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Webcomic / Yamara

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Yamara is a comedic webcomic by Barbara Manui & Chris Adams. The first strip appeared in Dragon Magazine in 1988, staying until 1996 when it moved online. A 'relaunch' set after a three-year timeskip ran from 2004-2006 and unceremoniously stopped mid-story.

The setting uses mechanics from the AD&D RPG. It follows the misadventures of a party of monster hunters: Yamara Tooke (a halfling Fighter/Thief), Joe Holy (a human Cleric of St. Nobian's, the church that funds the group), Fëa of Ping Forest (an elf Magician and former Game Show Hostess), and Blag (a dwarf fighter). Blag and Fea eventually faded out of the storyline, while several other characters rose to starring roles - Fëa's familiar Ralph, Ogrek the Undisciplined, Persephone the love-sick vampire, Matron Stress of the dark elf city of Ekmuz-Strel-Thridd, and more. Although their adventures started on the generic gameworld planet Wyhtl, the cast did take an extended trip via spelljammer to the world of Hard Fun in order to mock it for a while.

This webcomic provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Ogrek the Undisciplined: Irredeemable Munchkin? (check) Has a big bonus to spot ladies whom he deems "cute" even if they are hiding? (check) "Heroic" scar and "veteran parade" uniform? Right here. Evading compromising situation with grace? (check) Comment on having 20,000 hobgoblings as neighbors? "Nice, quiet professionals". Crazy-Prepared while carrying almost nothing and remembers her birthday no matter what's going on? (check) And let's not start on his other wife.
  • All There in the Manual: The name of Yamara's homeworld, Wyhtl, did finally get into the strip, but one had to buy the book to discover that it was an acronym ("Where Yamara Has To Live.")
  • Berserk Button: Yamara as a halfling and thief seems to be accustomed to some people's disdain, but ones who miss her multiclassing while showing it provoke her to make a point. It isn't Unstoppable Rage, but they just earned a ticket to the world of hurt, one way or another.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Ogrek employs the trope hilariously.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Fairly early in its run, did a Lampshade Hanging in this strip.
  • The Chosen One: It is -- THE PROPHESIED ONE!! Now, if scrolls specifically said "a halfling, bearing springs, a whoopee cushion, a songbird and an inflatable raft on its jetpack", it really doesn't looks like there can be some mistake...
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: A dark elf mother covers her son's eyes when the tour they're on visits an erotically-carved temple. Ironically, the tour members had already been tortured as part of their visit, but the boy's mom doesn't mind that, only the raunchy art.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Ogrek is more a fan of the Indy Ploy himself, but he insists that his darling wife be Crazy Prepared. (Emphasis on 'crazy'.)
    Ogrek (criticizing Yamara's pack full of traditional adventuring gear): Waterskin? Take a dowsing rod instead. Rope? Extra-long elastic cords are better. And forget all these iron rations. I'll take you to a nice restaurant. You'll need some springs, a whoopee cushion, a songbird, and an inflatable raft - just to be on the safe side. Judicious use of the jetpack should allow you to remain in the 'unencumbered' category throughout the adventure.
    Yamara: How thoughtful. And what will you be bringing?
    Ogrek: Oh, just a toothbrush.
  • Cutting the Gordian Knot / Dungeon Bypass: One brief gag had some non-traditional "adventurers" blow up a dungeon with dynamite, then tally their experience points and break out the shovels.
  • Death World: Hard Fun is set in a world rendered barren by overuse of magic, which in D&D 2nd Ed. had you starting at level 3 so you weren't killed the first time you stepped outside. As this strip shows:
    Our scans show that Hard Fun has only about five weeks left.
    Before its biosphere collapses?
    No, before its entire planetary mass is eaten by inhabitants.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Glathheld claimed skull as his trademark and made people pay for "lease" — when he could. Since he forgot about another entity with the right of prior use (Not the Taxes.), Hilarity Ensues shortly afterward.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Happens instantaneously to Fea, when Dark Natasha sneaks up behind the heroes and slips a "Helm of Opposite Alignment" over her head. Next panel, Fea's gone from ditzy faerie to black-clad biker chick, complete with viper tattoo.
  • Eyepatch After Time Skip: This strip does double duty on eyepatch cliches; not only does the character's future self show up wearing one, she acquired it after going off to be a time pirate. (Well, time privateer. Close enough.)
  • Familiar: Fea has "Poopsie"... er... Ralph the toad. "Poopsie" has nightmare.
  • Fantastic Racism:
  • Faux Affably Evil: Yocchi. There's hardly anything "redeeming" about her, as she happily plays villain, but...She manages to be so stylish and funny even in the To the Pain sequence that even her victim doesn't seem to hold too much of a grudge, and after all, she herself is known to be Too Kinky to Torture, cheerfully crazy, and The Chew Toy to boot, so it's somehow hard to blame her.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The world is called Wythl: Where Yamara Has To Live. When the drow conquer the surface, this becomes Where Yocchi Helps To Lead.
  • Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: In an early strip, the adventurers come across a tiny two-legged creature and start arguing about what sort of monster it might be. In the last panel, a gigantic foot of the same type appears behind them, and Yamara looks up very high while fearfully suggesting that the tiny creature might be somebody's baby.
  • God Guise: The titular protagonist had ascended to Godhood for a storyline, and accidentally had a religion grow around her by the time she returned to normal — except for the three wishes she was granted as a "parting gift". She finally tries to talk her followers out of it with a heartfelt and humble speech — which she ends by saying "I wish you all the finest things in life" when she's on her last wish. An audience member says, "Whatta kidder!"
  • Going for the Big Scoop: That time when Yamara discovered the most outrageous (if not most dangerous) monster...
  • Heinz Hybrid: Ogrek the Undisciplined is one-quarter orc, one-quarter pixie, one-eighth human, one-eighth ogre, one-eighth elf, and one-eighth... something.
  • Lady Land: The Drow are used as a way to comment on institutionalized male-centric sexism:
    Mother Clerd: This is my lovely young son Freznip and my promising daughter Voor.
  • Loophole Abuse: Ralph, a toad familiar, is tasked with bringing a newly-revived ex-vampire her first non-blood meal in centuries. The cleric forbids him from serving her meat, while another character threatens him with punishment if he offers her fruits or vegetables. His solution is to serve her cream of mushroom soup.
  • Medium Awareness: Yamara and several others seem aware they're operating under AD&D rules. Ogrek occasionally exploits it.
  • Mirror Morality Machine: When a Helm of Opposite Alignment winds up on Fëa's head.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Lampshaded when Ogrek's castle explodes and collapses.
    Ogrek: Happily, everyone survived. So did all the furniture.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Invoked (for the purpose of picking up women).
    Blag: Cause ya see, girlie, nobody cares if ya got an 18 Intelligence. Nobody'd care if you were one o' th' lucky broads with a 18 Wisdom! All that counts is a nice, round 18—
  • The Pollyanna: Quite justified in the case of Yocchi, she's The Chew Toy and Too Kinky to Torture... Then she's The Chew Toy no more and it's a subject of rejoicing as well.
  • Prehensile Hair: Mistress Stress has her Stress' Sunblocking Hairy Cantrip. Repeated use has some... side effects.
  • Red Light District: The drow city has an infra-red light district which advertises "Boys! Boys! Boys!" (since drow are matriarchical).
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Tim the paladin is turned into a vampire, but messes up his first attempt to turn into a bat, becoming a giant flying squirrel instead.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: Yamara has AD&D mechanics, not surprising, as it was published in Dragon.
  • Social Semi-Circle: A strip featured the title character (a halfling in a D&D gameworld) having a dream in which she sees the gaming groups from KoDT, Dork Tower and Commissioned and wonders why they're all on one side of the table. The answer: "Because the other for people like you."
  • Spikes of Doom: This strip features an obligatory spike pit.
  • Square Race, Round Class: Yamara Tooke became a barbarian before Belkar (from The Order of the Stick). Also, the strip contains Too Much Information on halflings:
    Arcalula Tooke, cyborg halfling: And of course, who hasn't heard of the legendary Chibi — the halfling Jester/Samurai of Japan?
  • Starfish Alien: Frinn (both the unseen creator of the Headpiece and the three bizarre creatures who hire Yamara to recover it) seem to qualify.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Yamara the halfling is temporarily elevated to a demigoddess by a magical artifact, then restored to mortal status. She then has to tell all the worshippers who've started to slavishly follow her around to go home and get on with their lives.
  • Symbol Swearing: An episode has Drow leader Matron Stress say, "You just don't get it, do you, Elsa? Ogrek is beyond strategy. Better minds than mine have tried to undo him. Everything he does always @*!$ works out for him. *§%# his @*#¶>\&¿¢£¥!!!" Persephone the Affably Evil vampire asks Elsa what that last word meant and is told, "I'll tell you when you're older."
    • In another strip, Persephone, insisting that vampires are the epitome of cool, claimed to have "the lowest body temperature and *!¥¢#ingest wardrobe of the lot of you!" A footnote pointed out that adding a superlative suffix to "*!¥¢#" was completely ungrammatical.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: This quality is one of the reasons why Yocchi is constantly and utterly cheerful: because she's The Chew Toy...
    Elsa: You're welcome to kill Yocchi as often as you like, but I warn you: she'll enjoy it. After a few agonizing deaths, Yocchi may take to following you around.
  • Toy Transmutation: When Fëa of Ping Forest is turned evil, she casts a "Flesh to Plush" spell on Yamara, turning her into a plush doll with a pull-string on her back that allows her to to speak. However, in doing so, Fëa unintentionally transforms the powerful magical artifact Yamara was holding (and that Fëa was planning on stealing) into a cheap plastic trinket that accompanies the doll.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: While two heroes are listening at a door, the third is grabbed and carried off by a floating undead that slipped right over them via the open transom above the door.
  • Wasteful Wishing: Yamara wishes that Blag would fall off a cliff, that her followers should have all the good things in life, and that Blag would come back from wherever he's gone and repay the money he owes her. She is then informed that she has three wishes.
  • Weird Trade Union: Ralph the toad has mentioned his membership in a Familiars' Guild.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Local bars double as employment centers, even officially. The title character goes out drinking with her friend Stress, and warns against trying to fight off the hordes of adventurers, sages in dark cloaks, and barmaids with the low-down on local dragon hoards, since a bar fight will likely lead to a memorable encounter and forming a lifelong fellowship with some dweeb, and who wants that? Then she announces they'll join the party of whichever group buys them the most drinks, and the two of them get plastered for free.
  • Your Vampires SUCK: The vampire Persephone is a parody of the Ravenloft-inspired craze for unique variant vampires in D&D, as she was immune to traditional vampire-banes but vulnerable to laundry products. The paladin she turned was able to transform into a giant flying squirrel instead of a bat.