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The Order of the Stick provides examples of the following tropes:
- Jacob Marley Apparel: Parodied with the Ghost of Lame Monsters Past.
- Jock Dad Nerd Son: Inverted with Roy Greenhilt and his father, Eugene. Roy chose a career as a fighter class as opposed to a wizard like his father, which are seen as a jock and nerd class at least in universe. Played straight with Eugene and his father, Horace, who had inspired Roy's career path. Interestingly, Roy was apparently a nerd compared to other fighters.
Roy: Well I hate to break it to you dad, but this isn't the end of the line. More like half-time.
Eugene: What? How can you halve time itself?
Roy: *Sigh* I should have known a sports metaphor would be wasted on you.
- John Munch: Middle of the page.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: V's epic Uber-spell to destroy all kin of the black dragon mother.
- Just Between You and Me: Redcloak to Tsukiko. In a minor subversion, he says it before he springs his trap. And in a further subversion, he actually does make sure she never reveals it to anyone.
- Just Eat Him
- Just Hit Him: The raging Thog's main tactic in his gladiatoral fight with Roy. Sure, being thrown into walls was damaging, but it also gave Roy enough breathing time to put together a strategy, and even put him in the perfect position to enable it when Thog threw him into the spectator rows.
- Kansas City Shuffle
- Xykon's strategy to enter Azure City, but luckily Haley is savvy enough to see it.
- Also, How Redcloak plans to trick Xykon by giving the lich a copy of his phylactery while keeping the real one for himself.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Azure City is the Stick-verse's Wutai, so katanas are favored by many of the soldiers and members of the Sapphire Guard. Belkar and Nale have both subverted this trope, fighting with katanas they stole from Azurites, but switching to their preferred weapons at the first opportunity.
Hobgoblin: (kills the guard Nale just disarmed) Hey thanks! I guess I'm lucky you really needed a katana!
Nale: I prefer longswords, actually. (kills the hobgoblin and takes his sword)
- Kick the Dog
- Invoked posthumously in regard to Crystal. Elan says he's not mad at Haley for it, as long as she's sure Crystal was "really, REALLY bad." Haley responds that she once saw Crystal headbutt an elderly gnome woman into a coma, which makes Elan feel better about it.
- Elves are mean.
- Yukyuk in "Animal Instincts".
- "A Touch of Death" Wow. Really, Nale?
- Kick the Son of a Bitch
- V's murder of Kubota certainly showed just how much more of an Anti-Hero V had become, but if there was any antagonist that deserved to be unceremoniously disintegrated and scattered to the winds, it was him.
- Similarly, Haley's murder of Crystal is commonly seen as this, though a few still found it a bit unsettling. At least until you buy the fourth book, then read the scenes where Crystal tries to kill Haley several times while they're retrieving Roy's body.
- Also Miko pursuing Belkar, especially if you consider what Belkar's conduct looks like from inside the comic's world.
- Redcloak killing Tsukiko is thoroughly cold, callous and brutal and serves as a defining character moment for the former as a villain... and yet, given the latter is a villain with a skewed perception of morality, and an idiot for threatening to ruin Redcloak's plans, she really had it coming.
- Kid with the Leash: Roy and Belkar, especially when Roy has the command word for Belkar's mark of justice. After Roy dies, the leash passes to Haley. She isn't as good at keeping him under control.
- Killed Mid-Sentence
- When Belkar kills the Chimera at the very beginning.
Trigak: You may have won this round, Order of the Stick, but we swear our revenge on you! When you least expect--! GAK! GAK! GAK!
- Xykon does this to a group of mercenary ogres who are complaining about not being paid very early in the comic's run, (and then he zombifies their corpses so he can still get some use out of them), perhaps giving the first hint that he's not a harmless cliché storm of a villain, despite appearances.
- This is also how Roy Greenhilt dies, mid-pondering in freefall.
- And in Cliffport, "I'm getting too old for--"
- Haley gets petrified mid-sentence by Zz'dtri.
- Killed Off for Real
- Lord Shojo, Therkla and Miko. The first two have reasons to deny resurrection, and as for the third, she was given a very final-looking death scene, and the only person who seemed interested in her corpse (to make an intelligent undead, not resurrect her) passed up on the chance because it was an incomplete body. (Also, Word of the Giant.)
- It appears we can now add Thanh and Tsukiko to this list as well.
- He's not actually dead yet, but according to the Oracle, Belkar has a place on this list.
- Kill It with Fire
- Belkar's mantra.
- Vaarsuvius is fond of it too through is spells.
Vaarsuvius: Burn, you insufferably terse dullard.
- Kind Restraints: Roy has to bound and gag Durkon in the Wooden Forest so that he'd stop freaking out about trees and risk alerting the bandits.
Durkon: (gagged) Mmph mrph mmmph mmf mrf mrrrph mrph!
Roy: I'm going to choose to attribute that comment to stress and not hold it against you in the future.
- Kissing Under the Influence: Belkar to V. Not that s/he's about to say anything to him.
- Kiss of Death: Succubi (such as Sabine) can energy-drain someone by kissing them. Sabine does that to Elan in "Critical Thinking".
- Klingon Promotion
- Parodied: Therkla gets to be the valedictorian of her ninja class by killing the original.
- Also how Redcloak became supreme leader of the hobgoblins, by killing the one he assumes is their leader. The real leader wisely keeps his mouth shut and lets Red take over.
- Knights and Knaves: The Test of the Mind in the Sunken Valley. Solved in a non-traditional manner.
- La Résistance: No longer exists, thanks to Redcloak and a bunch of his summoned minions.
- Lamarck Was Right
- Tarquin and Elan have the Genre Savvy gene in common.
Vaarsuvius: Heredity is a cruel mistress.
- Also, Nale got the convoluted planning ideas and general "smarts" from their mother.
- Ian seems to believe family members have everything in common, and refuses to admit that the son of Tarquin could be not as evil as his father.
- Lampshaded the Obscure Reference
Chief: Man, that brought back memories.
Rookie: I don't get it.
Chief: Before your time, kid. Before your time.
- Lampshade Hanging: The comic practically runs on this trope. (At one point we even see an actual lampshade during a lampshade hanging).
- Laser-Guided Amnesia
- The memory charm around the Oracle that makes you forget everything about your visit except your questions and their answers as soon as you leave.
- The same thing is going for the afterlife. Roy can remember the time spent on the clouds with his father and the scrying they've done, but past the big gate his memories are fuzzy, though he remembers some bits.
- Laser-Guided Karma
- Redcloak's right eye. You can tell that he's actually screaming at the irony, as opposed to the pain from the stabbing of his eye.
- Also, Elan and Nale's first fight.
Elan: Nale! There's nowhere to go. Surrender!
Nale: Surrender? Never, you moronic little twit. I'd rather die than--
(bridge crumbles underneath his feet, leaving him dangling by one hand)
Nale: Help me, brother!
- Vaarsuvius was already feeling guilty about using fiend-granted powers to wipe out every creature related to a black dragon, but even so he/she probably wasn't expecting it to bite them in the ass like in "All in the Family".
- Last-Second Word Swap
Haley: Elan... I think I'm in love with y--
Durkon: Cure Critical Wounds!
Tarquin: ... she had the most magnificent set of perky round--
Haley: Eyes. Let's both pretend you were about to say, "eyes".
- Laughably Evil: Many villains (and one protagonist): Burlew is very good at writing characters who are both likeable (funny, awesome, etc.) and yet definitely villainous and unsympathetic. Examples include:
- Xykon. All over the place.
- Belkar. And he knows it.
Belkar: I'm comedy gold! I'm the only funny thing left in this damn comic strip!
- General Tarquin, in his geekier moments.
- Laughing Mad: "Patient seems to also be suffering from uncontrollable hideous laughter."
- Laugh with Me: Inverted. When Xykon proclaims that his goals will be achieved soon, Redcoak and the MitD let out an Evil Laugh. Redcloak then asks why Xykon doesn't join them.
Xykon: Actually, ever since I became a lich, I haven't been able to get the same volume in my evil laughter. Since I technically don't have lungs.
- Lawful Stupid: Frequently subverted (especially with Good Is Not Nice) and often lampshaded.
- Paladins are noted to have this reputation, but actually rarely show it... with one unfortunate exception. In general, Lawful Stupid, Stupid Good, Chaotic Stupid and Stupid Evil are all demonstrated by one character or another at different times. (Miko Miyazaki arguably demonstrates all four, sometimes all in the same comic.)
- Roy does a good job of differentiating between himself (Lawful Good) and Miko (Lawful Stupid) in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
Roy: You're not Good, at least not any definition of Good that I would want to follow. You follow the letter of the alignment description while ignoring its intent. Sure, you fight Evil, but when was the last time you showed a "concern for the dignity of sentient beings"? You're just a mean, socially inept bully who hides behind a badge and her holier-than-thou morality as excuses to treat other people like crap.
Haley: A ruse that relies on the target's innate acceptance on the rules presented to him? Against a league of paladins? Easy money.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Less common than Breaking the Fourth Wall moments, but in one strip, Tarquin comments about Thog "It's weird, no matter how many people he kills, the audience still thinks he's lovable". Meaning the audience in the arena, not the readers, obviously.
- Leave No Witnesses: When Redcloak wipes out the Resistance and gets Xykon's phylactery back, he only uses summoned monsters (who he then dismisses) and lets the only other goblin involved stay dead.
Redcloak: The exact details here need to stay between me and our god. I just thank the Dark One that I didn't need to execute you myself.
- Leet Lingo: Elan writing "!!1!" in the sand.
- Left for Dead: Durkon was, accidentally, in an early strip.
- Left Justified Fantasy Map: A map of Azure City and its surroundings appears in the back of War and XPs with a sea along the left edge. However, the western continent should appear on the other side of the sea.
- Lethal Joke Item: The bag of tricks, which summons random animals. Roy eventually finds creative uses for it, like making distracting kitties. It also has a compact rhino on it, but it kinda backfired.
- Lethal Joke Spell
- Lens Flare: Used in strip #430 for dramatic effect.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again
- While being interviewed for the Lawful Good afterlife, Roy Greenhilt stops the bureaucratic deva interviewing him before she can mention the Gender Bender incident within earshot of his father, who is standing not ten feet away.
- During Azure City's New Year, Belkar gets drunk and kisses Vaarsuvius full on the lips. Afterwards, Belkar forgets it entirely and Vaarsuvius insists that, if the one witness to the kiss (Durkon) ever has to discuss it again, it will be referred to it as "the Event". And they never talk about it again.
- As seen in "A Dish Best Served Warm, After All", Vaarsuvius has this attitude regarding further recounting of his adventures in the Plane of Ranch Dressing.
- Lightning Can Do Anything
- Like Brother and Sister: Roy & Haley
- Lipstick Lesbian: The "latent bisexuality" aspect of Haley's mind is among the more "girly" of the aspects.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards
- In true 3.5 fashion, Durkon and Vaarsuvius are the most powerful members of the party.
- Lampshaded and referenced here. That example might count as Hypocritical Humor though, as while Durkon and Vaarsuvius are agreeing with Malack's comments on the superiority of spellcasters, Malack is failing a spot check during that entire time.
- As revealed in On the Origin of PCs, Roy took up the quest of destroying Xykon to prove this trope wrong.
- Line-of-Sight Name
- The Order itself, as revealed in On the Origin of PCs.
- Also, Redcloak and his brother Right-Eye, as revealed in Start of Darkness.
- Literal Genie: Subverted. Roy, wary of this happening, words his question to the Oracle in such a way that it works against him. His concern made sense, as this trope was played straight the first time he visited the oracle (offscreen):
Roy: Where's Xykon?
Oracle: In his throne room.
- Literal Metaphor: A fairly common gag.
Sabine: It's hard, but sometimes, I need to make a sacrifice in order to maintain our love.
Roy: Like dressing up for him?
Sabine: No, I meant a literal sacrifice. I have a desecrated altar waiting for your corpse in the next room.
Roy: Hu... I always thought the "revolving door afterlife" was just a metaphor...
- And "Final Review":
Bureaucratic Deva: Mr. Greenhilt, we do things "by the book" around here -- and it just so happens that the book in question is 100 feet tall and alight with holy fire --
Nale: Oh really? Why don't you chase after him, then?
Sabine: Nale, you know I love you. I didn't--
Nale: No, I mean literally. Go chase after him. He's escaping.
- Living Crashpad
- Load-Bearing Boss: Subverted. Xykon's destruction did nothing to the Dungeon of Dorukan, but then Elan activated a self-destruct sigil so they could have a dramatic escape.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The character sheets aren't exhaustive, not by a long shot. A constantly-updated list can be found in the forums.
- Loin Cloth: Standard issue for gladiator convicts in the Empire of Blood -- even for lizardfolk, although they don't need them.
Belkar: Also, everyone here could use a little less loin and a lot more cloth.
- Long Speech Tea Time: The whole party, during the scribble-art backstory.
- Look Behind You!: In "Good to the Last Drip", Vaarsuvius is so busy attempting to Disintegrate Qarr that only the small imp notices an ancient black dragon with a personal vendetta approaching from behind.
- Loud of War: At one point, Thog suggests using a rather well-known Canadian singer as a torture device, but Nale thinks that particular choice is uncivilized.
- Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: In Start of Darkness, the rematch between Lirian and just-turned-lich Xykon is basically Lirian using all the wrong spells and abilities so Xykon can explain why none of them work anymore. Admittedly, it isn't out of character for Xykon to taunt his opponent by pointing out why his opponent can't beat him, even if that essentially means giving tips on how he or she could.
- Luke Nounverber: The Greenhilt family doesn't count since it's actually named from the ancestral sword, but we have plenty others: Haley & Ian Starshine; Belkar Bitterleaf; Durkon Thundershield; Hilgya Firehelm; Leeky Windstaff; Girard Draketooth; Fyron Pucebuckle; Miron Shewdanker; Hieronymus Grubwiggler; Reegon Mithrilspear; Hiran Sinkeye; Clang Killitchy; Deergar Bluehawk; Firuk Blackore; Darren Leafsword...
- Luke, You Are My Father: The opportunity is used to spoof a well-known blood relation reveal.
Tarquin: Elan... I am your father!
(Tarquin removes his helmet)
Tarquin: Oh MAN! I've always wanted to say that line!
Elan: That was... that was a PERFECT delivery!
Tarquin: I know, right? Wasn't it awesome? I've been waiting, like, FOREVER for that.
Elan: Growing up without a father was totally worth it just for that reveal.
Vaarsuvius: Heredity is a cruel mistress.