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Webcomic / Tales of the Questor

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Don't piss off the Questor.

Tales of the Questor is a webcomic by one Ralph Hayes (RH) Junior.

It tells the tale of Quentyn, a young anthropomorphic raccoon (or "Rac Cona Daimh" or "Racconan" but who are we kidding?) who spends his days with adventure books and daydreams. When the traditional ritual where young kits choose their career for life approaches, young Quentyn shocks everyone and becomes the local laughing stock as he declares his desire to become a Questor - a type of noble hero-for-hire whose like hasn't been around for ages, and who are practically nothing but adventure book fluff. But, it turns out there are legal requirements to have one when someone offers. So begins Quentyn's own adventure - he's now an official Questor and it's up to him to do what a Questor must, even if it means having to face great dangers and things he's never had to encounter during his young, sheltered life — and practical exile as he's tasked with a gigantic quest that requires him to head into the lands of humans.

TotQ borders between a humoristic adventure comic and a more dramatic story about Quentyn's maturing and the problems he faces due to still being a young boy, with stronger emphasis on the serious side as it has progressed. The comic is also notable for its writer's tendency to convey his religious and political views through it, though these traits have decreased over time and transferred into other mediums. At its best, the comic works its themes into an imaginative fantasy allegory, much like C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia novels, and it constructs a deep world that helps alleviate these problems to make Hayes' themes feel more palatable.

Pretty well on the Idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.

The first ones are also collected in four volumes.

Has a Spin-Off comic: Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger. Also currently ongoing is yet another arc that brings both Tales of the Questor and Quentyn Quinn Space Ranger together: The Probability Bomb.

Provides examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Quentyn's initial treatment by his villagers after his career announcement. Subverted later on.
  • Alternate Landmark History: A human visitor thinks that the many stonehenges in Antillia must be some kind of temple or burial shrine. He's later embarrased to learn that they're actually used as glorified incinerators.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battle Field: 'Looking' for lux, especially in the Seven Villages, usually involves a flashy rainbow-colored background.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Beitherite Brotherhood; a coalition of Racconan supremacists, the neo-Fakir movement, "ethical controversy" philosophers, militant anti-theists, prominent businessmen, researchers, bureaucrats, politicians, etc. Quentyn ruined their plans three times; first, he destroyed one of their bioweapons programs when he slew the Rat King, then he exposed a False Flag Operation by the Expansionist party (a hawkish political faction that wishes to steal land from Antilla's neighbors) followed by foiling a plot to eliminate an entire village's worth of political opponents by repossessing Freeman Downs. However, that last defeat was the straw that broke the camel's back: the conspiracy blew pretty much all their resources buying up the debt owed by Quentyn's predecessor, and Quentyn's self-exile cancelled it out; being unable to repossess the village left them bankrupt. This reduced them to a Brotherhood of Funny Hats; "a bunch of old farts with signet rings and secret handshakes who met once a month to talk about Rosad Beither and tell each other what daring and bold revolutionary thinkers they all were." He wiped out his civilization's version of the Illuminati without even knowing about it.
  • And Some Other Stuff: Quentyn glosses over the details of the "deviously simple science project" he employs against the Royals, to avoid "tempting the reckless" into copying him and building a device that soaks up lux for days and unleashes it in a massive explosion.
  • Animated Armor: Pelinor's master's armor was this. When he died in it, the squire claimed it was haunted by his ghost. What actually happened is still unclear, but something is in there.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • There are small cheap rods that soak up magic like a sponge but burn out quickly, rat-wights that eat magic and use it to duplicate, and dragons are completely immune.
    • Granite is lux-proof, so granite stonehenges are used as containment fields for artifact tests and similarly violent magical tasks.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Quentyn, user of magic, fighter of dragons, refuses to believe in ghosts
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted, see Bait-and-Switch Tyrant below, the Duke of Fenwych is actually more of a Reasonable Authority Figure even the Duke of Grymalkin, arguably more evil, is honestly just a well meaning man who is busy trying to make the best of a bad situation with dragons laying waste to his duchy. Sure it is underhanded politics in order to avoid footing the bill but its awfully reminiscent of certain modern day politician shenanigans than outright blueblood idiocy or maliciousness.
  • Author Appeal: RH Junior really likes his anthropomorphic raccoons. Though it has to be said not to the point of fetish. In a certain D&D game RH was playing, his character, starting out as a Gnome Rogue, eventually got polymorphed into an anthropomorphic raccoon. From that point on, things that happened in the D&D campaign made it into the comic and vice versa (the Elf Shot pistol started out as a Magic Missile crossbow in the D&D campaign). Which leads us to:
    • Author Avatar: Quentyn is not quite a direct avatar of RH, but after the above mentioned changes in his D&D character, Quentyn became more like the character, who in turn was more like the 'real' RH than Quentyn originally was.
  • Author Filibuster: RH Junior's completely unrelated rant comics in-between the early run of the comic.
    • No longer in effect once the site was moved to a new location.
  • Awesome Moment Of Knighting: Painfully subverted.
  • Background Magic Field: Lux. It's emitted by all living things, but in a twist, it can also be mechanically generated (the Luxfont, located in the central village, is very clearly the magical equivalent of a hydroelectric plant).
  • Badass Creed: Quentyn, during the fight with the rat king. This is the 23 Psalm.
    The lord is my shepherd;
    I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
    he leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul;
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil, for thou art with me,
    thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
    Thou preparedst a table for me in the presence of mine enemies;
    thou anointest my head with oil;
    my cup runneth over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
    and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.
  • Badass Normal:
    • The farmer's son. He not only enters and escapes Tir Na Nogh in a nearly-impossible yet completely successful rescue mission without a moment's hesitation, but he takes on an Unseleighe Sidhe armed with nothing but pies and lives to tell about it. This trope does not do his deeds justice.
    • Quentyn as well. He's for all intents and purposes only an "amateur" lux user, his most common use of magic is from magic items (most of which are half-broken and only work when and how they want). On top of that, he's a three-foot tall adolescent raccoon-person. And yet his periodically-repeated (and ever-growing) Badass Boast is still entirely true.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant:
    • Elder Gilder. In private, he says that Quentyn is the only one besides himself who takes the role of Questor seriously, and acknowledges that he's a rather good one. He just thinks that the existence of the position is in itself dangerous. The next day, Quentyn proved himself so worthy of the title that Gilder holds pretty much the grandest festival the village has ever seen in Quentyn's honor.
    • Later, the Duke of Fenwyck. Our first impression of him is that of a tyrant who steals from his own people and drives them further into poverty. It turns out that he was forced into it by the Fae Prince, and when Quentyn gives him the knowledge to fight back and protect his people, he immediately takes the opportunity.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Some Racconans and other non-human races don't use shoes at all, but many do much of the time. It varies from individual to individual. Quentyn uses shoes most of the time, especially in more recent parts of the comic.
  • Beat Panel: "Caught you at home, didn't I?" [...] "Got any macaroons?"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ralph has fun with this one.
    • Zigzagged with Quentyn's wishes: Quentyn IS very careful, but later thinks he wished for the wrong things, and then learns that he's mistaken in his second-guessing.
    • Played straight with Rahan. He wishes that he could get a real good look at Quentyn's face after a prank involving tar and feathering goes off. He does, right after the prank goes hilariously amiss. Quentyn, who has overheard Rahan, even lampshades that.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: One of the theories off why humans cannot accept 'Lux energies' and kept calling it magic (which they think is evil). Specifically, belief in the Universal Church's tenets, after all both the author and the hero are rather devout "protestants".
  • Berserk Button: Understandably, considering his size and All of the Other Reindeer status, you do not mess with children around Quentyn. You especially do not trap a 10-something scared little girl in a cage - and then hold that cage underwater.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Quentyn is one of the sweetest guys you could ever meet, right up until you hit a Berserk Button. "You shouldn't have made her cry" indeed. Whether you're the leader of a gang of thieves or the ruler of a duchy, do not look down your nose at him. He's fully aware of just how much of a badass he is, and he's not afraid to inform you of the fact in spectacular fashion. Even if he is going to hyperventilate and/or puke from the stress as soon as you're out of sight/earshot.
  • Big Bad: While we only hear about this creature from a story, and it's existence is only the theory of a mad scientist, the Patronum Monstrum, a creature believed to be the origin of all of the evil monsters in the world, creating monsters for the sole pleasure of inflicting pain on all other beings, would certainly qualify, if it exists.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Quentyn's final act before setting off beyond the Mistwall is to lay one hell of a smooch on his crush Merideth.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Luft is German for "air".
  • Bizarrchitecture: One part of the Castle of Tir Na Nog in the Fae realm resembled Escher's famous stairway room. It becomes hilarious when a human boy subjected to it promptly loses his lunch.
  • Blasé Boast: Quentyn's father can be one evil old goat.
  • Blessed with Suck: The young Duke's realization upon seeing that his castle is literally flooded with treasure.
    We are going to be up to our eyelids in gold-crazed trouble.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Nessie to Quentyn after he saved her from three Gragum cultists.
  • Bothering by the Book: Quentyn, of all people, pulls this on hostile politicians: A covenant clause means a contract will be passed someone's successor—in this case, Quentyn of Freeman Downs, who is considered the successor of Quentyn of Ridgedale. The clause must, by Racconan law, specify a number of generations—but if it doesn't, limitation protocols restricts it to one, which means it won't apply to Quentyn of Freeman Down's successor, something that the Expansionist Party overlooked. Quentyn, armed with this knowledge, goes out to fulfill the contract or die trying.
  • Boxed Crook: The squire was compelled to accompany Quentyn by being framed for the death of his master (it was actually just a heart attack). He reminds Quentyn of that fact when persuading him not to go back to the duke.
  • Bring News Back: Trying to bring back news of the dragon's rampage.
  • The Bully: Rahan is something of a Deconstruction of one; He actually had it rather tough - forced to start working his father's forge at a young age - but people gave him No Sympathy because his father was rich. However, his best friend is quick to point out being a jerk is entirely his fault.
  • Celestial Deadline: Quentyn will have officially outwitted the Wild Hunt and defeated the Unseleigh Prince if he is un-captured, "When the cock(rooster) crows the dawn." Too bad for him the Unseleigh Prince has killed every rooster in the valley. And too bad for the Unseleigh Prince that Quentyn's half-elf companion can perfectly mimic a rooster's crow so well her nickname is Rooster.
  • Character Filibuster: A few in-world strips are essentially giant blocks of text, with political meaning both within and without the comic.
  • Cheap Gold Coins: Averted. The seven villages are poor in metals, to the point that it's becoming a major political issue. Also, racconan money consists of beads and rings, rather than coins, with the only coins in the setting being human coins found in old treasure troves. This leads to a gold coin being more money than most racconans see in a lifetime.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Linneaus the Priest, who might be a lost boy in another story's one hope.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: The Racconan homeland of Antillia is littered with stonehenges, which were built essentially as magical incinerators. The ring of lux-proof granite acts as a containment field when destroying dangerous or unstable artifacts, as well as spell testing and other violent magical tasks.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: To Nessie.
  • Cold Iron: Apparently that's a mistranslation. It's magnetic iron you want.note 
  • Colossus Climb: Quentyn climbs a dragon (twice as big as the one Quentyn was prepared to face) and lassos its mouth after his plan A proves completely ineffective.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: used in-story when Quentyn's "proof" that the human coins were fake turned out to be a research failure on his part, but it fooled the bad guy (who didn't know any better) anyway.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • The Eldest. He's the oldest Racconan alive and is a fun-loving chap who can not give a tinker's damn what anyone else thinks about anything by virtue of age. He gleefully gets into pie-eating contests and manages to tell old war stories to the youngsters in ways that keep them interested and clamoring for more. He is also one of the few people who is openly and vocally supportive of Quentyn.
    • Quentyn's father is also a prime candidate, even more so than the Eldest. Add to that the fact that he can still match his son the professional warrior-mage on the training field despite being significantly older and a professional melon farmer and he has some pretty solid badass credentials, too.
  • Cool Sword: Wildcard. Produced by Quentyn, Kestrel, and Fen out of a enchanting-practice sword while completely drunk. Its intricacies have baffled analysis, and it can go from invincible to useless between attacks — though it always seems to come through in a crisis, even if not in the manner expected.
  • Corrupt Church: The Universal Church is strongly hinted to be this, if not an outright Religion of Evil. Subverted in the arc after the dragon hunt, where Quentyn's party is receiving sanctuary with a monastic community. The monks avoid the group as much as possible and generally act awkwardly suspicious despite their generosity and kindness, but suspicion of strange guests isn't unwarranted when your monastery is actually a secret sanctuary for peaceful werewolves.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: Fae lords are tougher than the regular mooks.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of the Sojourner fits Christianity with a stag strapped on the side, while the Universal Church aims more for pointing out some of the more misguided and superstitious results religion can lead to, without being actually evil. It was revealed that they once suffered terribly from several religions, not just Hayes' thinly-disguised fantasy version of the early Catholic Church.
  • Culture Clash: While the raccoons had a deep understanding of Lux, humans believed it was powers of the supernatural, and weren't able to comprehend when Racconans tried to explain it... so (in-universe) a group of Racconans adopted words like "magic" and "wizard" to pose themselves as supernatural beings. The raccoon leaders and the clergy were... not amused, but the terminology stuck.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the one corner, Black Tom, jailer of the Unseelie Fae. In the other, a human boy armed with a pendant that makes him invisible to fairy sight, a monocle that can pierce any glamer, and a toy knife carved of rowan wood.
  • Doing In the Wizard:
    • After over a hundred comics of treating Lux as just the Racconans' technical term for their medieval-era world's Force Magic version of Functional Magic, complete with constant uses of terms like "spells," "magic," and "wizard," the author devoted a text-heavy side arc to explaining the difference between Lux and witchcraft, both of which are referred to In-Universe as magic. The former is a naturally occurring, if somewhat fantastical, force that behaves according to a set of discernible laws, while the latter is mostly sleight of hand and obfuscation used by hucksters, cultists, and other people with more ambition than morals to gain power and influence.
    • Another side arc, much later in the comic's run, went further and showed the tragic consequences of Racconans referring to their magic-like powers as magic, implying that they weren't even going to use magic-related terminology anymore. Part of this split can be explained from a Doylean perspective by the author's religious beliefs. According to Christian hardliners, all magic is consorting with demons or evil spirits. Luxcraft is very emphatically not consorting with demons or evil spirits, hence, it isn't magic in the author's eyes. Also makes for a more coherent magic system, given that the Rac Cona Daimh are actually manipulating electromagnetic forces. Also a case of Shown Their Work, as the author points out that many "magical" terms were once scholarly ones: "Wizard" once meant "sage" or "Master", "magician" came from "magi" which meant "Scholar", and "grimoire" is actually "gramarye" AKA "Grammar" or sentence structure.
    • The major unseleighe and seleighe fae are a minor inversion, they are explicitly said to have abilities that even Raconan wizards state should be impossible. And during the Wild Hunt arc we see the Prince use powers that are blatantly supernatural such as turning the very land itself against Quentyn when he got sick of being jerked around. Partially justified in that fae are extra dimensional beings who operate according to universal rules that aren't applicable to mortal races but are clearly capable of using lux as well, making it a case of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane
  • Decapitation Presentation: Non-villainous example when Duke Sturmhold is trying to rally his people to fight The Wild Hunt that's coming, using the new techniques Quentyn has told him about. The people see only their latest ruinously taxing duke asking them to pit mortal weaponry against immortal spirits, and call for proof that they should believe anything he says... at which point he holds up a banshee's severed head.
  • Description Cut: At least three times so far.
    • In Fenwyck:
      Todd: You don't think Quentyn or Pa are in trouble, do you?
      Sam: Hm? Nah. Quentyn? Little mister nicey-nice? He's probably got your old priest eating out of his hand right now...
      [cut to Quentyn getting doused with holy water]
      Priest: By this holy water I bind thee!
      Quentyn: Will you STOP THAT?? It's really annoying!!
    • In Fenwyck, later:
      Duke Fenwyck: The Racconans of folklore are a bartering people. It is simply their way to postpone any binding decision 'til a night's sleep and a good breakfast. I assure you, he knew every word he was going to say tomorrow before he even left the room.
      [Later, in their room]
      Quentyn: I have no idea what to say to him tomorrow! I mean, what on earth do you charge for slaying a dragon?
    • And in Grymalkin:
      Duke Grymalkin: Well, any such scholarly querying will have to wait — this morning he took his men "to see where the dragon attacked." No doubt he is using some arcane Racconan art to divine the nature of the beast he pursues...
      [cut to Quentyn, holding a book and a quill]
      Quentyn: Okay ... so what did it look like?
  • Double Take: Arlen's uncle Max wakes up and sees the field of money trees
    "Oh.. Heh. It's that dream again. 'Sbeen a while since I dreamed about money growin' on trees."
  • Drunken Master: Between them Quentyn, Kestrel, and Fen created Wildcard, a weapon whose intricacies stumped the best minds around, out of a enchanting-practice sword while completely drunk.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Quentyn says it all here.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Squidge isn't exactly intelligent but he's still the one who finds a solution no one else noticed.
    • The Junior Questors are attempting to distract a suspected cultist... by knocking on his door and trying to sell cookies to him. The suspect points out all the problems with this (they're kids selling cookies in the single most dangerous part of town and that it's very strange that they would try selling cookies at this time of night). They respond that they managed to get him to answer the door, so it must be working to some degree. The suspect acquiesces, and asks if they have macaroons.
  • Dungeon Punk: The Seven Villages, especially Sanctuary City. Not so much the rest of the world due to the Universal Church banning magic.
    • Though technically luxcraft is a science, it just looks like magic.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And how. On any given adventure Quentyn winds up dragging himself by sheer will to victory half dead and humiliated, with no one having believed he could have gotten even halfway to where he is. Fortunately, the author is really good about rewarding him for his hard work afterwards.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • While not as immune to being punched out as your average world-ending horror, the rat-king is an absurdly powerful and remarkably intelligent being with only one goal: to feed. Within the comic it's demonstrated as wanting and able to destroy and consume anything and everything with lux. Word of God says that includes pretty much anything alive.
    • Actually, the shadow rats produced by the rat-king are ephemeral and sustain their existence by consuming Lux. The rat-king itself is a flesh and blood creature that needs actual food to survive... and sends out the shadow-rats as drones to fetch food back to itself.
    • Also subverted when Quentyn fights a "Chooley", a swamp kraken that isn't nearly as tough as it looks.
      • To be fair, he would have been in trouble if Wildcard wasn't such an impressive weapon — he'd only expected Mock Tentacles (small aquatic creatures with a single weak tentacle on their backs, said to be a low-budget attempt at a moat monster), and the swamp kraken is several times his size (besides looking a lot like Cthulhu).
  • EMP: Quentyn once built a magical version (involving a keg of salt and copper tubing left under the Luxfont for a few days) in order to neutralize the Royals' and Redcaps' magical weaponry and the magical suppressors surrounding Wildcard.
  • Epic Fail: Rahan tries to tar and feather Quentyn as a prank. Squidge gets in on the act and completely turns the tables.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Quentyn blows an Expansionist conspiracy to hell and gone when he takes up his predecessor's Impossible Task rather than let his hometown be repossessed.
  • The Evils of Free Will: Deconstructed by the Fae, who Quentyn calls "a living object lesson in why God gave free will to all mortal souls." Being a Servant Race unbreakably bound to a code of laws made up by their long-dead creators, most of which they are completely aware no longer make the least bit of sense, has left them all half-mad at best - and the worst of them hardcore sadists who pride themselves on circumventing those laws to cause as much pain and suffering as possible.
  • Exact Words:
    • An important point in the Wild Hunt arc. Black Tom is trapped and cannot warn the prince or free himself thanks to careful pre-planning on the prince's part. The Selieghe Absinthe also denies seeing Quentyn's track - while he hides in a pond not two feet away. Best used here and here
    • This is also the reason why Latin is used when communicating with the Fae, especially when it involves a boon: Latin, being a dead language, never changes. This means that any wish made in Latin can never be prone to Loophole Abuse due to language changes over time. Thus, a boon made in Latin is permanent, while one made in any other language is only good for a few centuries at best, and that's provided there's not a loophole in it due to slang terms or semantics.
    • Also, the hunt is over only when the cock crows the dawnAND ONLY WHEN the cock crows the dawn. To the Prince's horror, a rooster does indeed crow the dawn, and the duke will swear to it before the Fae court. Turns out there was one rooster the Prince missed by not taking nicknames into account...
    • One of Quentyn's boons is for the princeling to "return all you have taken by force or guile to this duchy". Notice that he didn't think to specify that it was taken from them.
  • Faint in Shock: In a side story, Arlen the biomancer suffers this when he discovers one field of his bauxite-purging plants is growing rubies and sapphires.
  • Fairy Ring: Fairy rings allow the passage of sound, especially music, from one word to another. Bards prize them, looking for inspiration in otherwordly music.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The opening images are Quentin reading an action-adventure book.
  • Fantastic Firearms: One of Quentyn's gadgets is an "Elfshot Pistol," a small crossbow which launches darts made of Hard Light. A broken-off regulator makes it fire its whole charge as a massive shotgun-like blast, which gives the principal of the Artificer's Academy (who'd been following Quentyn's adventures through the newspapers) the idea to give it swappable mags, a pump-action, and selectable fire-modes (how many darts in how wide of a spread), basically turning it into a Magiteknote  assault shotgun. The setting also has regular guns, called "Boomslangs," which are restricted to relatively big, tough racconans due to the weapon's fierce recoil and their small statures. In the story arc where Quentyn slays his first dragon, he gives the pistol to his half-elf friend Sam; and has subsequently gotten himself to a flintlock pistol.
  • Fantastic Racism: Due to their history, many Racoonans and Humans have very low opinions of each other's species. The human bigots are convinced that the Racoonan are members of the Unseleigh court and/or followers of demons while many Racoonans, especially those sympathetic of the Expansionist Party, regard humans as little more than dangerous animals so stealing their land and risking war with them is of no moral significance to them.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Partially subverted, in that we see a Racconan guard captain use a shotgun in an early story arc, but aside from Quentyn's lux-shooting Magitek Automatic Crossbow, and a quick bit with a homeowner firing up through his roof at Quentyn(mistaken for a thief), we never see another firearm. Somewhat justified, since the Racconans have few metal resources and no trade ties.
    • Also justified because of their inherent physical limitations, as explained here. The long and short of it is that they're still at the flintlock stage of development, so until they invent cased ammunition, any gun big enough to actually hurt something bigger than they are (which is just about anything) will send any Racconan without Stout Strength flying backwards from recoil. Most of the fuzzballs aren't even big or strong enough to carry a BFG the size of a human rifle.
    • And also, they can fire lightning from their hands and don't really need guns in normal situations. It's like they come with a built-in gun. "There's no such thing as an unarmed Racconan."
  • Fictional Political Party: Antillia has a more relaxed approach to politics than the American two-party system; parties form around political goals and dissolve after those goals are met, instead of pursuing goals and garnering support over generations - the Rac Cona Daimh hate the very idea of generational power gathering in such a manner, seeing it as reminiscent of the monarchies that the nation was founded as a sanctuary from. Exposition; all seven Hidden Elf Villages are currently in a downturn; though they were built in a fertile and wealthy area, they've been cooped up in it for over a century, and are starting to feel the crunch in recycling metals and such. This has led to the rise of two particularly powerful parties; the Open Traders, who want to begin carefully trading Luxtech with nearby kingdoms for more minerals, and the Expansionists, who just want to steal land from nearby kingdoms.
  • Filler: Used occasionally to take the edge off the periodic Schedule Slip. Particularly frustrating when the climax of the Dragon storyline is intercut with a human scholar's travel-log into The Seven Villages, three or four pages at a time per page of the main storyline.
  • Foreshadowing: Just lost a chickenor two...Not a problem whatsoever...
  • Foregone Conclusion: Narration is always first person by Quentyn, looking back on the events of the story. You don't know how long after it is, and what condition he's in at that point, but you know he lives at least long enough to record the story in his journal.
  • Foul First Drink: Quentyn's first beer has him running outside to throw it up in short order. He and his friends find blackberry sherry or rather, brandy more to their liking.
  • Fridge Horror: The Duke experiences this in-universe here.
    Servant girl: I... Can only imagine what is running through your mind, Your Grace...
    Duke of Fenwyck: At the moment? That time you told me there was a monster under my bed when I was ten.
  • Friend to All Children: There all along, but especially prevalent in Quentyn's attitude towards Marsha; he's completely aware that she's too young to be responsible for her actions, and is very sweet towards her even as she pulls his whiskers and twists his tail.
  • From Bad to Worse: The entire dragon arc has been a big Break the Haughty arc for an overly-confident Quentyn. It starts with the duke's hired swords abandoning them in the middle of the night. Then Sam left too. Then Pelinor refuses to follow him into the dragon's lair. Then it turns out they've tracked down the wrong dragon—this one is bigger. Oh, but Sam and Pelinor come back! And they kill the dragon! But Ember was maimed in the process, and they have to put her down. And then it turns out there were two dragons, and when a dragon smells a dead dragon, it goes into a berserker rage. The younger one starts burning the countryside with no one able to stop it. And then, to top it all off, the duke's personal priest comes back, admonishes him for working with "witch-rats," and all but announces the start of a holy crusade to bring the region back under the church's control—especially the neighboring duchy.
  • Funny Background Event: this strip.
  • Fun with Palindromes: Rosad Beither's epitaph;
    "Reviled did I live, said I, as evil I did deliver."
  • Funetik Aksent: If you can't tell what the hell the swamp dwelling Racconans are saying, try sounding it out.
  • Gang of Hats: Various street gangs: The Vipers, the Royals (who wear purple) and the Redcaps (you have three guesses).
  • Glass Cannon: Basilisks are seriously deadly but tiny enough that Quentyn squishes one underfoot.
  • A God Am I: Ralph Hayes plays this one like a fiddle. Here's how it plays out:
  • God Guise: Non-Rac Cona Daimh lux users tend to end up with their own cargo cult, even if some of them don't have much power.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: In full effect, though racconans tend to use rings and beads rather than coins due to the shortage of metal in Antilla.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Quentyn believes this to be the only option after inadvertently releasing (and, if he doesn't succeed, feeding and reenergizing) the Rat King. Nothing at this venture is going to save him, and if it gets loose the entirety of Antillia will be next on its menu, so he has to make sure it dies with him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: the fey prince, after he calls the Wild Hunt on Quentyn, who is protected by two separate ancient boons (One on the Racconans in general, one bestowed by the white stag), and ends up being forced to give Quentyn three wishes, and he ends up losing all his wealth of debts owed to him and, ironically, being forever barred from hunting the mortal plane.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Merchant Max. You mustn't deal him with while you're drunk, but his goods are reasonably decent quality and his advice to Quentyn of how to talk turkey in the Human Lands is on the money.
  • Honor Before Reason: At times, but not when he takes on the quest to retrieve the artifacts. If he takes the quest, he may never see home again. If he doesn't, he won't have a home to go back to.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: They look like creepy, newborn rats. Eugh. However, their hair can sometimes look nice; too bad it doesn't cover enough for a proper pelt.
  • Idiot Ball: Duke Grymalkin's sage was told to deliver every bit of information, fact or fake, to him. He almost comes through on this...but immediately dismisses the one account that holds any truth without bothering to go into any more detail on it.
  • I Gave My Word: When asked whether he really meant what he said about becoming a questor.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Quentyn never actually learned "dan-kelga", the ancient Racconan art of cunning — but they say a lot of it trickled down into the game of hide-and-seek, which he desperately hopes is true.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: When the Unseileighe's spy raven was attempting to flee the castle, none of the guards came even close to hitting it.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: Quentyn's malfunctioning Elf Shot pistol - which fires off its entire magazine in one giant burst, although it is later fixed.
    • Also, the distress flare he uses to swat off a dragon attacking his luftship. The folks below literally ooo and ahh at the pretty lights in the sky.
  • Incapable of Disobeying: The Fair Folk are described in these terms. Quentyn's narration explains that they were created to be a Servant Race, with rules of conduct and behavior programmed into them that they could no more disobey than a mortal could refuse to eat or pee. The fact that this remains true long after their masters are long dead is Quentyn's theory as to why they're all half-barmy.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: Averted.
    • Quentyn sends a message via sparrow to his parents, but seconds after he sends it, it gets eaten by a hawk. The message does eventually arrive... via the White Stag... which talks.
    • Averted again when a bird refuses to go out into cold weather.
  • Instant Knots: The entire point of a "Glimmer Rope".
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers:
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Upon officially becoming a Questor, Quentyn's father takes him to the local pub to celebrate. However, when Quentyn drinks a mug of seriously hard liqour, he has a violent reaction to the taste serious enough to sprint outside to throw up. While the adult patrons are yucking it up at that, Quentyn angrily asks if you are supposed to drink that stuff or spread it on your body.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Subverted with Kestral in that the Engineering faculty head and male students were tired of having to encourage getting more females into the demanding Comprehensive course, only to have practically all the females drop out. Once Kestral proves she's seriously going to see her education through, they begin to accept her.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Owning books by Rosad Beither the monster maker, or wearing a ring with his symbol is not illegal. Running questionable experiments in your own home lab is also not illegal. Animal cruelty, on the other hand very much is a crime, especially if you steal your neighbor's pet cat to do it.
  • Karmic Jackpot: The Fae Lord sets a hunt for Quentyn, who a) won, b) just happens to be of a protected race AND c) is personally blessed by a being honored by the Fae, making the challenge a huge no-no twice over. He ends up getting triple the normal punishment: three boons for Quentyn to choose.
  • Kid Hero: Quentyn's a youngster when he becomes a Questor. This is used against the Archivist's Guild later on.
  • Kill It with Fire: A simple Lux application by our hero can turn a simple candle flame into an impressive shortranged flamethrower attack.
  • Knight Errant: Quentyn is one and viewed as such by outsiders. Double's as bilingual bonus as in certain parts of France, Questor was in fact exactly what you would call certain types of knights or Chancellors of a court, particularly in Brittany.
  • Lack of Empathy: The Fae, at least the Unseighle. Quentyn gently picking up the body of a bird the Fae Prince had slain tips the King off that he's not one.
  • Licked by the Dog: The monastery dog approves of Quentyn.
  • Mage Killer: The rat-wights eat lux, which in racoonan society is extremely dangerous. Then there are dragons, who were clearly built to fight lux users. They're immune to all magic, but they are able to sense it and really, really hate it.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: The Fae must follow the codes of conduct their creators bred into them, even though those creators are long dead and most of the "rules" haven't made the least bit of sense for millennia.
  • Mana: By Any Other Name, in this case, Lux. Based on the professor's explanation , it's closest to 'qi'/'ki'/'chi', as mastered by martial artists.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Kestrel gives one clueless male a quick visit here.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Expansionist Party is said to have had one when they learn Quentyn's going to try and perform the quest—and they don't have a clue what to do now. Especially since Quentyn is the last Questor to whom the contract applies.
  • The Marvelous Deer: Shows up to give advice and blessings. Will also occasionally deliver a letter.
  • Mercy Kill: Quentyn must do this to the mortally-wounded Ember.
  • Metal-Poor Planet: The region of Antilla where the Racconans live has no mines and no source of iron, copper, tin, lead, or anything else of that nature. All of it must be imported from beyond the Mist Wall and recycled to exhaustion. However, thanks to a bio-engineering experiment meant to detoxify soil, Antilla has a brand new, never-before-seen metal: aluminum.
  • Mood Whiplash: First Quentyn and his friends suffer defeat, bereavement and injury. Then they realize their failure has had wider consequences than they suspected, and they have to go on the run because they're afraid the victims will blame them. Elsewhere, events are unfolding that seem to prove their fears entirely justified. And then without warning the scene shifts to... this strip.
  • Morph Weapon: Wildcard can add this to it's long list of abilities
  • Must Make Amends: Delivering the letter to God
  • Naked People Are Funny: Admit it, you laughed, You Bastard! Poor Quentyn.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: His impressive heroics eventually changes that.
  • Never Land: The elves, with an unpleasant twist — due to a goof by a now-reviled elven king (who wanted his people to be able not to die of old age and apparently went to a Literal Genie for his wish) elves are perpetually young — but not long-lived. They only live to about twenty or so, and then die of "old age". The result is that most of the elven territories are inhabited by half-wild children. To make things even worse, it's implied that, as a result, their civilization has gone from being able to match the humans or even the Sidhe to something out of Lord of the Flies. Half-elves, although longer-lived, still have much briefer lifespans than humans or Raccoonan — they only get anywhere from ten to twenty years more. There is allegedly an artifact out there somewhere that can fix the problem, but it's missing so it looks like our hero Quentyn has another item to keep an eye out for in his grand quest.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Quentyn and the second dragon.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Princeling when he finds out that, the moment he called the Wild Hunt on the "hairy little mortal", whose race and mystical cowlick made him taboo for such twice over, he completely and irrefutably screwed himself.
      It can't be... I waited decades... I made sure you were all long gone... WHY ARE YOU HERE???
    • And here's one from Quentyn. Beware, spoilers:
    • Earlier, Quentyn facing the Rat King and its horde of shadow wights.
      Did you ever know you were going to die?
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: It is unwise, when assuring a girl that she looks like a girl, to mention her hips.
  • Open the Door and See All the People: Quentyn Quinn gets this. The second time, he's in his pajamas. The first time, pajamas would have been an improvement.
  • Thieving Magpie: A fay lord collects like a magpie.
  • Third-Party Deal Breaker: The Faerie Court grants Quentyn Three Wishes from the Fae Prince Dolan to reward Quentyn and punish the Prince. His first is to nullify all debts and favours owed the Prince, effectively stripping away almost all his assets in the Fae "economy".
  • Three Wishes: Quentyn's reward after the Wild Hunt. Which he uses to great effect against the Princeling Dolan.
  • Through His Stomach: The advantages of a woman's touch
  • Too Fast to Stop: Quentyn's speed-enhancing boots. Sadly, they were destroyed during the Wild Hunt when their heat buildup completely incinerated them. Word of God says that the enchantment resides in the buckles rather than the easily-damaged leather. As long as the buckles survive, all he needs is a new pair of boots.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Quentyn gets a lot more bitter and irritable during the Dragonslayer arc. It's implied to be a combination of the cold weather driving a need to go into hibernation and the fact that he's started to give up on ever finding the artifacts. He seems to be back to his old self in recent strips though.
  • Touché: The Junior Questors, attempting to distract a suspected cultist, have knocked on his door claiming to be selling cookies. When he points out, among other flaws in the claim, that it's the middle of the night, they respond that they caught him at home. After an Aside Glance, he gives up and asks if they've got any macaroons.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Squidge loves him some berry pies.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Quentyn teaches the Duke of Fenwyck how to fight the Fae, and he likewise distributes the weapons and tactics to his subjects.
  • Treasure Room: After Quentyn has everything the fae lord took unjustly given to the Duke.
  • Truth in Television:Racconans are implied to have a particular threshold of inebriation where their intelligence and skill, if not their wisdom, jumps dramatically. In real life, this is known as the Ballmer Peak.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend:
    • Kestrel carries a torch for Quentyn for years. After he goes into exile, she starts trying to get over it and move on with her life.
    • Also Maid Ellen, at least until this happened.
  • Unpredictable Results: Quentyn's magic sword, Wildcard, which can go from invincible to useless between attacks. Noteworthy in its tendency toward the useless side when it would be funny. If Quentyn's life is in danger, however, the results can be reeeeeeeeeally ugly, and even an apparently "silly" effect can turn out to be exactly the sort of vital delaying distraction needed to ensure Quentyn's survival. This may be justified by being an Empathic Weapon.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Pelinor claims that ever since his master died in his Animated Armor, its been whispering and murmuring to itself, and occasionally moving. Quentyn, as one might expect, doesn't believe him. Turns out he wasn't telling the whole truth.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Since so few humans can manipulate lux, their adepts tend to be mostly self-taught. On the other hand, they can put a tremendous amount of energy into their workings, meaning that even their crude luxwork can still be quite dangerous.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: It wasn't blackberry sherry, it was blackberry BRANDY.
  • Utopia: The filler pages of a human scholar's travels in Antillas highlights the issues; they're a race of Persecuted Intellectuals who have built a Hidden Elf Civilization in order to practice their talents without interference from their much more numerous and belligerent neighbors. As a result, they are incredibly scientifically advanced in comparison to the other races, have a near monopoly on Lux/Magical expertise among the mortal races, are unbelievably prosperous despite not only running out of the metals necessary to maintain a technological civilization, but starting to lose entire villages to environmental damage(but a genius ends up growing a plant that can GROW metal out of Bauxite poisoned soil which might very well solve both issues).
  • Variant Chess: A four-player variant with the same social role as poker.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • The Racconnan race in general; two-foot tall "Lux"-wielding furries in a High Fantasy world of elves, dwarves, orges, etc... but their lack of power has led them to Analyze Magic Sufficiently to put them "head and shoulders" above the rest - the only Steampunk civilization on a world stuck in The Dung Ages.
    • Quentyn in particular; Despite extensive studies he's a "black ribbon" Lux user - just one step above no power at all. He's clever and determined enough to scrape through school through rote memorization - but not brilliant enough to be a scholar or engineer. He's strong, fast, tough and well trained - but short even for a racconan his age. Put another way: he knows lots of subtle low-power spells, he's great at MacGyvering both tech and magic, and he's a Combat Pragmatist. In short, he's a pretty darn good Questor.
    • The Racconnans are also this way to human Lux users: while a human may have enough power to level a forest, it's like "a Neanderthal with a club verses you with a crossbow."
  • We Need a Distraction: Stumble on the mad scientist's lair, with his experimental animals just when you need a distraction.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Quentyn has a phobia of jellies, widely known to be harmless, if annoying. Thanks to a childhood prank by Rahan.
    • As a rule, Quentyn tries to avoid getting involved in politics on principle, but inevitably finds himself neck deep in the regional politics wherever he goes.
  • With This Herring: Averted. When preparing for The Big Quest, Quentyn gets all the equipment he needs, and more. He tends to prepare for his minor quests, albeit from his own saved money, and had significant physical and scientific training.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Quentyn to himself in the aftermath of his encounter with the Gragum—pretty much an inverted "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Wingdinglish: The written language of the Racoonan people, featured prominently throughout much of the comic. Thankfully, the author provided a translation guide.
  • World of No Grandparents: The average Racoonan lifespan is 250 years, yet it has been nearly a hundred years since the last Questor went beyond the mistwall, yet we see nobody in the story who knew him personally, nor any of his family members. Possibly justified in that the red plague killed alot of the older Racoonans. There is some inconsistency though in that the current Elders of Freeman downs were 'no more then kits' when the plague hit, which means the Eldest of them has to be at least under 100 years old yet looks ancient, so it is possible the racoonans were just lying to the human scholar when he asked how long they lived.
    • Word of God, they do live 250 years. The Elders of Freeman Downs are, in Racconan years, middle aged, but due to their rank cultivate white hair and beards. The High Eldest is the oldest Racconan in all of Antillia, is twice as old as any of the Elders of Freeman Downs, and one of the few survivors of the plague.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Shaman. Oh, my, yes, they would hurt a child.