Thanks in large part to the comics' Cerebus Syndrome, it's safe to say that The Order of the Stick has a lot of Wham Episodes to offer.note
No Cure For The Paladin Blues
- 247. While it's Played for Laughs at the time, Haley is rendered The Unintelligible here, which would later have very serious consequences down the line.
- 273. Lord Shojo reveals the existence of the Snarl, a malevolent Eldritch Abomination accidentally created by the fighting among the Gods.
- 274. Shojo then explains that the Snarl was so powerful that it wiped out all of the Eastern Gods and undid the creation of the first world.
- 275. Shojo further reveals that the current world is actually the prison of the Snarl, and that there are rifts in this prison.
- 276. Shojo finally reveals that for the Gods to fix the rifts, they'd need to undo creation first and rebuild the world without the rifts. The Order of the Scribble didn't want to let things get that far, so they built the gates to seal the rifts. Should all of them fall, the Gods will step in and undo creation, since that's better than letting the Snarl destroy everything since it can destroy even souls.
- 295. Belkar is readmitted to the Order of the Stick, but with a Mark of Justice magically applied to him to serve as a Restraining Bolt.
War And XPs
Don't Split The Party
- 568. After Belkar kills the Oracle, he unwittingly activates his Mark of Justice.
- 572. The resurrected Oracle gives the ghost of Roy one of the most important prophecies in the entire series: "Belkar will draw his last breath—ever—before the end of the [In-Universe] year."
- 599. Vaarsuvius leaves Elan and Durkon to go off on their own in trying to restore contact with Haley and Belkar.
- 606. Belkar goes on an illness-induced Vision Quest with a hallucination of Lord Shojo, where he learns that he needs to fake having Hidden Depths and be a team player in order to "play the game" and survive, setting him on the path for (both faked and legitimate) Character Development.
- 626. "Say 'Disintegrate' one more time, Vaarsuvius. For me."
- 634. Vaarsuvius accepts a Faustian bargain with the IFCC in order to save their family.
- 639. Vaarsuvius casts Familicide.
- 661. After O-Chul and a now-Brought Down to Normal Vaarsuvius have gotten Blackwing to drop Xykon's phylactery into the sewers below Azure City, the Monster in the Darkness (showing how they've been taking O-Chul's lessons on ethics and philosophy into account) saves V and O-Chul's lives by teleporting them away.
- 665. Roy is finally brought Back from the Dead.
- 672. In the final strip to this story arc, Blackwing, Vaarsuvius' familiar reveals what he saw within the Rift over Soon's Gate: a planet. Not the Snarl, which is supposed to be the overarching manifestation of chaos doomed to unmake the whole world (although it's not impossible to discount it still being omnipresent in a way we've yet to understand), but a lone planet.
Blood Runs In The Family
- 759. Knocking off Elan's rose tinted glasses takes a big punch, but his dad delivers.
- 830. Redcloak reveals The Plan (teleport the Rifts from the mortal plane to the Outer Planes where the other Gods live so the Snarl can threaten them on their home turf in order for him and the Dark One to blackmail them all into elevating goblinkind and their ilk to PC races), is elevated to new levels of awesome (he's been playing Xykon like a fool the whole time)... and offs a recurring villain in the comic (Tsukiko).
- 842. Familicide is revealed to have a direct and devastating effect on both the plot and V's character arc.
- 878. Malack turns Durkon into a vampire.
- 896 and 897. "Now." The IFCC finally reveal their hand.
- 906. Nale incinerates Malack.
- 913. Tarquin kills Nale — a villain that has been in the comic for nearly ten real-life years - with a knife to the chest.
- 936. Elan lets his father drop from Scoundrél's airship, turning Tarquin's set of beliefs against him and leaving him alone in the middle of the desert, utterly wrecked psychologically.
- 945. It is finally confirmed that the Snarl is real, with one of its tentacles reaching out of Girard's Gate and attacking people.
- 946. Durkon is being held prisoner inside his own mind by the spirit of the vampire he has become, who is now the High Priest of Hel, and the Order doesn't suspect a thing.
- 997. The Godsmoot's first order of business? A vote on whether or not to unmake the world.
- 1000. And what a celebration of a 1000th page it is. Vampire Durkon and Hel's scheme is revealed, and if Roy cannot stop Durkon, the world will be destroyed.
- 1009. After Vampire Durkon makes an exceptionally cruel remark about Roy's dead baby brother, Roy finally realizes that Vampire Durkon isn't Durkon at all and stops pulling his punches around who he thought was his former friend.
- 1105. Hilgya makes a surprising return with a child implied - and later confirmed - to be Durkon's. For extra wham, Hilgya was last seen in Strip 84, which was posted on July 4, 2004. Thirteen real-life years.
- 1130. Durkon tricks the High Priest of Hel, turning him into a copy of Durkon.
- 1131. The copy of Durkon lowers the Anti-Life Shell, allowing for Belkar to stake the vampire and finally kill off the High Priest of Hel.
- 1139. It is revealed that the current world isn't the second one created after the Snarl destroyed the first world, as previously believed. Nor is it, in fact, the tenth, either. Or the hundredth, or even the billionth. In reality, the Gods have made a near-infinity of prior worlds of vastly different kinds, all of which were inevitably destroyed by the Snarl.
- 1141. Thor drops an Info Dump on the nature of both the Snarl and the Gods — and reveals that the Dark One is a potential Spanner in the Works against the Snarl.
- 1150. Both Thor and Odin are revealed to have no idea about the planet inside the Snarl's rifts.
- 1183. The IFCC knew about Hel's plan and were counting on it succeeding, meaning that they want the world to be destroyed. And in any case, they're preparing to carry out their own plan and finally take a more active role in events.
- 1189. We're introduced to at least two new, invisible characters, representing another independent side, who take out O-Chul and Lien without much effort and have motivations unknown to anyone else, including the readers. This is the last page of the book, so there won't be any answers for months at the very least.
Unnamed Final Book
- 1223. The dungeons protecting Kraagor's Gate are one big shell game.
- 1226. Lien and O-Chul's kidnapper is revealed to be none other than Serini Toormuck, who is not only still alive after all these years, but has also been partially transfigured into some kind of monster.