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Webcomic / Rusty and Co.

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Rusty, Mimic, and Cube
"Okay, forget the lockpicks... Does anyone have HANDS?"

Rusty and Co. is a comedic fantasy RPG Mechanics 'Verse webcomic by Mike R., based on Dungeons & Dragons, about a literally monstrous trio of adventurers. With the charismatic Mimic, absurdly cute rust monster Rusty, and the silent yet deadly Gelatinous Cube, the three set out in search of fame, fortune, and experience levels — and every adventure, they ally themselves with an Action Girl for at least part of the level. Difficulties that would be obstacles to more conventional adventurers of course pose no problem for these three, whereas other more usually simple endeavours create challenge. Hilarity Ensues with a side of Lampshade Hanging.

Rusty and Co. provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The elder god in Level 6. As is usually the case in webcomics, intentionally used to make it looks more otherworldly.
  • 419 Scam: Calamitus falls for one hook, line, and sinker in a Fourth-Wall Mail Slot strip.
  • Accidental Pervert: While Mimic was transformed into a stool, Roxanne unwittingly sits on him. Although his "let me explain" spiel implies he was transformed into a stool so that stuff like that could happen, just that he didn't expect Roxy to sit on him.
  • Action Girl: It seems that each level has at least one, including the Princess, Madeline Goodlaw, Roxanne Casbaugh, Prestige Perkins, Stabs Doogan, Dorylis the Cleric, and Tarta Moon-Shiner.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Level 5 has a good one (riffing on V for Vendetta).
    Prestige: Prestige Perkins, practiced practitioner of practical prestidigitation, at your service.
  • Air Guitar: Roxanne indulges in "Air Lute!" to celebrate victory.
    Alt Text: Air-Luting is only slightly less annoying than Air-Accordioning.
  • Air Quotes: In Level 8: #92, Mimic tries to do them, but can only do a pale imitation, due to not having hands. As Roxy points out in the last panel:
    Roxy: ... Are you trying to do air-quotes?
    Mimic: I punctuate th' best I can, okay?
  • Alien Blood: Trolls have green blood, as a Gnomish baseball match amply demonstrates.
  • Alt Text: From level 1:18 on. Some examples:
    • Level 7: #31: Asking for permission takes up valuable aiming time.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The dwarf's quest is to recover one of these.
  • And Then What?: During the Critical Missives between Level 6 and 7, Calamitus asks Ezra what would she have done has she and her brother succeeded in destroying reality by summoning that obscure eldritch god. She plans on doing it again.
    Calamitus: Won't you eventually run out of mind-destroying horrors that few have ever heard of?
    Ezra: Not as long as there's an Internet!
  • Animesque: More and more along with the Art Evolution.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Besides common skin-tones for humans and close-to-human races (dwarves tend to be darker and elves paler), many other coloration are possibles for other races (derros are blue, Y.T. the lamia and the siren are green, Schmetts the fairy is light purple...) or even for technically human characters, from various magic effects (like Malevolus who is purple-skinned, or Dorilys who's green).
  • Art Evolution: After the first chapter (or level, as it's called), the artwork becomes more streamlined. This gets lampshaded in a bonus strip, with a Shout-Out to The Order of the Stick.
  • Art Shift: Pulled off due to the Belt of Genre Changing:
  • Aside Comment: Roxy, while looking straight at the audience:
    Roxy: Something tells me Presti's not going to thank me for this rescue.
  • Aside Glance: Multiple:
    • Prestige, after seeing the capabilities of Stabs, in Level 5: #6:
      Prestige: I was just chased by brain-eating monster mobsters, and that was still the scariest thing I've seen all day.
    • Mimic manages the exploit of doing an obvious one while lacking eyes:
      Madeline: Have you seen any monsters acting weird?
      [beat panel]
      Mimic: Yer gonna have t'be more specific than that.
  • Ass Shove: A Funny Background Event in #4.8. Mimic disguises himself as one of the Pixie Chicks' speakers. Roxy plugs her guitar into him.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!:
    • A close variant in strip #31:
      Princess & Mimic: Cross the bridge!!!
      Rusty: No cross!
      Princess & Mimic: Cross the bridge!!!
      Rusty: No cross!
      Princess & Mimic: Don't cross the bridge! Don't cross the bridge!
    • In Level 11, "Castle Life", when the besieged castle's denizens look for safety in the treasure room...
      Dorilys: This is the safest place we can be right now. We really shouldn't leave, for any reason.
      [rumble rumble]
      Presti: EARTHQUAKE!
      Dorilys: Everybody get outside! Go! Go! Go!
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: This is what results from Rusty getting hold of the Belt of Genre Changing.
    Rusty: EAT TOKYO?
  • Attack on the Heart: Threatened by Grinner, in Level 7: #86:
    Grinner: Next one who touches that magnet gets this knife through their heart!
  • Audience Participation: Level 9, 10 and 11 have an overreaching plot involving the three main characters (Rusty, Mimic and Cube) choosing two companions each for a specific quest. Said choice is done through the readers voting for any characters from earlier in the comic (except for those aforementioned three and the Princess, who's been kidnapped) they fancy. Choices are guided either by who could be the most useful for said quests or who could provide the most entertainment (since the vote can include former villains too).
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Dr. Grawlf will at least keep his patients alive, but they may find themselves minus 1 or 2 harvested organs.
  • Badass Boast: Of the villainous variety:
    Calamitus: Do you think mundane matter could best my formidable necromantic powers? I have transcended the limits of mere flesh and blood...and I will shatter your bodies and dance upon your entrails!
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The illithid mobsters.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At first, it looks like the Royal Guards are out to get Mimic for revealing the secret behind Madeline getting her wings as a paladin. Turns out it's just to arrest Robespierre for roughly manhandling Calamitus three panels ago.
  • Bar Brawl: Madeline ends up starting one in her first appearance.
  • Baseball Episode: Level 8 is titled "Wait... is he seriously doing a baseball episode?" Sure enough, Robespierre, Mimic, Stabs and her cousins are getting roped into such a game in the arena, to the horror of the halflings (who were expecting good old Gladiator Games instead). However, it appears to be gnomish baseball... which, at a glance, is baseball mixed with both kinds of football and lots of gratuitous violence.
  • Beat Panel: Plenty. Starting with page 5. For White Knight-Night Whight joke.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Inverted. All the female coprotagonists eventually happen to end up bloody, some from serious injuries.
  • Beggar with a Signboard: In the beginning of Level 8, we see a down-on-his-luck Calamitus lying in a dark alley with a signboard reading "Will perform EVIL 4 gold!"
    Alt Text: The court got Calamitus for practicing Necromancy without a license... took everything, even his material components.
  • Be Yourself: Mimic's advice to Dirk. Stabs comments on the irony of a mimic advising it.
  • Big Ball of Violence: A violent brawl involving Princess, Stabs, Anti-Madeline and Mimic against Tarta over the Belt of Genre Changing produces a big cloud of dust toward the end of Level 10.
  • Big Eater:
    • Rusty's solution to just about everything is "Eat <metal thing relevant to problem>?"
    • Cube can eat a horse wholesale.
  • Big Little Man: Madeline the Paladin is hit by a spell meant to pull out the evil in her and materializes it as an Enemy Without. Cue the apparition of a dark figure clad in armor and wielding a scythe, making a profanity-laden Badass Boast while flames rise behind her... and then the next panel reveals that Anti-Madeline is about two inches tall. Apparently, Madeline never had much evil in her to begin with (and she apologizes for this).
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: Roxy answering a Critical Missive about freckles removal turns into a Wall of Blather ending in nothing but "blah"s.
  • Bland-Name Product: Who doesn't want a can of Cloaker-Cola and some Gummi Behirs while listening to music on their Eye-pad and checking Feysbook using Druid?
  • Blob Monster:
    • Gelatinous Cube.
    • The Gibbering Mouther.
  • Blood Sport: Gnomish baseball is a dangerous sport involving a spiked metal ball, buzzsaws, flame throwers, explosives and T-rexes. There are Clerics on stand-by, but their healing magic is limited for life-or-death injuries; otherwise, they'd use up their reserves in the first inning.
  • Bluff the Impostor: In Level 11, Malevolus attempts this on Roxy, who is impersonating the Princess due to her disappearance. Knowing that the Princess prefers throwing him out of the throne room with her own two hands, Malevolus calls off the guards Roxy sent to escort him out by mentioning this fact and waiting "the Princess's" response to this unforseen bit of unofficial routine.
  • Brain Bleach:
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: From Plaidbeard, in Level 2: #18:
    Plaidbeard: ...razzafrazzin' heroes...
    ...razzafrazzin' mimics...
    ...razzafrazzin' mimic heroes...
  • Brick Joke: Multiple:
    • The dwarf from level 1, who gives the first quest, is killed by Gelatinous Cube, gets better, and is killed again by Cube is seen at the very end of level 4, in the aftermath of the Big Bad battle. It's never explained how he got better a second time...
    • Madeline purchased a "magic" hoe from a gnome. On Level 5, that guy tries to sell more cutlery.
    • Madeline finds a hay fork and thinks that it's a Trident of Warning. 10 months later she turns out to be right — it detects piranhas.
    • Presti makes up a riddle to enter Stabitha's bar at the beginning of an arc. At the end, Slobber fetches an answer!
  • Brown Bag Mask: Presumably due to previous legal issues, the illithid mafia wear these in all subsequent appearances.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: In the cave with Stabs.
  • Calvin Ball: The rules to Gnomish Baseball are unclear at best. It seems to be principally baseball with elements of soccer. Oh, and it's deadly enough that clerics with resurrection spells are kept on hand.
  • Captain Colorbeard: Plaidbeard, the dwarven pirate.
  • Cardiovascular Love: From Level 7: #77, Slobber's new-found love of cotton candy, is represented by cotton candy Heart Symbols.
  • Catching Some Z's: From Level 7: #45, a string of Zs implies a Forced Sleep spell has been cast on someone.
  • Characterization Marches On: Mimic started out with a Noo Yawk accent that got dropped after a while.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Or Chekhov's Badger Launcher in that case; introduced along with Presti in the beginning of Level 5. At the end of it, in "Level 5: #35", she uses it to kill V'innie.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The barbarian ("Robespierre SMASH!") reappears.
  • Cliffhanger: Level 6.
  • Clone Degeneration: In the Fourth-Wall Mail Slot, Calamitus says that the person who cloned him was wasting their money, because clones are never as sharp as the original.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Ezra can regenerate wounds, but not her clothes, which get more and more busted as the fight goes on.
      Ezra: That dress was vintage.
    • Similarly, Madeline's armor and gloves are badly damaged by the end of Level 6.
  • Confused Question Mark: Multiple uses:
    • From "Level 5: #32": In Plaidbeard's speech bubble, after an ellipse, when he's confused by a strange blue glow.
    • From "Level 8: #2": Question marks are in Slobber's speech bubbles when he's stumped by Presti's riddle.
  • Comically Inept Healing: The gnoll cleric, with his construction tool implements.
  • Condemned Contestant: At the start of level 8, Robespierre is charged with numerous counts of Aggressive Trespassery and first-degree Grievous Bodily Harmage. His attorney, however, suggest that instead of his sentence he could participate in the Games... which happens to be a Gnomish Baseball tournament. Robespierre, however, delights in violence and is quite happy with the proposition.
  • Con Man: Or con gnome, to be precise. This is how Madeline got her hoe, which she originally thought was magic.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Madeline manages to survive crawling out of a lava pit, and Grinner Lampshades the fact that she still should have been killed by convection.
  • Convenient Questing: Mimic explains to Madeline that you follow the closest lead.
  • Crack in the Sky: A magical artifact is jury-rigged to weaken the fabric of existence enough for an Eldritch Abomination to break in, which it does through a jagged, blindingly white rift in the night sky. The effect reverses when the artifact is neutralized.
    Unsound Effect: Deus ex machina!
  • Cranium Chase: Ezra is decapitated three times by Madeline, each time putting back her head on her shoulders (though after a Staircase Tumble for the third). Then again by Cube, who counters her regeneration by putting it backwards.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Grinner in Levels 6 and 7. Very little seems to get past him.
  • Crossover: "Hotel Califormian" has a cameo from the gang of another RPG Mechanics 'Verse webcomic, The Handbook of Heroes. Later reciprocated on said comic with a five-part crossover.
  • Curbstomp Battle: The result of any fight between the Princess and Stabs would be a completely one-sided beat down of the latter. It's doubtful anyone can take her in a straight fight, hence why her enemies have been resorting to over the top ways of trying to eliminate her.
  • Curse Cut Short: By a well-placed Written Sound Effect.
    Handsome D'an: I don't care! Shoot them up their <DING>
  • Cute Monster Girl:
    • Y.T. the lamia.
    • "Ezra" the vampire.
  • Dame with a Case: Chapter 10 shifts the story genre into Noir, with Mimic playing the role of the hardboiled detective. His client is a woman who identifies herself as Tarta Moon-Shiner. Being genre savy Mimic expects things to go badly and refuses to help. Eventually she manages to guilt him into going along.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of Level 6. The Grinner has just completely defeated the group, leaving Madeline near death, Rusty desperately running away with her, and Mimic and Cube captured.
  • Death by Irony: Lampshaded and subverted in this strip, where a summoner is almost killed by their summon, which they intended to use to destroy the world.
    Boy, getting killed there would've been really [also underlined] ironic!
  • Death Glare:
  • Deadly Dodging: Well, a rather indirect case, but while fighting Grinner in level 7, Mimic dodges the gnoll's thrust by turning into a fence, resulting in the blade cutting the rope that was holding Cube prisoner on the ceiling. That certainly ends up deadly for Grinner not long after.
    Mimic: I might be a li'l better tha' you a' fencing.
  • Death Is Cheap: In "Critical Missives #19", its aversion is explained:
    Princess: First: It takes a while to get the components and find a capable and willing caster.
    Second: Not everyone wants to come back. Either they're happy in their afterlife, or the trauma of dying and returning over and over finally gets to them.
    And third: Not everyone CAN come back, due to how long they've been dead, divine intervention, some sort of curse, or any of a dozen other reasons.
  • Delayed Reaction: Roxanne doesn't tick immediately when Rusty announces his intent to eat flowers, but after a Beat she realizes how weird it is since rust monsters aren't herbivore. The flowers are made of gold.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Rusty's eating habits assist an elder god out.
  • Dispel Magic: A wand of dispel magic (with the command word "Slough") is used by D. D. Burnum (the Derro Ringmaster) to dispel Presti's magical disguise. The wand is later appropriated by Stabs, who uses it against a darkness spell cast by Malevolus.
  • The Don: Don Polpo
  • Double Entendre: Rusty's "Eat hoe?" on seeing Madeline leads to Mimic concluding that the comic will never pass muster with the Comics Code Authority.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Level 11 is titled "Castle Life". It is quite straightforward at the beginning, showing the lives of the inhabitants of the Princess's castle. It gets a double meaning, however, once the whole castle comes to life as a golem.
  • The Dragon:
    • Cleave-Hand, for Grinner.
    • V'innie, for Don Polpo.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Inverted. A lot of the circus goons disguise themselves as Stabs as part of the plan, but then Stabs herself infiltrates them. Except Grinner anticipated that too.
  • Ear Ache:
    • When Presti and Roxy are reluctant to go to Mimic and Cube's rescue, Madeline proves quite convincing, notably by grabbing Roxanne's long elven ear.
    • Madeline tries this again in Level 9 on Y.T. the lamia, who'd rather lounge than help, but the paladin gets more than she bargained for when she apparently rips the ear off. Fortunately, Y.T. is a snakewoman and she is shedding, so it's just dead skin.
  • Eldritch Abomination: According to Zar the Psion, they pass through harmlessly all the time, but lately, the fabric of reality has been getting frayed, which is making them start to become a serious threat. The elder god the vampire hipsters summon is the first one seen. The Viscount arranges for the summoning of another one.
  • Enemy Mine: With Y.T. in the sixth level.
  • Enemy Without: Subverted to hilarious effect when Madeline the Paladin gets zapped by an artifact that draws out her evil side, Anti-Madeline — who turns out to be about two inches tall.
  • Evil Gloating: Calamitus has a nasty tendency to get caught up in this, allowing the good guys to surprise him.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Robespierre has such a moment during the Gnomish baseball match, when he realize there might be a problem with Mimic hitting the ball.
    Robespierre: Even grounder will allow whiny halfling to advance to scoring position. All talky box must is keep eye on... Oh.
  • Eye Poke: Prestige Perkins tries this on the Illithid door-keeper Handsome D'an, who has enough good sense to step back. Too bad she still uses the extended fingers to cast "Melf's Acid Arrow" right in his face.
  • Eyes Out of Sight: The Pixie Chicks' bangs hide their eyes. Used to great effect to hide the fact that one of them is really Roxanne.
  • Face Palm:
    • No, Mimic has neither face nor palm. Yes, he can still facepalm nonetheless.
    • The male hipster vampire also does it while scrying on his sister making a fool of herself.
    • And Y.T. after Mimic breaks the bottle holding a fairy.
    • Derek does a two-fingers-and-thumb-around-the-nose gesture after asking Dorilys to stop hurting his patient, and she just drops Mimic to the floor.
  • Face Plant: Dealing with Rob the Hammer gets this, followed by his hammer falling on his head.
  • Fairy in a Bottle: Schmetts, who also happens to be a Hard-Drinking Party Girl — a.k.a. "bottle fairy".
  • Family Theme Naming: The Doogan family, for knives: Stabitha, a.k.a "Stabs"; then there's her cousins, Dirk and Kris.
  • Fantastic Firearms: The wizard Prestige Perkins MacGyvers a Decanter of Endless Water, a Bag of Tricks, a funnel, and some Sovereign Glue into a water-powered badger-launcher. By Level 7, she's refined the concept into a rhino bazooka.
  • Fetch Quest: Dorilys with paperwork for the games.
  • Finger Muzzle: Y.T. the lamia silences Madeline the Paladin as The Ditz starts blurting out the very reason of their mission. Although she doesn't uses her finger for this, but the tip of her snake tail.
  • Finger Poke of Doom:
    • Subverted (in a literal sense) with a magic spell.
      Calamitus: Well, that's the good thing about magic. [...] It's handy.
    • And again by Prestige. It's not the finger that's deadly, it's the Melf's acid arrow being emitted by it.
  • Flat "What": Typically in the form of "...really."
  • Flaw Exploitation: Multiple:
    • Roxy against Dinkum — gives him a check that will clear in a few days IF she survives, to ensure he wants her to.
    • Used against the vampires, both to break a dominate and to get around regeneration powers.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: With Madeline's first appearance, she spots what she believes to be a treasure chest under a table, and reach for it. Except it happens to be Mimic and when Mady finds herself grasping his lip, she hits her head under the table from surprise.
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: Critical Missives in-between chapters.
  • A Friend in Need: Madeline goes looking for a rope to help Rusty.
  • Frivolous Summoning: Discussed in Level 9's Critical Missives, where Derek discusses about the ethics of scrying and why people with the gift of a Seer need to avoid abusing their powers, with the next panel showing a girl accidentally summoning an Eldritch Abomination because she wanted to know whether or not she passed an exam.
  • Funny Background Event: Multiple:
    • In Level 2, the Land Pirate ship can be seen launching a literal plot-hook at Mimic. The Alt Text lampshades this.
    • While Princess talks privately to Cube in Level 4, an elf in the background is trying to plug her guitar into an amp. Hilarity Ensues. Even more Hilarious in Hindsight when you realize this is Roxy, meaning she's accidentally gotten Mimic back for the stump trick.
    • In Level 7, as Madeline and Roxanne converses, Stabs is swarmed by multicolored fey butterflies. In a later panel, Stabs is singed and smoking from the spell Prestige used to get rid of the swarm, and the wizard is smiling sheepishly.
  • Genre Roulette: With an item called the Belt of Genre Changing... you can guess what happens.
  • Genre Savvy: It's a RPG-verse. They're savvy. Not only can they read the rules, Mimic explains Convenient Questing to Madeline.
  • Giant Squid: There's a kraken in the moat of the two vampire hipsters. And he wears puppets on his tentacles.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Played with in Level 9. It's established early on that Y.T. the Lamia is shedding. So, when she's restrained by a pair of Formian enforcers, she escapes them by shedding the skin of her arms.
  • Golem: Calamitus's giant metal golem.
    Rusty: Eat statue Eat statue Eat statue Eat statue Eat statue???
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Played for Laughs...
    • The Mimic's shoulder... er... corner devil (judging by her resemblance to the Princess and the "Anarchy" sign) and angel (looking like Madeline the Paladin) are disagreeing... on how to phrase exactly the same course of action — Violence Really Is the Answer.
    • Again, when Anti-Madeline advises Malevolus from his shoulder, he wishes for the other one — and gets the Bottle Fairy barfing on his other shoulder.
  • Head Turned Backwards: After demonstrating that having Ezra's head lopped off isn't going to stop her, Cube counters this by letting it fall backwards on her neck, and her regeneration power immediately glues it in position, putting a serious damper on her combat capability. Until her brother turn said head the right way, in a move that would be a Neck Snap if they weren't undead.
    Koenig: Keep your head straight, dear sister.
    Ezra: I'm never drinking from a twist-off bottle again.
  • Heroic Second Wind: The Grinner mocks this concept after kicking away Mimic after the gnoll had just killed Madeline. He then tries to stab him, but ends up accidentally cutting the rope holding Cube prisoner after Mimic turns into a chair to dodge impalement.
  • High-Class Glass: Card Shark the Derro sports one.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Hortzak No Sells the direct effect of Anti-Madeline's flamethrower, but it still ignites the dynamite he is carrying on him.
  • Hulk Speak: Krog; Robespierre
  • Hurricane of Aphorisms: The philosophical zombie.
  • Hurricane of Puns: At the beginning of Level 7:
    Stabs: If we go through the Ed Wood, there's a 60% chance of zombies.
    Detour through the Elijah Wood? 70% chance of orcs.
    The Frankie Valley? 90% chance of grease.
    Don't even ask about the River Phoenix.
    Alt Text: The Natalie Wood is very pleasant, but it was in the wrong direction.
  • Hybrid-Overkill Avoidance: Offered as advice in the Critical Missives.
  • Idea Bulb: A light bulb with Mimic's lips on it is used to illustrate the troll captain coming to the understanding that the ball he's holding, and that require alcohol to dissolve the mimic glue on it, might be the mimic in their opposing sport team. Yes, trolls are slow on the uptake.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "Level" chapters.
  • Impaled Palm:
    • Stabs to a Derro.
      Card Shark: Ma'am, I believe pinning your opponent through the sleeve is more traditional.
      Stabs: Do you have any idea what kind of day I'm having!?
    • Madeline stabs a girallon through the palm with her pitchfork to perform a throw.
    • Cube stabs Grinner with Maddie's borrowed pitchfork through the palm just as the gnoll is trying to gloat.
    • And just afterwards, Stabs throw a knife through Grinner's hand... just as he's holding a lit stick of dynamite. That really ruins his day.
  • Inkblot Cartoon Style: Madeline yelling for the battle to stop because Plaidbeard and Mimic struggling for the Belt of Genre Changing could "destroy all of Creation".
  • Instantly Proven Wrong:
    • When entering an exclusive neighborhood that forbids adventuring parties, Stabitha insists that she arrived alone. Cue Mimic, Tarta and Anti-Madeline entering from behind and landing on top of her.
    • Dorilys seriously misjudges Blood Bath the Derro strongman when facing him in the treasure room. "As long as he's using that chest for cover, he's stuck in one place—" Cue legs bursting out of the bottom of the chest, and Blood Bath bull-rushing Dorilys hard enough to bend her shield.
  • Insult Friendly Fire: Mimic accidentally does this to Gelatinous Cube when he sees another cube.
    Rusty: Awkwaaaaard.
  • Interface Spoiler: Averted in Level 10. When the party changes the genre to Critical Missives, the URL for the three following strips matches that of a usual Critical Missive section rather than that of the rest of the chapter, which would make it obvious that it's a re-genre to flush out Tarta.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Anti-Madeline jumps out of a cake destined to Malevolus. This isn't done for fanservice, though, but as a variant of Jail Bake. Also, since she's so small it's not a giant cake but a normal-sized one.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: A troll barges into the hospital to settle scores with a patient.
  • "King Kong" Climb: Plaidbeard's very first use of the Belt of Genre Changing is to turn into a plaid giant gorilla on top of a building, carrying Madeline in his hand and with Mimic transformed into a biplane.
  • Kirby Dots:
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The wight in the forest claims he used to be one.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Just as they have Roxanne and Rusty cornered, when the Princess enters the fray, the derro, upon checking their dossier, walk away. (The Princess was marked "Do Not Engage", "Extremely Dangerous" and "Run.") Slobber doesn't though, and it turns out Roxanne was impersonating the Princess after running off while asking Rusty to keep the big pug busy.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Malevolus is about to have a "You shall not pass" moment, then he looks at the adversaries and does the math.
    Malevolus: ... And if you want to reach the Inner Sanctum, you'll need to go...
    ... through... [looks at Rusty, then Cube, then thinks about what happens when the both of them go through him]
    ... that tunnel there, then hang a right, then the next right, then straight on to the big doors.
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Much of level 7 is around lava like this. D&D rules take the blame.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • At the beginning of a Level 6 strip, Y.T. warns Mimic: "Don't crossss me." At the end of the strip, Mimic does exactly that (using Y.T.'s stretched body to cross a chasm); the lamia ain't happy about it.
      Y.T.: Whu'd I jusst sssay, hah?
    • During the Gnomish Baseball game, when Dirk says that Robespierre won a face-off in the third inning, he means it quite literally, as we see the barbarian holding the ripped-off face of one of their troll opponents.
    • Level 10: After Stabs says she got a lead on where to find the Black Market, she warns Tarta that she doesn't think she'll fit in. The dwarf woman is offended, until she realizes Stabs is talking about a halfling-sized secret passage, that she indeed doesn't fit in.
    • Upon finding said Black Market...
      Anti-Madeline: Guys, this is Hortzak. He's a dynamite guy.
      Mimic: Er, how d'ya know him?
      Anti-Madeline: I just told you, I get my dynamite from him.
  • Luminescent Blush:
    • Happens to Gelatinous Cube in chapter 2. He turns red when Madeline introduces herself to the team.
      Madeline: Wasn't he green a moment ago?
      Mimic: Okay, seriously, ya gotta stop stickin' your hand in strangers.
    • Also to Madeline herself, every time she mentions Derek the Cleric. When she's actually facing him, the blush spread to her whole face.
    • Rusty gets one after he eats Roxanne's underwire.
  • The Mafia: Complete with illithid (mind flayer) members.
  • Major General Song: An intermission sung by Roxy the bard is based on the Major General Song. This version is Dungeons & Dragons-inspired, along with references to other fantasy settings.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: "Ma'am, I believe pinning your opponent though the sleeve is more traditional"
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: In "Castle Life", Presti goes down a cellar full of magical darkness while a mysterious voice tries to scare her by whispering. She doesn't let it impress her and cast a light spell... revealing that she's surrounded by four lava golems. Subverted in that Presti didn't go down herself but instead sent an illusion.
  • Matter of Life and Death: Clerics can only use healing power for this during gnomish baseball, because otherwise they'd run out.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Well, Gnoll-mashing. Cube of all beings does it to Grinner, with the help of Madeline's pitchfork impaled through the gnoll's hand. Rusty, Roxy and Presti are tremendously enjoying the show.
  • Modesty Shorts: Madeline is sensibly wearing (anachronistic) biker shorts under her leather skirt in her first appearance. (In the second, she's wearing winter clothes, making the matter moot.)
  • A Molten Date with Death: Grinner gets punted off a cliff into a river of lava with a live stick of dynamite pinned to his hand. It's unclear whether the explosion or the lava bath finishes him off, but the explosion does throw his severed hand clear of the lava, threatening the possibility that he'll be resurrected from it.
  • Monster Adventurers: The whole starting concept of the webcomic.
  • Monster in the Moat: The vampires in Level 6 have recruited lots of monstrous minions to guard their castle, including a Kraken in the moat. However, it's intelligent and unhappy to be stuck there, so it decides to let the heroes in.
    Kraken: I mean, does this look right to you? It's not even a saltwater moat! [sniffle]
  • Monstrous Mandibles: An ant-folk Hive Queen who was corrupted by an Artifact of Doom wears a concealing scarf when she's feigning affability, but takes it off to reveal jagged mouthparts with large mandibles when she gives the order for a character to be killed. Her subordinates only have small mandibles or none at all.
  • Motive Misidentification: Mimic initially thinks that Tarta is making an attempt at Avenging the Villain regarding her father's disappearance and possible death. Turns out she doesn't give a damn about him, she just wants Revenge for destroying her inheritance.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Also Shout-Out Theme Naming. The Derro minions are named Steak Knife, Card Shark, Con Job, and Boot Cut, which is a Red Hot Chili Peppers reference (specifically the song "By the Way").
  • The Need for Mead: Ye Olde Proverbial Hook is a repeating location.
  • Noir Episode: Has one in Chapter 10 — Speakeasies & Sea Monsters, when someone uses the Belt of Genre Change to change the genre to noir, turning Mimic from monster adventurer to private detective.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Despite falling in lava, Madeline manages to swipe Mimic from Grinner's hands, who was holding him hostage, from behind him before engaging the gnoll in battle. A shit-ton of dynamite do her in, though.
  • The Nose Knows:
    • When the Princess defends her smoking, Mimic points out that monsters hunt through smell.
    • Stabs can recognize that Prestige is a cop by smell alone.
    • The guards to the Inner Sanctum of the Tentacallis Dungeon are grimlocks, who are blind and hunt through smell.
    • And Madeline can smell Character Alignmentinvoked.
  • Oblivious to Love: Derek the Cleric doesn't seem to realize the meaning of Madeline's Luminescent Blush when she's facing him, mistaking it for a medical condition.
  • Odd-Shaped Panel:
  • Offscreen Crash:
    Mimic: Boris Vallejo ain't gonna paint that.
    Roxanne: Exit Grinner, stage right... er... and stage left.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Presti accidentally bursts into Don Polpo's dining room.
    • Presti again, when she sees the Magic Missile built by the Tentacallis.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Literally used by Prestige Perkins after Mimic and Cube save her.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Used for the signs, most notably the "Ye Olde Proverbial Hook Inn".
  • Only One Name: Averted for Madeline, as Zar's psychic ability in strip 7-16 addresses each character by their last name (if not previously revealed). The paladin's name is Madeline Goodlaw. (Rusty doesn't have a last name, so Zar tries to formalize it to "Mr. Russell".)
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Zar tells Madeline that the pitchfork is this. In reality, its magical powers apparently derive from Madeline's belief in them.
  • Only the Knowledgable May Pass: As mentioned in "Level 8: #2": when Slobber is the bouncer for "The Proverbial Hook":
    Slobber: I can only let in folks who ask me a riddle I can't answer!
  • Our Angels Are Different: The comic has had both little cherubs blowing trumpets when Madeline uses her Healing Hands, and a giantess angel answering a cleric's Summon Magic.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Roxanne the bard ally is an elf, as well as the musicians-for-hire Pixie Chicks and gnomish baseball captain Rue Lily.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: They're quite friendly to their fellow monsters.
  • Outside/Inside Slur: Rue Lily, a snotty elf, calls Roxanne (also an elf, but who was reared by humans) a "pilinyarro". Roxy describes it as elvish slang for porcupine, meaning "pointy on top, but round underneath", while gesturing at her own Pointy Ears.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • The Princess uses this. She really should take off her hat first.
    • Used again by Prestige. It's her ability to fake an illithid's smell that helps pull this off.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Invoked here when Stabs and Mimic are able to instantly guess that the password to enter the Black Market is "Swordfish". Helps that an actual swordfish person was standing next to them.
  • Pie in the Face:
  • Pirates: Plaidbeard and his crew. Played as a comical type 1.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Artificers "borrow" media from other dimensions, hence why the characters know about things like Pokémon even outside the Fourth-Wall Mail Slot.
  • Point That Somewhere Else: Plaidbeard to Madeline's hoe.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After the vampires in level 6, a new enemy attack.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: From "Level 5: #35": Prestige saying "Buon Appetito." to V'innie just before making him eat a badger at point blank.
  • Princesses Rule: The Princess seems to be the sovereign of whatever kingdom the comics is set in. We never see a King or Queen, and assassins tend to target her when someone wants to have a shot at the throne.
  • Prompting Nudge: Madeline is quite often tongue-tied around Derek the Cleric, mostly because of her obvious crush on him. Mimic finally convinces her to talk to him about her Resurrection Sickness, but only after a good nudge do the words come out of her mouth.
  • Prophecies Rhyme All the Time: Madeline's quest hooks, courtesy of Derek the Cleric.
    Mimic: Am I on Dr. Seuss's Candid Camera?
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Zar's advice naturally comes in handy later on during the party's mission to rescue Cube and Mimic.
    Zar: Miss Casbaugh: A word in the right ear does wonders. Miss Goodlaw: We learn little from victory, but much from defeat. Mister... Russell [Rusty]: Don't get lead by the nose. Miss Perkins: Go for the jugular. Miss Doogan: Remember your magic words.
    Perkins: Um, I think you mixed—
    Zar: No, I didn't.
    • Later on, Presti does go for the jugular (actually "juggler") when she and Stabs get cornered.
    • Stabs uses her magic words, which is "bribe" for halflings like her, on one of Burnum's goons) and gets Cube's location.
    • Roxanne, after getting stabbed by Grinner, whispers a word, in which her enemy leans over to catch what she was trying to say. And then she shouts a word (GOODBYE) into his right ear, greatly disorienting him with the ''shout'' spell she learned from Presti earlier in the Level as a result to buy some time to get Presti free.
    • Rusty was not to get lead by the nose of Burnum's cannon. Rather, he gets the (lead) cannonball from its back, thus saving Roxanne from getting blasted while squaring off against Slobber and the cotton candy elemental holding Prestige inside it.
    • Madeline... does land in a situation where da feet reveal something. Whether that's all of the prophecy remains to be seen.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: The vampires do this, though you can mix it up for them.
  • Pun: Multiple:
    • Rampant in both the Alt Text and the comic itself. Naturally, this filters into the comments section.
    • The wight in the forest pulls a horrible one:
      Mimic: Yoiks! Who're you? We don' wanna hurt youse!
      Wight: I... was once... the White Knight.
      Wight: But now I am... the Night Wight.
      Mimic: A'ight, well... now we wanna hurt youse.
    • The Viscount to Roxy:
      Roxy: My Elvish is a little rusty...
      Viscount: Oh come now, my dear! Are you an Elvish performer, or merely an Elvish impersonator?
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
  • Punctuation Shaker: The illithid mobsters: T'oni, R'occo, D'an, S'al, S'ammy, V'innie, B'enny, J'immy...
  • Punny Name: The Myrmarchs of Level 9 both have names that start with Ant, fitting for antfolk leaders.
  • Railroading: Parodied with the land pirates' ship, which runs along a track... just after a "plot hook" is delivered by artillery.
    Mimic: An' here I thought "on rails" was jus' an expression.
  • Reality Warper:
    • Anyone who gets their hands (or tentacles, or whatever) on the Belt of Genre Changing effectively gains this power.
    • The Python, once amplified. (Another Madeline story. Do they attract her, or does she attract them?)
    • To a minor degree, Madeline herself. At the very least, she's demonstrated the ability to turn random objects into extremely powerful magic weapons.
    • Dorilys to a greater degree, her weapon of choice appearing to be "unfortunate accident".
  • Rebel Relaxation:
  • Rebus Bubble:
    • Leeloo-Madeline shortly ponders this way about the effects of Plaidbeard and Mimic struggling for the Belt of Genre Changing.
    • Sir Malevolus is quick to realize that
      [Armored Malevolus] + [rust monster] = [unarmored Malevolus] and
      [Unarmored Malevolus] + [gelatinous cube] = [skeleton Malevolus]...
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
  • Rent-a-Zilla: The Interdimensional Horror, a giant eldritch crab, and the Planar Ally summoned by Derek to fight it, both of which tower over all the other characters.
  • Retcon: Yuan-Tiffany the yuan-ti became Y.T. the lamia, due to a legal dispute.
  • Riddle Me This: In "Level 8 #63", the bottle fairy tries this but possibly threw up in the middle of saying it, as recounted by Malevolus:
    Malevolus: "How many road must a man barf puke sorry." isn't a riddle.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: A derro carnie correctly guesses that "Prestige" is an illusion. The main reason he thinks that is due to her wearing pajamas. Except the real Prestige really is wearing pajamas.
  • Rule of Three: Ezra puts her head back on three times.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mimic's suggestions that the group "disguise ourselves as common, unassuming pieces of furniture". He's always ignored.
    • There's a pair of talking doors (one red, one green) that have appeared in four different chapters, each time in a different location, and each time their attempts to outwit the heroes are thwarted. In Chapter 1, they try to stump Mimic with the Knights and Knaves puzzle, but get confused when he turns into a door himself. In Chapter 5, they present a ridiculously over-complicated variation of the puzzle to Rusty, who responds by eating their hinges. In Chapter 6 they try a different riddle on Maddie, but get interrupted when one of the enemies attacks her, and in Chapter 8 the heroes just walk right past them.
    • The Critical Missives between levels 7 and 8 has Calamitus (at first) and then Mimic trying to answer a reader's question about Madeline's wings, only to get systematically interrupted (up to having fake "broken images" toward the end).
  • Say It with Hearts: At the end of "Level 6: #4", Madeline has such with her "Hiiiii!" to Mimic.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Invoked by Schmetts the fairy, who uses her glow to provide "dramatic underlighting" for Malevolus' face by positioning herself in his armor's neck piece.
    Malevolus: This armor is single occupancy!
  • Schizo Tech: Electric guitars and soda machines accompany your traditional fantasy fare. Oh, and a Magic Missile.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: A variant with characters running between smoke grenade clouds. With "Yakety Sax" playing!
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Kris ticks off Ms. Bai with unwanted flirting. She doesn't just give his team, the Mountain Giants, the normal penalties for harassing a games official, but also gives penalties for things that probably aren't even rules, putting them deep into the negatives. After the other officials discuss the actual rules, such as they are, enough penalties are lifted to let the Mountain Giants win.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Sir Malevolus cuts and runs from the threat posed by Rusty and Cube.
  • Seashell Bra:
    • The monster adventurers meet a siren wearing them in Level 1.
      Mimic: By th' way, nice seashells.
      Siren: They're just B-shells, but thanks.
    • The "Monster Guide" page also mentions this about the siren: "Don't ask what keeps the seashells on."
  • Secondary Character Title: Rusty is more of a mascot overall; the main protagonist thus far is Mimic. (And by level 8 he's starting to get Demoted to Extra in favor of the humanoid characters.)
  • Self-Deprecation: During a Fourth-Wall Mail Slot, Mimic suggests that Derek doesn't consider mocking their author to be harming an intelligent creature.
  • Serious Business: Gnomish baseball has its own police force and the authority to arrest people beyond just the stadium.
  • Shout-Out: Compiled on their own subpage.
  • Shrug Take: In Level 8, during their match against the Green Sox, the Swingwraiths are quite nonplussed that the match would turn into a brawl between the princess and their elven opponents. Their leader, however, just shrugs it off.
  • The Siege: The plot of Level 11, "Castle Life", where the protagonists must defend the Princess's castle against multiple seemingly unrelated parties, who seek to destroy the castle for unclear reasons.
  • Silence Is Golden: The encounter with Rob the Hammer ends with an entirely dialog-less comic. (Though there are three sound effects.)
  • Sinister Scythe: Anti-Madeline brandishes a miniature one, following her Good Counterpart's propensity for farm implements as weapons.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Anti-Madeline, if the amount of her dialogue that's censored is any indication.
  • Skewed Priorities: There's a huge fight between heroes and undead sorcerers in the stadium, as well as a giant angel fighting an Eldritch Abomination above it... and all that Drago Stormscale can think about is to keep playing Gnomish Baseball and win the tournament.
  • Slapstick: Since most human(oid) characters of the comic are female, they are naturally the subject of plenty slapstick. Presti especially, in Level 6, to The Chew Toy level. The male characters are hardly spared, of course, as Mimic and the Doogan brothers can attest.
  • Slippery Skid:
  • Smoke Out: Dirk Doogan uses a smoke bomb during the gnomish baseball game to obfuscate how he catches the ball, and then sneak away from the opposite troll team as a "little smoke cloud with fuzzy legs".
  • Snake People: A redheaded, female lamia (once a yuan-ti) appears in the Tentacallises' dungeons.
  • Something We Forgot: Mimic forgot all about Stabs, leaving her to face an army of monsters. Cut to Stabs Atop a Mountain of Corpses.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: The chatty zombie uses only clichés and proverbs.
  • Speech Bubbles:
    • Malevolus speaks in black-letter font on scroll-shaped bubbles. His speech bubbles turn normal once, precisely because he's making an effort to disguise his voice.
    • The Viscount's speech bubbles are standard, but the connectors are always doing a little loop, suggesting a flowery, high-class way of speaking.
  • Spot the Thread: After being given a potion by Stabs, Perkins suspects it isn't her after an offhand comment about her bazooka. Unfortunately, it turns out there was more than one impostor.
  • Spy Speak: Stabs and her cousins are speaking in thieves cant, with helpful captions for the readers.
    Alt Text: Closed captioning has been provided for the cryptolecticly-challenged readers in the audience.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Y.T. mixes this with a Texan accent.
  • Staircase Tumble: After getting decapitated (for the third time) by Madeline, Ezra the vampiress tumbles down stairs (head first, followed by the rest of her body). She stomps her way back up looking very pissed.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Schmetts, the alcoholic fairy, wears green. "The Green Fairy" is an euphemism for absinthe.
    • After Mimic, Stabs and Anti-Madeline get locked in a safe, Tarta transforms into a chicken and runs away. She's chickening out.
  • Stealthy Teleportation: From Level 9: #19: As Y.T thinks, on how someone could disappear without her noticing:
    Y.T.: A completely sssilent teleportation ain't likely...
  • Sticky Situation: Mimic has the standard adhesive ability of a D&D mimic, but employs it very rarely since, as he puts out, "If a ragin' axe-wieldin' berzerker's comin' at ya... gluin' y'self TO him isn't your best strategy!" He puts it to good use during a Gnomish Baseball match, though, turning into the ball and getting the whole opposing troll team stuck together.
  • Stock Scream: When a thrown dagger hits someone off-panel, they let out an "Aawaagh!" while another person says, "Oh no, he got Wilhelm!"
  • Sudden Videogame Moment: "Rusty Runner" in level 6.
  • Super Strength: Stabs thinks Perkins has this on top of her magic due to lifting her bazooka so easily, but in reality the weapon is just charmed to be lighter than usual, not only for easy carrying but also to avert kickback.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted humorously, with the Alt Text lampshading the whole thing.
    Mimic: Do somethin'!
    Prestige: I can't, I'm too busy screaaaaaaaaming!
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Captain Plaidbeard, of course.
  • Talk to the Fist: Madeline delivers one to Plaidbeard. Mimic objects to it (if only because he wanted to hear more about what was going on).
  • There Was a Door: Once he gets fed up with the party at "Ye Old Proverbial Hook", Robespierre walks out... through a wall, while Stabs is aghast.
  • They Have the Scent!: Why Mimic warns the Princess against smoking: many subterranean monsters hunt through smell.
  • They Just Don't Get It: In one Critical Missive, Anti-Madeline has lots of trouble with the concept that there is more to life than blowing up stuff.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Anti-Madeline's very first words.
    Anti-Madeline: I exist, bitches!
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The Grinner's face says it all in the last panel of this strip.
  • Those Two Guys: Errol and Flynn, two of Plaidbeard's interchangeable lackeys who have no characterization outside of "being there". The two re-appear in the Gnomic Baseball games in chapter 8 as officials, and their re-appearance is neither commented on by the characters, nor does it give them any more depth.
  • Tuckerization: Several characters were based on pets or characters of Patreon supporters. Unusually for this trope, the insertions were not just a cameo: the characters are seamlessly integrated into the plot, and some have become recurring supporting cast.
    • The psychic Zar is a RPG character of a supporter.
    • The gnoll Slobber is a supporter's pet pug.
    • Dorylis the Cleric is likewise a supporter's character.
    • The giant angel summoned by Derek is one as well.
  • Turn Undead:
    • What happened to the Princess's wight boyfriend. (Mimic understood something different, though...)
    • In Level 9, Madeline uses her Paladin power to chase a gaggle of zombies that are swarming Y.T.
  • Umbrella Drink: Put to unusual use by Prestige to uncloak an invisible informant.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • The dwarf quest-giver who gets eaten by Cube in the beginning of chapter one reappears at the end of the level to demand results from their quest. Lampshaded.
      Mimic: Aren't you supposed to be dead?
      Dwarf: I got better.
    • Calamitus is also dissolved by Cube in chapter one, but reappears to cause more trouble in chapter four. This seems to be sort-of answered in chapter 8, where he reveals he's an undead.
  • Unflinching Walk: In this comic, Dirk Doogan walks away whistling while body parts fly around behind him after he lured a troll into a saw-blade trap.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Rue Lily the elf, who slaps Roxy and the gnoll doctor for helping her up.
  • Unsound Effect: Quite a few of them:
  • Vancian Magic: In "Level 5: #1" Lampshaded with a "VANCE!" Unsound Effect for a color spray spell.
    Mimic: Ya had a fireball prepared this whole time!?
    Presti: Aren't you glad I saved it?
  • Visual Pun:
    • When Gelatinous Cube seizes the Belt of Genre Changing, the result in the next panel is naturally... Cubism.
    • Schmetts, the alcoholic fairy, is found in a bottle, making her a "bottle fairy".
    • Level 6 ends in a cliffhanger... with Rusty catching Madeline falling down as he's climbing a cliff.
    • Zar the Psion owns a literal gold farm.
    • In Level 8, the "8-bit 8-ball" is quickly identified as an artifact. What does it do? Artifacting, Dirk muses. Indeed, the comic's picture all around is getting low-resolution, as in an 8-bit picture. Which in computer parlance is called... artifacting.
    • Level 9: The artifact Rusty, Madeline, and Y.T. are sent to retrieve is a device that can cast magic, providing its own verbal components so long as the correct words are typed into it. It's a Speak & Spell.
    • Also in Level 9, Y.T. is pursued by zombies and thinking that she'd need someone good at fighting undead, at healing her, and willing to help. Then she bristles at the idea that she's "putting paladins on a pedestal"... right next to a fountain where Madeline, turned to stone, had been put on a pedestal.
    • In Level 10, the instructions to find the Black Market end with "Now take a long walk off a short pier." This is not a diss, that's exactly what is needed to do.
  • Volleying Insults: The "pirate" duel between Mimic and Plaidbeard.
  • Wall of Blather:
    • The Wight's long explanation about the mission and the Princess is blanked out by a summary.
    • Calamitus doing his monologue is similarly obscured, as Mimic and Princess aren't paying attention.
    • Also Roxanne responding to a reader's question about her freckles, which even ends in Blah, Blah, Blah.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Grinner making his return appearance, capturing Cube and Mimic in the process.
    • Very deliberately subverted by, of all things, Madeline's death, which, while dramatic, the comic makes very clear is not going to change the overall tone of the strip (resurrection spells exist, for one thing).
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…:
    • Eat hammer?
    • Roxanne's first appearance also references this trope, when she says that she wants to do something with all the points she put into whittling.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Level 9 is one to the song "Hotel California", with every line of the song referenced in some way in the actions, dialogue or background events.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Cuts to the paladin with Int as her Dump Stat.
  • Widely-Spaced Jail Bars: If the bars from the cells of the stadium's gaol may keep in a large man like Malevolus, they look way too spread apart to hold in a pair of thin elves.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Due to previous legal issues with Wizards of the Coast, the second appearance of Illithid mafia members in Level 10 has them wearing Brown Bag Masks that conveniently conceals all their facial figures except for their eyes, but in context are obviously members of the Tentacallis.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Spoofed with a Xorn in Level 6.
    Xorn: I knew I should'a taken that left turn at Abeir-Toril.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Parodied when Mimic is hit by a lightning spell, as he shouldn't have bones to begin with.
  • You No Take Candle: Lampshaded by Robespierre the barbarian in #3.21:
    Robespierre: Roxanne is beloved member of Robespierre's family, despite fancy city ways. And insistence on using pronouns.
  • Your Mom: Dirk Doogan taunts a troll into lunging at him (and the deadly buzzsaws surrounding him) with what is basically a "Yo Momma" joke.
    Dirk: You couldn't get me even if you brought your ma's bridge club.
    Troll: My ma don't have no bridge club.
    Dirk: So how does she defend the bridge she lives under, then?
    Troll: My ma don't live under no bridge, dude!