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Webcomic / Planescape Survival Guide

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You could probably panic a little bit and still be okay.

"This is Planescape Survival Guide, a rousing tale of grand heroism and gallant deeds in a— okay, you got me. They're mostly incompetent. But! They are trying to save the Multiverse from utter destruction."
From the FAQ

That's Planescape Survival Guide, written and drawn by Travers "Swiftbow" Jordan, in a nutshell.

The "they" in the above quote is actually referring to two separate groups - one an unfortunate band of Faerunian adventurers with a tendency to leap before they look, the other a newly-partnered team of planar travelers swept off their feet into Multiversal politics... and deeper plots. Along the way there's a bunch of evil dark dwarves and a cult of black-robed madmen trying to bring about The End Of The Multiverse As We Know It and a team of followers of the God of Murder in it for the killin' tagging along for the ride. Oh yeah, and there's a owl narrator, a halfling who can't stop talking long enough to register reality, and a blue beholder with a secret he doesn't even know somewhere along the way.

The art isn't the greatest out there, and the update schedule makes "erratic" look like an understatement, but (most of the time) the story makes up for it. Although he has been doing better lately. See Schedule Slip below.

As can be inferred from the title, it's based on the D&D Campaign Setting Planescape, and homages The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Tropes in Planescape Survival Guide:

  • Art Evolution: The art may not be the best in the world, but the latest strips are an extreme improvement from the first few chapters. ESPECIALLY the Talking Heads strips. It's visibly obvious that Swift has improved over the duration.
  • Artifact of Doom: The three sacred items of Aoskar. They can survive being pulled into the Nothing, which can unmake planes.
  • Blood Knight: The Cyricists, especially Vec. Also Sarn and Railah.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A few of the early strips — confined to the first few chapters — have panels showing a bunch of people around a table, obviously playing the story as a D&D campaign.
  • The Cavalry: Paladins showing up in the prologue to chase off the Cyricists. Their troops never show up again, as the story quickly leaves Faerun and moves on to the Outer Planes.
  • Chosen One: Tchick. He doesn't quite know for what... And apparently acquiring one of the Artifacts of Doom and wearing it for a while qualifies Milny for the title as well. Gods save us all.
  • Cool Gate: The teleportation pentagram in Chapter One. On the other hand, it goes to Hell...
  • Cross Player: There are three people in the original Sigil party - Torin, Elera, and Talanard. In the Breaking the Fourth Wall strips that show the players behind the story, there are four male characters around the table, one obviously being the DM. Whoever is playing Elera dings the trope meter, take a shot.
  • Curse Cut Short: Grull has just enough time to say "Oh sh—" before he gets munched on by the Eldritch Abomination from the Far Realms. Good thing he cut himself out of there.
  • Cute Witch: The "crazy" Witch is actually quite conventionally attractive, though she initially disguises herself as the stereotypical warty crone.
  • Dead All Along: Explains Talanard's Easy Amnesia and his fear of blood rivers.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Mercy Killers try to execute Tchik this way once they realized he can't be hanged. Also, how the Tommy series manages to kill Vec.
  • Demonic Possession: Railah, a former battle priestess of Cyric, is possessed by the dark god of Fate Jergal as his pawn and puppet in his scheme to unmake the Multiverse.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: It's becoming increasingly more obvious that to stop the Nothing, the heroes are going to have to defeat, obstruct, or otherwise stop Jergal-Possessed Railah AND the Elder/the Lady of Pain herself. They might have the Eldest and the Youngest along to help... maybe. Maybe not.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: The Lady of Pain is as trigger-happy as she is in canon, Tchick gets mazed in the prologue just for talking about her. Subverted later on, when the Sigil party and the Black Robes are fighting while the Mercykillers are closing in and Tchick and Archimedes decide it would be safer to get mazed, something that most in Sigil consider analogous to a death sentence, by suggesting the Lady could use weight.
  • Doomed Hometown: Played to garner some sympathy for Milny.
  • Dual Wielding: Vec Trasden dual-wields twin rapiers in true dervish style, but that pales horribly in comparison to Railah's death-dancing with a longsword in one fist and a double-ended axe in the other.
  • Earth That Was: The Firstworld is quite obviously our Earth, with the alternate trope that it has been abandoned by magic and the Gods rather than reduced to uninhabitability. It's VERY difficult to reach, but Jerak has managed... and fell in love immediately with sunglasses and automatic weapons.
  • Eldritch Abomination: One appears when a portal to The Far Plane is opened in Dolrak the Arcanoloth's castle.
  • Evil Plan: Jergal's plan to unmake the multiverse.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Merrel and the Black Robes are an entire cult of them. Also Delia and the Duergar mage whose name I cannot recall.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Sarn Kellfrock.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Fred the Dragon.
  • Fruit Cart: Parodied — finding Tchick's conjured apples littering the road, Elera and Torin assume they came from a spilled cart.
  • Fun with Acronyms: More people know Eldon as "DOM" - Dirty Old Man - than by his actual name. (Troper included, had to look up the real name on the cast page...)
  • Gambit Roulette: Jergal gave his Phenomenal Cosmic Powers up to Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul years ago with The Plan to steal them all back in the future and fuel his scheme to Unmake the Multiverse. He gets away with this nigh-impossibility because he's the God of Fate and The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Gargle Blaster: Balor Ale! Made from the remains of a major demon, few survive drinking it. Talanard is lucky to only get a hole burned in his throat.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: DOM has them. Unfortunately, they're not very different... Good Angel is just better spoken.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Elera is a fire genasi (half-fire elemental, her father's an efreet), Torin is an aasimar (part celestial), and Talanard and Twag are half-elves.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Talanard was a Black Robe at some point in the past. (Maybe it would be Mook–Face Turn as well, given the one-shot life expectancy of Black Robes...)
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The Tommys. Same look, same mentality, same Full Plate And Long Sword... same tendency to be the first and only to die. Though that may not be their real names, just the one that Gerand and Telv label them as soon as they meet.
  • Instrument of Murder: Telv's steel-plated banjo. DULCET TONES!
  • Knight Templar: The Harmonium Guard and the Mercykillers are the traditional Planescape examples, amusingly parodied when a NON-Knight Templar Harmonium — Larry the tiefling paladin — is arrested and hung upside-down from the wall for suggesting that Tchick might not be responsible for the destruction of the city block where he was found unconscious.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Talanard can't remember a thing before he came to Sigil. It turns out that might be because he's dead.
  • Mood Whiplash: This comic juxtaposes Milny and Fred's families having an idyllic farmyard barbecue with Milny fighting for her life against the cultists.
  • Mooks: Pretty much every Black Robe except Merrel dies in one hit.
  • More Dakka: One of the best things Jerak picked up from his time on the Firstworld.
  • The Multiverse: The story focuses on the heroes trying to keep the D&D multiverse from being destroyed by a force of pure entropy and nothingness.
  • Mysterious Informant: "The Info Imp" and the nameless Black Robe from the prologue.
  • Nerds Speak Klingon: When Talanard, Twag, and Telv arrive on the First World they're fortunate enough to appear at a Con and meet a girl who knows Elvish, as apparently Common is nothing like English.
  • Noble Demon: Jerak, Grull, and Winnie don't convince much of anyone that they're merchandising for the Forces of Darkness.
  • Noodle Incident: Telv's bio mentions him being expelled from minstrel school for "a strange occurrence know only as "the plague of playing cards." Few had ever used a cantrip spell to such devastating effect."
  • No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: Averted. Aoskar/the Eldest predicted his future destruction and hid a portion of his essence on the Firstworld two thousand years prior, and despite killing that Aspect out of fear and being without deities since the people of the Firstworld still revere him... making Aoskar equivalent to God and Jesus his Avatar.
  • The Nothing After Death: It could very well be lifted straight from the pages of The Neverending Story, it is so close. Obviously inspired or suggested by it, at the very least... and that fact is lampshaded in the first chapter.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Fred is an orange dragon — not the kind you'd find in an expansion book or 3rd party package, but rather the crossbreed of a male red and a female gold.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Appears to be Subverted at first — the duergar (dark dwarves) worship Jergal, ex-God of Death and Fate and master of the Nothing, rather than their normal Faerun racial deities. Once you get past that, though, there's not much different about them: they still guzzle alcohol like water and live for a good scuffle (even the mage).
  • Pals with Jesus: The main characters are pretty friendly with The Witch/The Youngest, and one even ends up getting one-on-one sparring training with Thor himself. Not a bad deal.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Crazy Witch is The Youngest with a hairstyle tweak, a funny hat, and a very slightly longer nose. The Lady of Pain isn't fooled.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Elera when she's pissed and Delia all the time. Merrel too, for being the guy who takes out city blocks in a fit of rage.
  • Plucky Girl: Milny. She's been slashed, kicked, stabbed, scarred, shot and nearly unmade, and was also technically dead for awhile. With a little clerical intervention, she's still going.
  • Prison Dimension: The Lady's Mazes form a major plot point, with the Black Robes chasing Tchick because he somehow managed to escape one and there's an Artifact of Doom stored somewhere in the Mazes. When the Sigil party gets Mazed it's shown to be full of illusions drawn from their memories, and one of Tchick's variant Beholder powers is True Sight strong enough to see through them.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Cyricists again. And the Duergar. Also a couple of the heroes have moments...
  • Punctuation Shaker: Frd'gl'fn'd'pq'zter the dragon. He goes by "Fred" for a reason.
  • Succubi and Incubi: The succubi in Jerak's caravan are pretty standard, save Winnie. And Milny, even in her pseudo-Succubus shapechange, is too busy being Milny to even try being seductive.
  • Talking Animal: Archimedes, a talking owl. Likely the most intelligent character in the cast...
  • Talking Heads: Some of the early, black and white strips are nothing but this. Thankfully it stops around Chapter Two.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: The whole point of the Tommy series, with the possible exception of Firstworld Tommy
  • To Hell and Back: Thanks to Talanard jumping on an active pentacle.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Telv is more of a sociopathic Chaotic Neutral, but he fits.
  • Transformation Trinket: An Ancient Artifact transforms Milny into a semi-Succubus when she puts it on.
  • Unsound Effect: Amongst others: "Release!", "Teleport" and "DULCET TONES!
  • Webcomics Long-Runners: 14 years old as of April 2019.
  • Welcome to the Real World: Chapter 4 reveals that the Firstworld doesn't just have no magic and greater technology, it also has discontinued D&D campaign settings that plainly depict Planescape. Some of the characters believe the solution to defeating the unstoppable villains may be inside.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Talanard is terrified of the Blood River. Thanks to Laser-Guided Amnesia, he doesn't know why, but he is. It's because he used to be one of the baddies, but was killed in one of the blood rivers by another bad guy.
    • Also, according to the Mysterious Informant in the Prologue, Cyric — the patron God of all the Psychos for Hire — is apparently also dead, and their powers are being provided by another source probably Jergal.
    • And again here, wherein Fred (a dragon) bemoans the disappearance of Falcor while watching the movie on a Firstworld TV.
    • Aoskar AKA the Eldest, with good reason — he's been dead, killed by the Lady of Pain, for some time.
    • Eldon and Telvrin take out a couple of baddies, without the reader seeing it, using playing cards, flowers, and an accordion. What do they say?
    • He has improved his schedule-keeping skills lately, much to the delight of his fans. It's not perfect, as he notes in one of his footnotes, saying "I kind of feel silly apologizing for one day late, though... since I'm much more accustomed to being a month overdue". But hey.
    • The characters have also discovered Planescape-related internet forums during their foray on the Firstworld. And, as seen above, Milny may have found TV Tropes...
      DOM, Gerand, Twag: It was EVIL!
      So we need a strategy.
      Eldon: Let's never speak of this again.
      It's in the traditional tongue of our ancient race!
      Goronkodar: It's unpronounceable.
      Telv: BORING! Want to do something stupid with me?
      Telv: Pretty nifty! Er, I mean, EVIL!

      Telvrin: Aw.
      Tommy 5: You know it!