> Choose your path to cod-given glory.
Bard Quest is the second MS Paint Adventures comic, written by Andrew Hussie. Unlike its predecessor Jailbreak, it was the first attempt to use Gamebook-style branching story paths that didn't lead into one another. It was also the first to have a definite plot — you are a bard tasked to perform for a bored king, but after proving your mettle to him, are appointed the kingdom's head Dragon Slayer and set off to do just that.
The story was cancelled before Hussie started up work on Problem Sleuth, starting and finishing in 2007 with only 47 pages to its name. It also holds the distinction of being the only adventure without a definitive end, since Jailbreak received one in 2011.
> Find a trope that strikes your fancy:
- Arc Number: 5, mainly due to one command telling the Bard to get "Bard Armor +5" but never saying what traits that +5 is supposed to go to.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: The owner of Cod Palace has quite the Gag Nose.
- Boomerang Bigot: Despite the kingdom's strict laws on homosexuality, the king himself is gay.
- The Cameo: The Bard and crew show up in Problem Sleuth when Ace Dick is trudging through a swamp during his Game of Life session. We see them in the same positions as they were left in the Swamp route, but we still don't know what happens to them afterwards.
- Cut Short: The story ends after the gang leaves town, only allowing for a couple of branch paths that don't go anywhere.
- Double Entendre: The bard is saved from execution when the king interprets his song about the Queen (there isn't one) as a song about "Queens".
- Disproportionate Retribution: The Bard tries to impress the king by giving his shoes a spit-shine. He gets his head on a pike for his troubles.
- Dissimile: "So many choices! You're like a kid in a candy store, and instead of candy, the kid finds a lot of cod pieces instead!"
- Failed a Spot Check: The Bard tends to miss the mark quite a few times.
- He tries to sing a song to the king about his hypothetical queen, ignoring the two muscular, leather-bound bodyguards flanking him.
- He misses a dragon (you know, the thing he's supposed to be slaying) sleeping in plain sight.
- Daunchy suggests to him to try looking in the Caverns of Harold for a dragon. The Bard socks him in the face for tricking him with such an obviously fake location... right next to the cave's entrance.
- Gag Penis: The "Hull of the Flagship", a codpiece so majestic it makes back-alley hooligans prostrate themselves in awe.
- Hard Gay: The king, who even hires handsome musclemen to be his bodyguards.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Implied to be the case with the Bard's servants. The narration claims he doesn't care what their names actually are and that he'll probably make a couple up when he addresses them; after one of the commands dubs them "Flothers" and "Daunchy", they're called that for the rest of the comic.
- Hotter and Sexier: Not that there's any fanservice going on, but a lot of the narration makes reference to groins. There's also a running subplot about the kingdom's sexual preferences, something that in Jailbreak got a sentence at best. Still doesn't reach the levels of relationship complication that Homestuck goes through, though.
- I Was Never Here: When the Bard gets kicked out of a smith shop for asking for gay porn:
- He sends you on your way, however, with a gracious recommendation. If asked, you have no idea where it came from.
- Lighter and Softer: There's way less death and gore here than there is in Jailbreak, with the only graphic scenes (namely, the head of the Bard and potentially his servants on a pike) happening twice.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Upon the Bard being beheaded and impaled:
- Mistaken for Gay: The butcher mistakes the Bard's request for bratwursts as an invitation to sex, and kicks him out almost immediately. Though to be fair, he has the option to ask a blacksmith for gay porn magazines and doesn't object to recieving one.
- Morton's Fork: After taking the Hull of the Flagship, the Bard can't shop around at Cod Palace the normal way anymore. If he barges in to buy another codpiece, he gets sent out on the Bard-a-pult. If he sneaks back in to get two more, however, then the group celebrates their stealing loud enough to alert the Codsmith.
- Mythology Gag: Hunk Rump makes a reappearance here.
- No Ending: The bard and his servants enter a swamp where they find the Swamp Wizard, and the story abruptly stops there.
- Railroading: Despite having 3 branch paths in some areas, some would lead nowhere,two ended in death, and others just had the Bard get kicked out of places. The third choice was usually the one that had a progressing plot.
- Running Gag: The Bard-a-pult showing up whenever the Bard makes an extremely stupid decision.
- So Much for Stealth: If he decides to "use a little discretion" when stealing a couple of of codpieces for Flothers and Daunchy, the Bard's able to successfully complete his mission... at least until the trio starts whooping in celebration right where the Codsmith can hear them.
- Stupidity Is the Only Option: Unlike every other store that shows up in the adventure, the Bard has the option to steal a codpiece at Cod Palace. He can't trade his hat for the one he wants since it's lesser in value, and he can't outright buy it because he has no money, so his only option that advances the plot is taking it and becoming barred from shopping there ever again.
- Too Dumb to Live: Some of the sillier options can lead to this. Of particular note is what happens after the Bard acquires party members:(After stealing a codpiece from Cod Palace):
Just a moment... you start to wonder if the attire of your servants is altogether appropriate? Their groins seem conspicuously barren.
> Better get them pieces. Let's hit up Cod Palace
You don't know why you didn't think of this earlier!
> Shop around as if nothing ever happened
(The group is Bard-a-pulted out.)
- Transparent Closet: Just about the entire town thanks to the king's laws. The butcher interprets bratwurst as an Unusual Euphemism for dildos without any prompting, the blacksmith keeps a secret stash of gay porn magazines, and the biggest store in town is dedicated to groin wear, but nobody will say anything out of fear that they'll be sent to the king's dungeon.
- Quirky Bard: Subverted with the title character. The reader thinks this initially, but he proves them wrong.
> Look for more tropes in your immediate vicinity.> Heed royal roster.
> Discuss contested elements.
> A briefing, perhaps?
- 24 days47 pages91 panels1428 words (incl. 44 transcribed)1 Codpiece acquired0 Dragons slain— Anthony Bailey, stats for Bard Quest
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