interesting example, since he makes a huge point of this trope. Sorcerers like him are born with arcane power, as opposed to wizards, who, by his own words, have to study and crib it off of "Magic for Dummies". Mechanically, sorcerers have more spell slots and thus more blasting power but with a far more limited and static spell selection. Also, the best wizards tend to be brilliant thinkers and tacticians, while Xykon's most complicated strategies involve randomly blasting things until they die (though he sure loves to dish out the psychological manipulation). With a huge grudge towards wizards for looking down on him, Xykon makes a point of proving that he's so ridiculously powerful that he doesn't need strategy. According to him, all a caster needs is "force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide", because there's a level of raw power no amount of tactics can overcome. Xykon also subverts this because his interpretation of "power" is in no way limited to raw damage, and his maneuvering to make sure that he's always the most powerful guy in the room, while it ends with him blasting his enemy in the face with fire, usually begins with creative use of utility spells such as level drains and self-buffs and mechanical advantages like undead type immunities and racial bonuses. It's less that all he has is a hammer and more that in his hands, even the most innocuous flavor text becomes a hammer.
- Elan, when all he can create as illusions are girls or puppies. Though he runs once into a situation where girls work quite well. Interestingly, in that situation puppies would probably have worked just as well.
- Not surprisingly at all, it is also the case with Thor, for whom Lightning Can Do Anything. As Durkon notes, this makes "What Would Thor Do?" less relevant than it should be for his non-omnipotent worshipers.
- When Elan is plummeting to the ground, Durkon saves him with the "Cleric's Feather Fall". That is, do nothing and let Elan smash into the ground at full speed, then heal away the falling damage.
- Who Dares?: The huge greater devil summoned by Qarr on the island, after a mighty roar, starts bellowing "WHO DARES TO—", before identifying his summoner.
- Who's on First?:
- The first iteration hinges on the two definitions of level (the floor of a building vs the experience of a D&D character). It's worth noting that this exact example is invoked in no less a book than the 1st Edition D&D Player's Handbook.
- "Who's on the Throne?" has the strangely named countries of Somewhere, Nowhere and Anywhere (and the democracy of Someplace Else). The confusion over the King of Somewhere with a hotel employee leads to Roy being mistaken for a king.
- In "Negative Feelings", Xykon and Recloak have a little trouble discussing a paladin leader named Soon.Xykon: So, any ideas on how we should fight 'Stache boy, whoever he is?
Xykon: I'd prefer to know now, thanks.
Redcloak: No. I mean, that's his name.
- Start of Darkness has an exchange between Redcloak and Right-Eye, with Redcloak talking about the werebears his goblins are fighting and Right-Eye wanting to know where the bears are.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
- Durkon's fear of trees.
- While O-Chul says the line, he isn't actually afraid of sharks despite his captors repeatedly trying to feed him to them for their personal entertainment. Justified as he is a paladin, and therefore his class features render him immune to fear.
- Thog is scared of pretty girls. Haley is offended to learn she doesn't count.
- Why Did You Make Me Hit You?:
- During O-Chul's imprisonment in Xykon's tower, Redcloak interrogates O-Chul in front of several civilian prisoners he intends to throw from a tower if O-Chul doesn't cooperate. When O-Chul doesn't talk, he leaves, saying he's going to let them all stew in the knowledge that O-Chul didn't care enough about the people to talk before he comes back to do the actual torture. It backfires, though; the prisoners are instead impressed by O-Chul's resolve in not faltering in his duty even at the expense of his principles.
- Later, when Gannji and Enor are imprisoned along with Roy and Belkar;Gannji: You! We wouldn't be here if you hadn't—
Roy: —asked you an entirely reasonable question, to which you responded with violence?
Gannji: Yes! Exactly! What were you thinking?
- When Elan makes it clear he's not interested in General Tarquin's Archnemesis Dad narrative, Tarquin decides to railroad him into it by murdering his friends. He becomes increasingly unhinged as the Order refuses to die, and repeatedly insists that Elan has brought it all on himself.
- Why Won't You Die?: Xykon in the Azure throne room.Xykon: Why won't you DIE AGAIN, you stupid friggin' ghost-things?!?
- Wife-Basher Basher: Haley satisfies any guilt she might have felt for killing her former colleagues in the Thieves' Guild by reminding herself of their less salubrious personality traits. One of them is a wife-beater.
- Wig, Dress, Accent:
- Roy is forced into a Gender Bender once. Roy is bald, and in his own words, "The lesson here is, if the magic item doesn't specifically SAY it grows hair, it probably doesn't." So he gets forced into a literal Wig, Dress, Accent, minus accent 'cause it's a webcomic.
- And then there's the time Vaarsuvius' raven familiar Blackwing disguises himself to buy materials from a store where they've been banned. Yes, the raven disguises himself. With a moustache.
- Wingding Eyes:
- XX = dead. Abused in canon by Celia, who paints X's on Belkar and Haley's eyes so they can pass for corpses.
- Spirals = magically mind-controlled, (this is occasionally indicated by the targets eye's changing to the colour of magic associated with the controller). Has been lampshaded numerous times as them having "swirly eyes".
- Haley's eyes turn into stars when she shows off the eight Magic Wands she acquired.
- With Due Respect:
- In "Learn to Play it Right", persuading Hinjo that he should leave, his city having already passed In Its Hour of Need, even though...Daigo: Sir, I know it isn't really my place to say, but...
- The Bureaucratic Deva to Eugene in "Their Concierge Service is Heavenly".Bureaucratic Deva: With all due respect, sir, we have a system for deciding such things — One presided over by ACTUAL beings of pure Law and Good!
- In "Learn to Play it Right", persuading Hinjo that he should leave, his city having already passed In Its Hour of Need, even though...
- Wizard Duel:
- In the prequel book, Start of Darkness, we get to see the epic battle between Xykon and Dorukan. It mostly consists of Xykon casting "Energy Drain" over and over until Dorukan is helpless.
- Vaarsuvius versus Zz'dtri of the Linear Guild. It isn't a particularly impressive battle, though, as Zz'dtri is able to effortlessly counter anything V can throw at him. Except Summon Lawyers.
- The duel between Redcloak and the High Priest of Azure City. With lots of special effects.
- At the end if the "Don't Split the Party!" arc, V and Xykon throw down with a rather higher special effects budget. Arcanists get all the perks...
- Vaarsuvius and Zz'dtri (by now a minmaxed Mage Killer) go at it again in the Empire of Blood arc, but this time V gets the upper hand by dominating the Linear Guild's kobold rogue and using him to attack Zz'dtri with crossbows.
- Durkon vs. Malack, reclaiming the dignity of divine spellcasters everywhere.
- The appropriately named "Caster Fight" showcases a duel between V and the psion Laurin. V wins by pointing out that Laurin's expended a lot of power today already, while V has a ton of spells left, which prompts her to just teleport away.
- The Worf Effect:
- As it turns out, none of Miko Miyazaki's attacks have any effect on the Monster In The Darkness, but his weakest attack is enough to send her flying.
- This trope is discussed by Roy in the last panel of comic #736.
- World Limited to the Plot: The comic lived by this trope until the foreshadowing at the end of book one (strip #120 in the online version). Only then, when the dungeon in which the entire plot has taken place is destroyed, do the plot and the dungeon turn out to have some relevance outside of itself. Of course, one can argue that it starts falling apart already when the heroes encounter the Linear Guild, or even when Roy's father is introduced. Later heavily deconstructed when it turns out that characters who aren't relevant enough to the plot to be named actually don't even have names... at least not until they become relevant to the plot.
- Worse with Context:Veldrina: Oh, don't mind the tiger. Little Whiskers wouldn't hurt a fly.
Wrecan: On the plus side, that was more Giant Monstrous Fly experience points for the rest of us.
- Worst. Whatever. Ever!:
- "It's All About the Drama":Roy Greenhilt: Ugh, if that's it, that is the most lame-ass prophecy in the long history of lame-ass prophecies.
- "The Crayons of Time: The Order of the Scribble":Girard: Geez, you've got to be the dumbest villain EVER.
Lirian: Really? You think he's worse than Baron Pineapple?
- "Fiend or Foe?":Belkar: This is the dumbest idea in a long history of dumb ideas.
Haley: Says the man who lit up the bandit camp on fire.
- And They Got Extra Credit for It, Too:Belkar: Geez, this is the lamest dungeon ever.
- "It's All About the Drama":
- Worthy Opponent: Tarquin is very impressed by Roy's strategy and combat skills, and looks forward to fighting him. One of the reasons he joins the Linear Guild.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Referenced in "Mean Girl" while Haley is speculating all-too-wildly about why Roy is currently a girl (it's really just in disguise, albeit with a Belt of Gender-Changing).Roy: You know, technically, it's now OK for me to hit a girl.
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Nale boasting to Tarquin about how he killed Malack:Nale: I killed Malack. I made him scream for his god under the desert sun. His ashes smelled like burning leather. He suffered.
- Wrecked Weapon:
- Roy's react badly to Xykon destroying the Greenhilt Greatsword with a spell.Roy: YOU BROKE MY SWORD!
- Following Bozzok's tactical advice, Crystal sunders Haley's bow.Haley: You bitch! That was a +3 bow!
- Roy's react badly to Xykon destroying the Greenhilt Greatsword with a spell.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- Invoked by the MitD to save the Order of the Stick. By convincing Xykon and Redcloak that the Order can't be the main heroes they're facing because they're led by "some random fighter guy you already snuffed once", he convinces Xykon that they must rush to the final gate before the "real" heroes — O-Chul and co — get there first.
- Tarquin's Genre Savvy is generally impeccable, but falls down on two fundamental blind spots. He's convinced that Elan is the primary hero and himself the primary villain, and therefore defeating Xykon must just be a sidequest to keep Elan occupied while he broods over how to confront his Archnemesis Dad. Elan calls him out on this, countering that Elan gets to decide whether he's the hero or not.
- Wutai: Azure City. Characters from the Southern Lands have Far-East Asian skin coloring and names from various Asian countries. "Lien" is a Chinese name. "Miko Miyazaki", "Shojo", and "Hinjo" are Japanese. "Soon Kim" is Korean, and "Thanh" is Vietnamese.Miko: What is this "Japan" you speak of? I have never heard of it before.
- Xanatos Gambit:
- The Dark One's, which has been pretty successful so far. If Redcloak succeeds in taking control of the Snarl, the Dark One can use this to blackmail the other gods into giving goblins a better place in the world. If the Snarl unmakes the world, the Dark One will have a hand in making the new world, where goblins will have a better place from the start — or so he thinks. Thor reveals later that the Dark One doesn't have enough souls to sustain him between worlds. And even if the Order of the Stick stops Redcloak, Gobbotopia is doing pretty well.
- Nale pulls off one in Cliffport. If the Order tries to rescue Julia and fails, then he is in a position to kill them all. If they do rescue Julia, then he has still captured Elan and can take his revenge on him. But, because the Order manages to rescue Julia and also realize that Nale had been trying to kidnap Elan in the confusion, they run off to rescue their teammate and give Nale the chance to switch places with Elan and attack the Order from the inside.
- Tarquin has his adventuring buddies serve as advisors to rulers of three kingdoms. they stage invasions, revolutions, and liberations in order to unite the western continent under three super powers. And he knows that eventually, Elan's going to fight him and he will be defeated, and as long as he can accept that, he wins and he'll be part of a great story and his name will be immortalized. "If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend."
- X Called; They Want Their Y Back: "Gordium called — they have a knot that you may want to take a look at."
- The X of Y: The Order of the Stick
- X on a Stick: Not that frequent, considering the title of the comic...
- X-Ray Sparks: The Disintegrate spell shortly makes the target's flesh transparent and highlights the skeleton, whether the victim survives afterward or ends up a pile of dust.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: There's a reason Big Bad Xykon is called, well, Xykon. He even goes as far as to make sure people use the right spelling when they speak to him (though how he can tell they're spelling it wrong is anyone's guess).
- Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: In the comic, lightning is generally white or yellow — with the exception of Zz'dtri, who is throwing green bolts. Interesting in that every spell caster has their own unique color for spells (two colors for Mystic Theurge Tsukiko), but only Zz'dtri has it affect lightning color.
- "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Done by Gannji the lizardfolk:Gannji: So, no hard feelings on the whole kidnapping thing?
Haley: If anything happens to [my father], you'll make a very stylish handbag.
Gannji: I'm going to choose to hear that as, "We cool."
- You All Meet in a Cell: Attempted by Ian Starshine, who pulls a Get into Jail Free based on the reasoning that a regime that throws political dissidents in jail would have a lot of good potential revolutionary recruits sitting around in there. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work out when he finds that he can't break out of prison again afterward.
- You All Meet in an Inn:
- The Order did in On the Origin of PCs, on Elan's insistence, since it's traditional.
- The propensity of inns to be teeming with adventurers is later spoofed when Belkar needs to make some quick recruits.
- You Are Worth Hell: At the end of the prequel comic Start of Darkness, the wizard Dorukan attacks Xykon for imprisoning the soul of his lover Lirian within a magic stone. Of course, Xykon ends up kicking his ass and imprisoning him within the very same stone, where Dorukan's soul meets up with Lirian's.
- Lirian: Dory? Dory, is that you?
Dorukan: Yes, my love. I've failed. It looks as if I am to share your prison forever now...
Lirian: No, no... not a prison anymore. [they embrace]
- You Bastard!: "It's weird, no matter how many people he kills, the audience still thinks he's lovable."
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious:
- Varsuuvius screams Haley's name out of concern when she's Eaten Alive by the Young Black Dragon. This is the only time in the entire comic when V breaks from their preferred formal title for Haley, "Miss Starshine".
- A subtle but significant one (since Belkar about always use a nickname for the elf):Belkar: OK, elf, enough with the jokes. You got me, fair enough, now bring the ship back.
- The moment the Monster in the Darkness switches from a silly nickname to O-chul's real name is quite important.
- A particularly dark example occurs the end of the prequel comic Start of Darkness, as Right-Eye addresses Redcloak by that name instead of "big brother" just before dying. Given that he regards the labels they've taken for Xykon's convenience as the equivalent of degrading slave names, this has overtones of a Dying Declaration of Hate.
- You Can See Me?: Dead Roy is astonished when the Oracle suddenly reveals he can see his ghostly form, and exclaims "YOU CAN HEAR ME??" To what the Oracle answers that yes, and there's no need to yell.
- You Can't Make an Omelette...:
- "You can't make an omelet without permanently deafening someone."
- From Tarquin in "Realizations & Rationalizations": "You can't make an omelette without ruthlessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your steel boot and then publicly disemboweling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others."
- You Didn't Ask:
- When Roy confronts his Archon about "Postmortem Time Dissociation Disorder" and why he didn't mention it sooner, that's the answer. Plus, they're not in the habit of spoiling the eternal reward of their petitioners with such details.
- The reason Durkon didn't tell the High Priest of Hel that the key to the temple crumbles if taken by force. "Also, I hate ye an' I want ye to fail."
- You Fight Like a Cow: Elan's "Dashing Swordsman" Prestige Class actually draws power from the swordsman's quips and catch phrases. Apparently, Monkey Island-style comebacks are an effective counter.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
- The Azurites can have many hues of blue (and some shades of green or purple) as hair color.
- As for elves, about any coloration is possible.
- You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me: This is Redcloak's reaction when Tsukiko presents herself to him during the conquest of Azure City, expressing his utter disbelief that Xykon could have stopped in the middle of a battle to conduct a job interview. (He totally did.)
- You Need a Breath Mint: In "It's a Real Life-Saver":Haley: Hey, Bozzok!! I've got two things you've needed desperately for some time: An arrow to the gut, and a breath freshener!
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The Order of the Stick is the Trope Namer, where we find several characters shamed to receive Belkar's approval over the course of the story.
- In "The Prisoner Dilemma", we find the comedic variant — Roy is less than thrilled at Belkar's support for his plan to punish two minor villains, a father and his sorceress daughter, simply by forcing them to spend family time together.
- It appears again in "The Secrets", with Belkar earnestly complimenting Lord Shojo on the latter's use of degrading tasks to manipulate the paladins under his command.
- In "Convenience Story", Elan deliberately invokes the trope in the same manner, using an illusion of Belkar to sarcastically call out Vaarsuvius.
- In "It's Where the Cool Kids Swim", he welcomes Vaarsuvius "to the deep end of the alignment pool".
- An inversion happens when Redcloak is about to go scout a dangerous path and the Monster in the Darkness compliments him on risking his own life instead of those of the hobgoblin minions Redcloak hates. All this does is remind Redcloak that he hates those minions and they have plenty of them. Cue We Have Reserves from Redcloak.
- This comic also features a sort of delayed effect of playing it straight. After Redcloak goes all We Have Reserves, Big Bad Xykon approves of the actions. Much later in the comic, Redcloak realizes just how much he's been acting like Xykon and is so horrified by that epiphany that he immediately begins changing his behavior and worldview.
- After Tarquin stabs Nale with no remorse and considers it nothing more than the removal of a plot element, Elan no longer wants his father to be proud of him.
- Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: The Mind Flayer doesn't want to eat Elan's brain. Later, we get to see him picture each of the Order as a meal and tick them off one by one. Durkon = rice (filling but bland), Haley = a sundae (too sweet), Belkar = a taco (he'd get heartburn), Elan = Diet Coke (next!), Vaarsuvius = a hamburger (getting somewhere) and Roy = a turkey (perfect!). Vaarsuvius is visibly upset by this.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Setting-wise, as rifts start to form and unravel the Sealed Evil in a Can. And seeing how there had been millions of worlds where similar situation happened, it makes the issue particularly urgent.
- Your Mind Makes It Real:
- Played fairly straight when Elan asks this line: "Didn't we leave our horses behind at the inn we blew up when Miko captured us?"
- Also why Blackwing was absent for most of the comic. In both cases a reference to D&D players only remembering their mounts and familiars when they need them.
- Your Other Left:
- Redcloak encounters this problem with the MitD in Start of Darkness.Redcloak: Hey! You in the box! Lean all your weight to the left!
MitD: You got it! ... OK, so when you say "left," you mean—
Redcloak: I mean not this side, you idiot!
MitD: You got it!
- And again, with a demonic squid he's summoned.Redcloak: No, to the left! THE LEFT, you stupid invertebrate! Grapple her from the— Goddamn it!
- Redcloak encounters this problem with the MitD in Start of Darkness.
- You Should Have Died Instead:
- Girard's attitude to Soon, regarding how their teammate Kraagor was killed sealing the last rift of the Snarl.Girard: It should have been you that died in that rift, you cowardly son of a bitch. Allow me to remedy that error now. Say hello to your barnyard gods for me.
- In the On The Origin of PCs prequel volume, Eugene Greenhilt addresses the "you were an accident" variation to Roy.
- It's heavily implied that Roy thinks this way of Belkar after Durkon's vampirization, as the "happy ending" illusion in Girard's pyramid has Durkon showing up alive and Belkar dying. And it's implied that Belkar agrees.
- Girard's attitude to Soon, regarding how their teammate Kraagor was killed sealing the last rift of the Snarl.
- Zerg Rush: This is what happens to Azure City, utterly and totally Zerg Rushed by Xykon and Redcloak's army of 30,000 hobgoblin Mooks, plus a number of other creatures including various undead, titanium and chlorine elementals (Redcloak's knowledge of chemistry is not to be underestimated), and three decoy Xykons (a Huecuva, a Death Knight, and an "Eye of Fear and Flame"). That particular Zerg Rush was made possible by two things: first, Redcloak's Titanium Elementals ripping a gigantic hole in Azure City's walls, and second, a Death Knight of a far higher CR than any of the soldiers at the breach — including Vaarsuvius — could realistically handle. When Redcloak makes decoys, he plays for keeps.Ghast: Sir, we finally have enough corpses to serve as a ramp for your horse.
Death Knight: THEN LET THE REAPING BEGIN!!
- Zero-Approval Gambit: Roy attempts to pull one to clear out some innocent bystanders, in the most lampshade-worthy way possible. It works.Roy: I'm a big scary gladiator with permissive ideas about individual rights! BOO!
- Zig-Zagging Trope: Seriously, how many different ways can one play with Always Chaotic Evil?!