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The Mansion of E is a long-running fantasy webcomic created by Robert Cook, AKA Troper Geoduck. The eponymous structure is a large cactus-shaped edifice mysteriously perched on the side of a high cliff overlooking a Specific Ocean, surrounded by a ruin-strewn forest. Underneath is the "Basement", a collection of caverns and tunnels and such, going deep into the earth. The strip painstakingly details the activities of the Mansion/Forest/Basement's many and diverse inhabitants; including a few Humans, who technically own the entire place. The plot is set in motion by the sudden arrival on the scene of the wandering heroine Rosemary Ripley, who sets off a long series of events disrupting the established order.

After a long hiatus, as of December 2022 the strip is posting again on ComicFury (while still maintaining the old site on the now mostly defunct Comic Genesis.) There's also a fan-run wiki and a fan-made backup and mega-summary up through 2019 or so..

Contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: The Tower (now known as Mansion) and the adjacent underground complex by the time the first humans arrived. Many parts of it were reclaimed by Earls and later abandoned again to be reclaimed by Basement-dwellers.
  • Abusive Precursors: Ettins, the original builders of the mansion (and many other things in the wider world). The Basement used to be their zoo and a POW camp. Humans have this reputation in the Basement after having run the Mansion for centuries, thanks to basement dwellers being so short-lived.
  • Action Dress Rip: Rosemary rips off the base of her skirt at one point.
  • Aerith and Bob: Humans (and Boogiemen, who deliberately take names from a Human book) have 'normal' names (with Fantasy Counterpart Culture in play). Everyone else...
  • After the End: See below under The Magic Goes Away. The comic is set five decades after a cataclysm ("The Crash") destroyed every Magitek device, killing the majority of trained magicians, and greatly diminished the primary source of magic, Ley Lines.
    • Before that, there had been at least two global wars that completely or nearly eradicated their participants: Ettin-Sneech war, that left abandoned outposts full of dangerous machinery, and the Dawn War, which significantly altered the continents.
  • Anti-Climax:
    • When Candle Monks start preparing to fight "The Enemy" you'd expect them to be a grandiose problem for Sylvester and Rosemary. Actually, they are after Camora, who knocked down their holy candle. Apologies and Rosemary's threats prove enough to defuse the conflict.
    • When Brainwashed and Crazy Hpobfvfr catches up to the heroes, Mortimer accidentally undoes Operator's mind control.
  • Apothecary Alligator: Crazy Rhid has a crocogator hanging from the ceiling in his chemical workshop.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Sylvester and Mortimer are nice enough. Some of their ancestors, on the other hand..
  • Art Evolution: Color is eventually added, and used as an indicator of the level of magic available in a particular locale. About at the same time strips start having perspective, though it remains rare.
    • Items locations and individuals receive stylistic updates over time, worth mentioning because these changes are detected by some characters in-universe. More than lampshading, this is Played for Drama. Background character Furphy notices so many, he seems to be paranoid to other characters, and the major character Camora is freaked out by the Riddler-summoner changing form.
    • Exaggerated: the Riddler-summoner got a completely new form just 10 real-life days after its first appearance.
  • Art Shift: Silhouettes are used to depict memories/flashbacks/speculations.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Briefly, a running gag in Subshaft 44f. Saying an innocent word may provoke Crud the Gnoll to attack the speaker. And he had many triggers.
  • Big Labyrinthine Building / Bizarrchitecture / Building of Adventure: The Mansion and the Basement are both filled with masses of twisty corridors and rooms.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The Motihauls. Both are human-sized humanoids and have little in common besides that.
    • Large & small Wyrms may constitute 4 genders of a single species despite tremendously different sizes, but the details are unclear. Canon info is that large & small Wyrms have a shared lifecycle, "eating" is a metaphor for part of this lifecycle, and the small Wyrm Nevus "managed to permanently Taint himself" which may be partly due to his mating with another small Wyrm. There is also a Wyrm "Mother"; evidently a queen figure, but the title may be literal. References are spread across several Sunday strips: 1 2 3 4
  • Bring It: Mansion-visitor Zay delivers one of these to a tentacle-monster that has grabbed him.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Every scene set in darkened rooms.
  • Cartoon Juggling: Rosemary engages in it a couple of times. "Arc" or "shower" variety.
  • Cephalothorax: The Gobules. A ball with legs.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Too many to list all.
    • Rosemary being on the run.
    • Whatever Rosemary is hiding in her Pokekit.
    • Scary Lady, her past, her capabilities, her motives.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Agita the Basement VIP indulges in this in regards to her living quarters.
  • Cool Gate: The Panegates. All over the Mansion there are "windows" to distant places in the same world, alternate worlds and possibly other places. The codes to open most of them are non known. Some can be accessed only for a limited time once per several decades, due to the moving Mansion walls opening/closing access. Scary Lady can open a number of them.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: The plot is kickstarted by Sylvester and Rosemary going down the Basement to retrieve some siege equipment. Said equipment is stored much closer, in the barracks, as Mortimer tells them by the end of the day.
  • Cow Tools: Scattered all over the place. Mainly, made by non-humans. The ones made in the Basement or by Pales tend to look like the trope namer a stick with something at one end. The Ettins' tuning tool looks like a USB symbol. The Sneeches' last gift is a truncated pyramid with a strange symbol.
  • Crapsack World: The SubShafts are a dangerous machine-filled labyrinth occupied by various Basement refugees and outcasts.
  • Crossover: A character from the (now long-defunct) webcomic Sandwich World came for a visit.
  • Depth Deception: Panegates may be flattened tesseracts viewed from a certain angle.
  • Double Weapon: Rosemary's new "Can Opener". A long thick shaft with an asymmetric crescent at one end (hence the name) and a paddle or club on the other end.
  • The Dreaded: The Woman of Mystery tends to provoke this reaction, as do the demons Chauncy and Edgar. (It turns out she's a demon as well.)
  • Eco-Terrorist / Evil Luddite / Gaia's Vengeance: During the war, Sneeches often destroyed Ettin machinery with something that grew inside it. The Tree looks like such weapon.
  • Exact Words: Anyone interacting with the Spindizzies has to be careful about this. (Though it's because they are so literal-minded, not malicious.)
  • The Faceless: Mr. Hand. Digger Odel wears so much protective gear he is essentially this. The Boogiemen and Ichyoids start out like this.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Glowing Balls Of Light and Amorphous Balls Of Light. Powered by The Tree, have to be cared for.
  • Fantasy Contraception: Stiflebloom. Its introduction several centuries ago played an important part at women's equality, as well as accepting Brush religion. Rufus and several background characters were born because the local bush lost its potency.
  • Fictional Document: Lots of book titles, one of the more prominent being the pompous and overrated Lo The Plow Shall Till The Soil Of Redemption.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Native Humans explicitly have these, a visiting Human from other parts is shown to have five.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The plot is glacially slow and keeps branching with every new character the known groups meet and leave behind.
  • Gone Horribly Right: If business rivals of Earl Griffington killed him, expecting the family business to fail under his son, who was no inventor, they were half right. He was not good at inventing weapons, but he was good at commanding armies. He started a war and killed all rival rulers.
  • The Ghost: Skibble, "God", plus the entire race of Sneeches; it eventually turns out the last have left the Basement entirely.
  • Hammerspace / Bag of Holding: Poke Kits, manufactured by Hammerspace corporation. Their carrying capacity decreased after The Crash, but they still can hold more than pockets and purse. In the Mansion they should hold a polearm.
  • Hand Puppet: The Weirdo has Fantod, who may or may not have a mind of his own.
  • Hat of Authority: When seated in the Earl's Office in his official capacity, Sylvester wears a dark grey fedora. He thinks (and Rosemary agrees) it makes him look intimidating, so he avoids using the outfit and the office most of the times.
  • Hat of Power: Before The Crash wizwiches frequently wore tall conic hats with magic amplifiers. Those hats exploding killed most of them during The Crash.
    • Fuzz oracles copied the hat design, as well as amplifiers.
  • Heli-Critter: The Helipaths. Octopuses with propellers on top of their heads.
  • The Hilarity of Hats:
    • Rosemary gets a Cool Helmet from Sylvester, which becomes her Signature Headgear.
    • The forest Nomes also have a great appreciation for hats.
    • As do the "Mark 4" Fuzzes in some Sunday strips.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: For most of the Basement-dwellers "The Earl" is a godlike figure from the distant past, an amalgamation of the great deeds of all the outstanding earls of E. Sylvester has to repeat he's "an earl, but not The Earl".
  • Impoverished Patrician: The Emans, essentially, thanks to frivolous spending of the previous few generations. Though, Sylvester is slowly digging the family out of its financial hole.
    • Taken a bit further in their backstory. A few centuries earlier the Earls of E led a ragtag alliance of small princedoms that challenged The Empire during its initial expansion and at its peak controlled a quarter of its territory.
  • In Medias Res: Cully's first little excursion from subShaft 44f is shown as he relates it to Chunner and Crud after his return.
  • Insistent Terminology: Rhid is the first to point out that his nickname is "Crazy".
  • Interspecies Friendship: Sprocket the Gnoll and Flange the Helipath are Basement repair-team that work together on various projects.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Thanks to Four Lines, All Waiting. There are the three main human characters in the Mansion, there are consequences of their actions in the Basement, the forest and Eetown, there is The Weirdo Who Lives In the Attic reporting everything to mysterious higher-ups, there are Sylvester's and Mortimer's relatives traveling far away for unclear purposes (uncle Frederick with Scary Lady; brother Ace with a Nome; mother and sister somewhere south). There's Rosemary's backstory that should catch up with her in a few weeks. There are Frowgler and other powerful observers, who know much more than they reveal. Then there are Puppeteer Parasite Fixits running some ominous facility, which seems unrelated to the rest of the plots. And then there are completely out of left field SubShaft 44f and The Fuzz & The Robot, which appear on weekends and stopped making sense years ago. And that's forgetting all the numerous meaningful remarks, each of which can develop into years-long side story.
  • The Jeeves / Servile Snarker: Hector the robot displays this attitude toward Mr. Hand.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Villipend the Trog dies like this, getting chomped from behind by the Beaver Shark.
  • Killer Robot: Guardbots permanently mounted in various spots in the Mansion.
  • Kudzu Plot: Almost every time known characters venture into a new area and meet somebody there, those somebodies get their own plot thread. Sometimes one for all, sometimes one for each. Even mentioning a character, like brother Ace, may create a separate thread for him.
  • Lightning Gun: Earl Ludwig developed one similar to real-life Taser powered by a battery backpack. More advanced versions were the size of a gun and could break stone walls, bigger version was used as a tank cannon; those supposedly were all destroyed by The Crash. Still more advanced version is the size of a pen; it gives the victim a few hours of sleep and a short amnesia.
  • Literal-Minded: The Spindizzies answer questions happily and openly, but very very literally.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Features, among others, Humans, Gnolls, Nomes, Ghasts, Oozes, Wyrms (large and small), Troglodytes, Saurs, Motihauls, Ichyoids, Helipaths, Gobules, Pales, Jibjibs, Spyders, Robots, Killer Trees and Talking Rocks.
  • Mad Bomber: Crazy Rhid doesn't proactively go around blowing people up with his explosives, but he's not afraid to use them if provoked.
  • Mad Scientist: Sylvester's well-meaning ancestor Ludwig invented all sorts of useful-but-dangerous devices.
  • Meaningful Name: Many character names are actually obscure English words. It's (very) eventually revealed the Mansion itself was named by its Human inhabitants after its original creators, the race of the Ettins.
  • The Magic Goes Away: And not gradually, either. About 5 decades ago all active magic devices exploded, killing their users. Furthermore, Ley Lines power greatly diminished.
    • The Magic Comes Back: However, the inactive devices survived just fine, and energy is still abundant at "trickle points". And the new generations of humans have their usual share of magicians, who only need someone to teach them. Mortimer is a unknowing magician.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Beaver shark is a shark that will continue chasing you on the dry land and will gnaw down a tree where you try to hide. Skunk shark has the recognizable stripe and stink weapon.
  • The Mole: The Weirdo Who Lives In The Attic has some sort of hidden agenda and makes a covert report to a visiting associate.
  • Neck Lift: Happens to various Gnolls; they are small and light enough it's not an automatic sign of super-strengh.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Rosemary has said that she has had this problem.
  • No Name Given: The Woman of Mystery AKA the Scary Lady. Eventually revealed to be Myrrh.
    • Also the Human country where the Mansion is located, also eventually revealed as Yurpsland.
  • Noodle Incident: The plot is so dense and slow-moving, and so dialog-rich in places, that the comic contains a great many such incidents. Sometimes, details are revealed years later, but these may not be enough to lift an incident from noodle status. Here are a few of the more plot-relevant or puzzling ones.
    • There's literally a town called Noodle, first mentioned 5 years before the first indications a rather bizarre and deadly incident happened there.
    • Whatever Leny the Trog did at some unspecified time in the past. No details have been given at all, but the tone seems to indicate it was something embarrassing.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Crud the Gnoll shows this attitude when threatened with an automated killing system. Threatening to kill the cute mechanical cat however, can make him cooperate.
  • Oh, Crap!: Crazy Rhid when Wrawa the Trog calls his bluff.
  • Only Six Faces: The Gnolls all look pretty much the same at least to Humans; they all have different hairstyles.
  • "Pan from the Sky" Beginning: Day 2 starts with the view of the solar system, gradually zooming to Yurpsland, then Audravania, then the Mansion of E.
  • People Puppets / Puppeteer Parasite: Fixits do it by attaching themselves to people's heads. And they look like hats..
  • Ragnarok Proof:
    • The Mansion and The Basement were self-sustained for many centuries, despite humans poking around and renovating.
    • Other Ettin machinery also survived The Crash as if they were designed with such event in mind.
    • The human inventor Ludwig's devices survived The Crash too, although they may have been shielded by the Mansion.
  • Ret-Gone: The possible fate of everyone who ever messed with the time twistpoint. Because despite its long-standing mysteriousness, nobody has ever messed with the time twistpoint.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Infocom Zork games: Dorn beasts, zorkmid coins, Nome names, the city of Frobozz, numerous references to Grues, "the great underearth empire" of Polarites.
    • Kim Possible: pompous and overrated novel Lo The Plow Shall Till The Soil Of Redemption.
    • H. P. Lovecraft: Ichyoid design, the statue of Cthulhu in the storage of the most dangerous artefacts. The planet Yuggoth is referenced once or twice, seeming to be the most distant planet of the Wide World's solar system.
    • Dwarf Fortress: Boatmurdered island, the site of bloodiest and most pointless battle. Tower caps, giant mushrooms cultivated by the Pales.
    • M.U.L.E.: a pixelated MULE appears in various cluttered storerooms as well as flashforwards about space exploration.
    • Settlers of Catan: new (pre-Crash) colony Katan.
    • Rocky and Bullwinkle: "The Moose and Squirrel" inn in Eetown. In one strip one layabout holds a hat, saying "This time for sure, Rocky".
    • Jonathan Livingston Seagull: here the name is written in the clouds.
    • John Carter of Mars: The planet Barsoom shares its name, color and mostly-desert nature.
    • Perelandra: The planet "Perelandra is one big, um, jungleswamp."
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Most of the Forest Nomes are named after spells from the Zork series. Many of the Motihauls working in Sidestep Hall are named after shopkeepers from NetHack.
  • Sigil Spam:
    • In the Mansion of E and its Basement the "E" is all over furniture and Human-made machinery.
    • In the flashbacks set in the Yurpsland University there's rectangular "YU" on the background wall.
    • The panels referencing the past of the Earls of E have their "E" insignia. The real distant past has a stylized "Ett" slowly transforming to "E".
    • The panels with their neighbors and then bitter rivals from S have "S" insignia.
    • The strips about the Northwoods war have alternating "Y" for King Yorik and "W" with an arrow on top for the Northwoods Alliance.
    • In flashbacks, where characters are black silhouettes, their allegiance is indicated by insignia on their helmets: "Y" (Yorik or Yurpsland), "E", "S", "W" (Northwoods), "H&S" (Hack and Slash).
  • The Slow Path: The Woman of Mystery (Scary Lady) got transported from a few weeks before The Crash to the present. Frowgler the Horned Frog told her about upcoming events and that they'll meet again in some 50 years. Then she got pulled back to her time.
  • Sphere Eyes: Most non-humanoid species as well as Gnolls. Most humanoids tend to have large eyes too, but they bulge out less.
  • Sticks to the Back: An explicit if unexplained technique used by Comshaw and Agorn the Gnolls with the weapons they carry, allowing their hands to be free.
  • Swiss-Army Appendage: Hector the robot has a collection of hands he switches between. One is a club he uses to wake up a sleeping Boogieman.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Females of all species have eyelashes and colored irises.
  • Tunnel King: "Digger" Odel is hired to dig in the basement, and always has a pickaxe with him.
  • Unsound Effect: The most common ones are "UNCLICK" and "UNCLANG" when something is being closed after the conversation is over.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Zark! Fratz! Bowb!
  • The Voiceless: The Pales never talk, with the exception of Zpeaker.
  • Webcomic Time: Since 2003 (with a yearlong hiatus at one point.) Roughly two days.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Mortimer. He and his family are well aware of it. It is eventually revealed that he is an unknowing wizard.


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