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So you're reading The Order of the Stick, and something catches your eye. You don't think too much of it at the time. Then, a little while later, as you're going to the fridge for a drink or a snack, you think, "WAIT a minute...."

This page is for showcasing noteworthy moments of Fridge Brilliance or Fridge Horror in The Order of the Stick. Note that any Fridge Logic examples do NOT belong here -- put them on the series' Headscratchers page, instead.


Fridge Brilliance

  • In this comic, Redcloak is really talking to his brother, Right-Eye.
    • Which also explains Tuskiko's insult of "Wrong-eye", as she was told by Xykon that it would annoy him.
    • The kicker? When Blackwing drops the phylactery, it falls and bounces off a statue of Redcloak, on its right eye.
  • Ever wonder why all ninjas from Azure city wears a uniform with a blue or purple shade? Aside from the obvious being that everyone from that city wears clothes with such shades of color, their government is a lawful good society right? Well since ninjas are quite often dressed in black, the unique shade of color worn by the Azure city ninjas show affiliation with the city. Otherwise anyone that might get their spot check and see these guys would probably try to get them killed by anyone who can fight who's nearby. Honestly what person would actually trust someone in clothes that completely cover their body, the unique shade means they aren't supposed to be the enemy, and using color to show affiliation is extremely common pretty much everywhere. Even the Empire of Blood's "Death Squad" ninjas don't dress in pitch black clothing, they wear shades of color that are unique to them.
    • Also wearing shades of blue and purple mix in really well with the background in Azure city.
    • Aren't purple-clad Azurites inevitably retainers of Daimyo Kubota? In #414, we see Roy fending off a pack of four ninjas each clad in a different color (purple, blue, black, grey).
  • So Elan and Nale are meant to be evil twin counterparts -- Elan's a Bard, while Nale's a fighter/rogue/sorceror hybrid, (basically a less optimized bard). So far so good. Nale's specialises in Enchantment, mind-control spells, which bards can also cast, but don't rely on exclusively. Then I realised -- with a few exceptions (the healing spells he's picked up since leaving the Azure Fleet behind, one use of mending, one use of lesser confusion,) almost all Elan's spells come from the other school bards rely heavily on -- Illusion, and suddenly the "Evil opposites" aspect of Elan & Nale's relationship gets deeper.
    • It goes further than that. Nale's plans require a certain level of brilliance to even conceive of them, but as Elan calls the multiclassing example above, are needlessly complicated. In contrast, Elan's as sharp as a sack of wet mice, but he's also usually correct about the storyline. Nale has high Intelligence and low Wisdom, while Elan has the reverse.
    • On a related note: Zz'dtri's back. But why is is hair short? Well, we all know Nale has deliberately set up his team to be The Psycho Rangers to the Order. So obviously, he had Zz'dtri cut his hair just so that it would be opposite to V's now longer hair. Now that's sticking to a theme!
  • While people have made some good guesses about the Oracle's predictions, a lot can be extrapolated from the most straightforward one: Elan asked if there'd be a happy ending, and the Oracle said yes... for Elan, anyway. Given that Elan is easily the most empathetic character in the Order, this means at least pretty decent endings for Roy and Haley (the two characters he's closest to), and decent enough ones for the rest, at least from his and their perspectives.
    • The very fact that the Oracle deliberately adds a caveat ("for you, anyway.) implies that it will NOT be happy for everyone. My money's on V and Belkar at least having unhappy endings.
      • Actually, his words were "for you AT LEAST". That allows for a scenario where EVERYONE has a happy ending.
        • He also noted that Belkar isn't going to survive for much longer and Durkon will be returning to his beloved homelands "post-mortem" (and we know he will bring destruction to his entire civilization when he does so), so while the wording does not necessarily exclude happy endings all around, it seems unlikely.
  • Exactly why Belkar finds Mrs. Butterworth attractive is confusing, until you realize he probably likes the syrup, and since hating her would mean hating the syrup, his "Proto-Brain" has made her an object of lust.
    • Alternatively, V's theory doesn't work, or Belkar had the hots for Lord Shojo.
    • Wait . . . are you saying you don't find Mrs. B. to be hotness?
  • Z's Parody Retcon actually makes a lot of sense. Yeah, like Drizzt, he's a dark elf who wields twin scimitars and presents himself as a Defector From Decadence, but he's different in several respects. Unlike Drizzt, who is a Ranger and fights with his scimitars, Z is basically a Squishy Wizard (albeit slightly more athletic than V), and only uses his weapons for channeling spells. There's also the fact that Z is a typical dark elf and not a Defector From Decadence. Thus, it couldn't have been too hard to prove he was a parody rather than a plagiarism.
  • Something that elevates Burlew's writing: Strip #545: O-Chul was right, that's EXACTLY how Girard's Gate is guarded... and he managed to slow down Redcloak by telling him the truth. Props to O-Chul for making an educated guess based off no information, and the Burlew who told us 200+ strips in advance and still made it surprising.
    • Um... We still don't know exactly how Girard's Gate is guarded. Sure, we've seen an illusion, but Girard's an illusionist -- illusions were a pretty safe guess.
  • It's probably no coincidence that the people of Azure City have blue hair. Azure City is to some degree a parody of the Far East civilizations found in tabletop games that involve a very cursory knowledge of Japan or China and tend to incorporate whatever the creator thinks is cool. Well, in such circumstances, anime is more than likely one source of knowledge, and a signature/stereotypical anime trope is You Gotta Have Blue Hair.
  • Argent's name becomes meaningful.
  • Elan's seduction of Sabine: remember that she probably sleeps with Nale very often. Elan and Nale are twins. That's probably the reason why he managed to seduce her so easily.
    • Meh... that one's kind of thin. Sabine is a succubus. In her own words, she's an evil incarnation of illicit sex who had sex four times when separated from Nale for a couple hours. She was also turned on by Miko.
      • Not really. Sabine's nature is to seduce, not to be seduced. She has sex with things because she makes them turned on by her, not the other way around. She wasn't "turned on" by Miko, she was trying to turn Miko on to seduce her to the dark side.
  • I read The Order of the Stick, and always thought it was pretty good. I enjoyed the universe's neat little backstory but didn't think too much on it. Then I read Continuity Snarl over here, and reread those strips outlining the history of the OotS universe, at which point I realized Rich Burlew is a genius. -- J Dubya
    • I'm rather embarrassed to admit that I didn't get the Vaarsuvius/Pompey joke until like a month after I read it. -- Japanese Teeth
      • I didn't get it until just now. -- CDL (Unregistered)
  • I was a bit offput by the recent comic where an elven commander shoved a harmless Hobgoblin prisoner off a high tower. Then I remembered a few things: 1. The commander was a Ranger. 2. Goblinoids were probably his favored enemy, and 3. One of a Ranger's bonuses against his favored enemy is Sense Motive. -Some New Guy
    • It only just dawned on me what Belkar's favored enemies must be. Pretty obvious, but just think what race Belkar enjoys killing and corpse-desecrating even more than any other race.-An obviously British or Canadian Troper.
    • I read the above and was thinking a bit. At which time Belkar fought kobolds? Why, yes. He had a kobold counterpart in the Linear-Guild teams. So why would Nale send a kobold against Belkar, if they were his favored enemy? Because they are his favored enemy, which make them somehow his evil counterpart. Then I thought, that Nale is dumb. But them I realized, if Belkar ever lost to a Kobold it would make the victory oh so much more ironic and sweeter! -GJ Physic
      • Doubly so if the kobold who killed him had halflings as his favored enemy
  • It took me way too long to realize what the comic title "Second Chance" referred to. Likewise, I only just realized how Vaarsuvius (and O-Chul) manage to hoist Xykon with his own petard; Xykon points out to V that power can take many forms...including something as simple as a class feature or a fairly low-level spell...
    • When Xykon punished Redclock to not recover his eye I thought it was a bad punishment in it of itself, but the punishment sound a lot worse when you read The Start of Darkness
    • Regarding this famous Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, note Roy's comment about what class his brother might have taken. Maybe that's a reason why he puts up with Cloudcuckoolander Elan.
  • Spoiler heavy: after Miko's death, she asks if she can visit her Paladin mount in the afterlife, since she no longer qualifies for the Lawful Good one. This takes on a whole new meaning when you realise her mount was most likely her only real friend on the world, as everyone else finds her too crazy or insufferable to get along with. Alas, Poor Scrappy indeed.
  • I realized that Elan's father Tarquin and Tarquin's buddy Malack are counterparts to Xykon and Redcloack. In both groups, the first is a goofy Evil Overlord and the second is their Lawful Evil cleric partner who tends to facepalm at their goofiness. This kind of makes me think that Rich expected Tarquin and Malack to get the Draco in Leather Pants treatment and was doing a deliberate Bait the Dog. With Tarquin and Malack, it's like he took Xykon and Redcloak and filled them with likable traits.
  • Xykon's epic speech about how power equals power harkens back to a scene in Start Of Darkness. Namely, the scene where he bludgeons to death master Fyron after losing in a spell duel, indicating that Xykon knows that spells don't win battles, you use the best tool for the job.
  • Tarquin's line about Thog in this comic is a subtle You Bastard to his fans and their tendency to love him no matter how many people he kills. Now, think about who was saying this, what this person has done, and what his own status with the fans is. Tarquin's Genre Savvy is even greater than he realizes.
  • This troper, who has never played D&D, thought the Prismatic Spray spell was pretty cool. I looked it up and learned about its effects. Going back and looking at V's successful attempts at the spell, the color corresponding to the resulting effect manifests in a bigger beam than the other six (so when V petrifies the demon, the blue light is much more prominent). Just a bit of cool detailing Burlew added, and that level of thought is appreciated by this reader.
  • In Start of Darkness, when Redcloak kills Right-eye, the latter calls the former "Redcloak" instead of "Brother". This is not just a rejection of Redcloak being his brother, it's also calling him Xykon's stooge, because Redcloak is what the lich always calls him
  • Today, this troper was reading through her archive of saved strips. In strip 753, when Tarquin visits Roy and Belkar in prison and takes off his helmet, he responds to their reactions with "What? Do I have something on my face?". This seemed like just a standard joke, until she looked at strip 141, where Elan responds to the look Haley and V are giving him with the exact same line. Like father, like son.
  • This line by Girard: "Give a man enough power, and he's bound to abuse it, no matter how noble he thinks he is." The IFCC gave V power, and s/he abused it, likely killing Girard in the process, and definitely killing his entire family line. Damn, Girard, you were right on the money.
    • Girard was long dead before the Familicide was cast, seeing how he got properly buried.
  • Keeping in mind that warlocks in most D&D settings get their powers from contracts with demons, V's anger at being called one in the marketplace suddenly takes on a much more personal tone.
  • All of the Gates (or at least, their defenses) have so far suffered a Death by Irony:
    • Lirian's Gate--so besotted with the power of Nature to guard it, it had no real defences against the unnatural lich Xykon or even a simple forest fire.
    • Dorukan's Gate--guarded with the idea that arcane power was the ultimate defence, which fails when you face an enormously powerful arcane caster who is specifically built to take down other arcane casters; plus, Dorukan clearly valued the intelligence of wizards, and the gate was inadvertently destroyed by Elan who is, simply put, a buffoon.
    • Soon's Gate--Guarded with the idea that the honour of a paladin was unbreakable, and Shojo's decision to not follow the Paladin's code - along with a fallen Paladin - set off the chain of events leading to the gate being destroyed (not to mention that almost all of the other paladins were turned against one another by the Symbol of Insanity).
    • Girard's Gate--the idea here is that you can't trust anyone outside your family, so you need to guard the gate entirely with members of it. Works well until someone lets off a loose cannon spell that obliterates your entire family!
  • When V casts Vaarsuvius' Greater Animal Messenger to contact Belkar and Haley, he shields it from all magical methods of attack, but doesn't shield it from normal arrows. It gets shot and eaten by Belkar and Haley. V is a believer in the Almighty Superiority of Magic, so of course he wouldn't even consider that his spell could be defeated by normal weapons.
  • When Daigo gets knocked out by his family's would-be assailants (multiple times), whereas Kazumi goes Mama Bear / Pregnant Badass on everyone, one might assume it's because Daigo has suffered from Chickification, while Kazumi hasn't. This sudden imbalance in competence makes more sense, however, when you realize Kazumi has revealed her full name... While Daigo hasn't. Not revealing his full name is working like a sort of Power Limiter on Daigo, and he'll remain underpowered compared to his wife until his full name is made clear.

Fridge Horror

  • When Xykon imprisons Dorukan and Lirian in the little black gem in Start Of Darkness, does he still have it on him when Roy throws Xykon's body into the rift?
    • Assuming the blast didn't destroy the gem, freeing them.
      • Blast occurs after Xykon reaches the rift. Ergo, Dorukan and Lirian's souls have been destroyed.
    • Given that the black gem is enchanted by an epic level sorceror, it can really be either safe or destroyed. He did manage to make his phylactery extremely durable.
  • When the Order was being held in the Azure City prison, Belkar mentioned he'd concealed his Ring of Jumping "someplace on [his] body that [he] was reasonably sure no one would search." We all know a few obvious places on the body that a casual search would exclude. Combine that with the size difference between halflings and humans (i.e., a certain body part on a male halfling might correspond in circumference to an average human ring finger) and we can only come to one conclusion: Belkar has a Cockring of Jumping... one he later gave to Roy, presumably without washing it.
    • I assumed he hid it in his anus and crapped it out, hiding it in a more obvious place now that he's past security.
  • Think about all the stupid things Elan has done and how much trouble they have caused. Now look at the explanation for why he is so dumb in this comic. Nale caused Elan to be the way he is.
    • Assume that Elan would have high intelligence like both of his parents had Nale not prevented it. We already know Elan has high charisma. We can assume he also has high wisdom, from his genre savviness and his practical use of it while going against his bardic sensibilities to avert the Rule of Drama. His strength and dexterity, while not as high as his charisma, are probably in the 12-13 range. His constitution can't be too bad on account of his not dying yet. So if not for Nale, Elan would have been an awesome character.
      • He's still an awesome character.
  • Regarding the different afterlives for each different alignment, it's quite sad to think that Haley and Elan will never be able to see Roy and Durkon again after they die, because the former are Chaotic Good and the latter are Lawful Good.
  • In The Order of the Stick, blowing up Dorukan's dungeon was done so the party wouldn't loot and XP farm the population of said dungeon, with Elan doing it out of dramatic necessity. Well, that's fine and all, until you remember 3 things: 1. there were those rebellious goblin teens inside that dungeon. 2. Redcloak declared them all dead. and 3. If you've read Start Of Darkness, you'd know that Xykon gang-pressed a lot of innocent goblins to work for him.
  • The recent arc with the mother black dragon seeking vengeance on Vaarsuvius was inspired by a moment of Fridge Horror that creator Rich Burlew had when he noticed that of all of the races in D&D, dragons are the only ones with character stats for every stage of their lives, including childhood, and therefore the only race whose children the game effectively condoned killing.
    • In D&D 3.5, that is. By the same metric 1st edition condones killing the children of many more species, including ogres, bugbears, giants and other intelligent, humanoid races. It also gives notes on the price certain intelligent species' skins can fetch on the open market, as well as the possibility of kidnapping their young and selling them.
      • 2nd Edition AD&D continued this, especially as fluff for the families monsters have on them. That's right, killing families. Especially disturbing was the casual mention of killing juvenile (read: children) foxwomen, lycanthropes who can only be created by kidnapping human and elven girls and forcibly transforming them.
  • This comic. Sure, the news anchor getting killed and replaced by a member of the death squad is a pretty funny piece of Black Comedy. But remember a few panels earlier, when they show the "Sanguine Street" characters, she mentions "her three-year-old". Yeah...
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