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The Order of the Stick provides examples of the following tropes:
- Vancian Magic: Magic in the world of OotS, naturally, follows official D&D rules... though how consistent these are is a matter of opinion. Indeed, even this is lampshaded with occasional references to "third-party supplements" and "non-core spells".
Leeky Windstaff: Truly, more wizards have been laid low by the writings of Jack Vance than by any single villain.
- Villain Pedigree: From goblins to hobgoblins as Xykon's primary Mooks.
- Villains Out Shopping: Xykon's caught doing this multiple times. And inverted when the villains dwell on what a terrible responsibility the heroes are under -- cut to them playing Parcheesi.
- Virgin Sacrifice: Provides the page image. When the Banjo-worshiping orc tribe prepares to sacrifice Lien, she tells them that if they're looking to make a virgin sacrifice, they'd have to travel back in time to before her Junior Prom.
Shaman Vurkle: no, banjo like girl with some experience.
Chief Grukgruk: better if been around block few times.
Lien: Damn it, how does my mother keep being right about this stuff?
- Visible Silence: Plenty often, like in "It's Not a Gaming Session Until Someone Quotes Monty Python" or "O-Chul's Razor".
Nale: And finally, our team wizard, Zz'dtri.
Nale: He doesn't speak much.
- Visual Pun: In the OotS universe, Fox News Channel is an actual fox.
- Vitriolic Best Buds
- Roy & Elan
- Roy & Julia are Vitriolic Siblings.
- V & Belkar, as seen for example in "Free Experience".
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot
- Roy getting airsick while Xykon's dragon steed is doing "evasive maneuvers".
- Belkar gets a good few dozen of these after breaking the terms of his Mark of Justice.
- Vomiting Cop: The rookie cop in Cliffport.
- Wall of Text: Compare the first comics to the later ones. Also gets lampshaded and driven to extremes.
- Wanted Poster
- Haley has one of these as a resume, as seen in the prequel book.
- "Nale" -- WANTED FOR MURDER, CONSPIRACY, TREASON by Empress of Blood
- The Watson
- All of Redcloak's disposable hobgoblin assistants.
- The Monster in the Darkness, quite frequently, although he doesn't understand much of the explanations.
- Qarr for the IFCC.
- We ARE Struggling Together!: Played straight. After the hobgoblins under Xykon overrun Azure City, three resistance groups spring up. Haley leads one, but isn't working with the others, because, as she explains:
Haley: One group believes it was the evil influence of the Order of the Stick that corrupted their righteous leader, Hinjo, and led to his ruin in battle. The other group thinks that Hinjo orchestrated Shojo's assassination personally, and that anyone who worked too closely with him can't be trusted. Neither group is therefore at all keen on the idea of working with me. We've spent more time fighting them over supplies than we have battling hobgoblins.
"Hors d'oeuvre": Can I be your familiar?
"Hors d'oeuvre": C'mon, it will be fun. You'll be Mysterious Cloaked Avenger, and I can be your wisecracking sidekick.
- We Have Forgotten the Phlebotinum: In "Because They Got Lonely in the Bag", Elan sends his and Roy's magic items to be cleaned.
- We Have Reserves: Redcloak feels this way about his hobgoblin army, up until he realizes My God, What Have I Done?.
- Weird Moon: "Monkey Do" has an impossible crescent moon.[The Giant WENT TO ART SCHOOL, OK?]
- Weird Sun: In "Dropping the Ball", the sun appears bigger as we zoom in on the Linear Guild. That's impossible for a celestial object.
- Weird Trade Union: The Slavedriver Union Local 934, apparently in the middle of a labor dispute over the construction of the Empress of Blood's lavish palace.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist
- Redcloak would have been one, except that his intentions aren't as noble as he convinces himself, as well.
- His god, the Dark One, certainly is.
- General Tarquin claims that the reason he's trying to rule all of the Western continent via three empires and puppet rulers is to end to the chronic warfare that plagues the region. He may be lying though.
Tarquin: What I'm trying to do is move beyond those ideas (of "good" and "evil"]) into a world where no one has any reason to fight one another. But you can't make an omelet without ruthlessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your steel boot and then publicly disembowling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others.
- Went to the Great X In the Sky: In "A Blissful Marriage", the wife of a dirt farmer, when reunited with him, states that she was afraid that he had went to the "Great Dirt Pile in the Sky".
- Wham! Episode
- "Shatter": You! Broke! My! Sword!
- "Truth": Haley finally manages to say it.
- "A Moment of Truth"
- "The First Step Is a Doozy": Roy's death
- "You're It": Belkar decides who he is.
- "Every Parent's Worst Nightmare"
- "A Familiar Conclusion"
- "Spins of the Father"
- #825-#826-#827:The fall of La Résistance.
- "Tidying Up": Team Evil gets a little smaller
- "All In The Family": Vaarsuvius begins to understand the consequences of his actions.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: In this strip, Elan celebrates when the Allosaurus eats the anonymous soldiers instead of two Jerkass bounty hunters. "Hooray! The people whose names I know are saved!"
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?
- What the Hell, Hero?
- When All You Have Is a Hammer
- The wizard Vaarsuvius initially prefers arcane magic as the ultimate solution to everything -- redundant subplots, villains seeking to escape justice, giant devils from hell, or relationship problems. Vaarsuvius also originally has a blaster mentality -- despite the wide range of spells available to wizards, V's preferred solution to anything is a proportionally sized explosion. V later briefly tries to remedy his/her attitude by limiting him/herself to support spells, but all bets are out the window once Elan gets involved. V is getting better about this, though; for example, in a recent thread where a rival caster had tailored his build to defeat Vaarsuvius, V eventually realized that brute force was not going to work in this case. V got around it by using a Dominate spell on the rival's archer ally. Thanks for the advice, Xykon!
- Xykon is another interesting example, since he makes a huge point of this trope. Sorcerers like him are born with arcane power, as opposed to wizards, who, by his own words, have to study and crib it off of "Magic for Dummies". Mechanically, sorcerers have more spell slots and thus more blasting power but with a far more limited and static spell selection. Also, the best wizards tend to be brilliant thinkers and tacticians, while Xykon's most complicated strategies involve randomly blasting things until they die (though he sure loves to dish out the psychological manipulation. With a huge grudge towards wizards for looking down on him, Xykon makes a point of proving that he's so ridiculously powerful that he doesn't need strategy. According to him, all a caster needs is "force in as great a concentration as you can manage, and style. And in a pinch, style can slide", because there's a level of raw power no amount of tactics can overcome.
- Elan, when all he can create as illusions are girls or puppies. Though he runs once into a situation where girls work quite well. Interestingly, in that situation puppies would probably have worked just as well.
- Not surprisingly at all, it is also the case with Thor, for whom Lightning Can Do Anything.
- White Sheep: The teenage goblins in Dorukan's dungeon.
- Who's on First?
Xykon: So, any ideas on how we should fight 'Stache boy, whoever he is?
Xykon: I'd prefer to know now, thanks.
Redcloak: No. I mean, that's his name.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?
- Durkon's fear of trees.
- While O-Chul says the line, he isn't actually afraid of sharks despite his captors repeatedly trying to feed him to them for their personal entertainment. Justified as he is a paladin, and therefore his class features render him immune to fear.
- Why Won't You Die?: Xykon in the Azure throne room.
Xykon: Why won't you DIE AGAIN, you stupid friggin' ghost-things?!?
- Winged Humanoids: Celia, Sabine, Enor, and a few miscellaneous Celestials from time to time.
- With Due Respect
Daigo: Sir, I know it isn't really my place to say, but...
- The Bureaucratic Deva to Eugene in "Their Concierge Service is Heavenly".
Bureaucratic Deva: With all due respect, sir, we have a system for deciding such things -- One presided over by ACTUAL beings of pure Law and Good!
- With Friends Like These...: Most of the characters to some extent, but Roy and Elan have a one-sided version of this going on.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Referenced in "Mean Girl" while Haley is speculating all-too-wildly about why Roy is currently a girl (it's really just in disguise, albeit with a Belt of Gender-Changing).
Roy: You know, technically, it's now OK for me to hit a girl.
- World Limited to the Plot: The comic lived by this trope until the foreshadowing at the end of book one. (Strip #120 in the online version.) Only then, when the dungeon in which the entire plot has taken place is destroyed, do the plot and the dungeon turn out to have some relevance outside of itself. Of course, one can argue that it starts falling apart already when the heroes encounter the Linear Guild, or even when Roy's father is introduced.
Later heavily deconstructed when it turns out that characters who aren't relevant enough to the plot to be named actually don't even have names... at least not until they become relevant to the plot.
- World of Cardboard Speech: Recloak delivers a particularly memorable one to Tsukiko.
- World of Snark
- A Worldwide Punomenon: The first two sets of incentive comics.
- Worst Whatever Ever:
Roy: Ugh, if that's it, that is the most lame-ass prophecy in the long history of lame-ass prophecies.
Girard: Geez, you've got to be the dumbest villain EVER.
- Worthy Opponent: Tarquin is very impressed by Roy's strategy and combat skills, and looks forward to fighting him. One of the reasons he joins the Linear Guild.
- Would Be Rude to Say Genocide: Haerta Bloodsoak's cute little Epic-level Necromantic spell called "Familicide" is this. To the max. It... does what it says on the tin and can really bite you in the ass later, right V?
- Wrecked Weapon:
Roy: YOU BROKE MY SWORD!
Haley: You bitch! That was a +3 bow!
- Wretched Hive: Greysky City
- Wutai: Azure City. Characters from the Southern Lands have Far-East Asian skin coloring and names from various Asian countries. "Lien" is a Chinese name. "Miko Miyazaki", "Shojo", and "Hinjo" are Japanese. "Soon Kim" is Korean, and "Thanh" is Vietnamese.
- Xanatos Gambit
- Also the Dark One's, which has been pretty successful so far. If Redcloak succeeds in taking control of the Snarl, the Dark One can use this to blackmail the other gods into giving goblins a better place in the world. If the Snarl unmakes the world, the Dark One will have a hand in making the new world, where goblins will have a better place from the start. And even if the Order of the Stick stops Redcloak, Gobbotopia is doing pretty well.
- Nale pulled off one in Cliffport. If the Order tried to rescue Julia and failed, then he would be in a position to kill them all. If they did rescue Julia, then he still would have captured Elan and been able to take his revenge on him. But, because the Order managed to rescue Julia and also realized that Nale had been trying to kidnap Elan in the confusion, they run off to rescue their teammate and give Nale the chance to switch places with Elan and attack the Order from the inside.
- Tarquin has his adventuring buddies serve as advisors to rulers of three kingdoms. they stage invasions, revolutions, and liberations in order to unite the western continent under three super powers. And he knows that eventually, Elan's going to fight him and he will be defeated, and as long as he can accept that, he wins and he'll be part of a great story and his name will be immortalized. "If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend."
- Xanatos Speed Chess: As shown in "The Cost of Freedom", Tarquin is also a master of this.
- X Called. They Want Their Y Back.: "Gordium called -- they have a knot that you may want to take a look at."
- The X of Y: The Order of the Stick
- X on a Stick: Not that frequent, considering the title of the comic...
- X-Ray Sparks: The Disintegrate spell.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: There's a reason Big Bad Xykon is called, well, Xykon. He even goes as far as to make sure people use the right spelling when they speak to him (though how he can tell they're spelling it wrong is anyone's guess).
- Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: In the comic, lightning is generally white or yellow -- with the exception of Zz'dtri, who is throwing green bolts. Interesting in that every spell caster has their own unique color for spells (two colors for Mystic Theurge Tsukiko), but only Zz'dtri has it affect lightning color.
- Yes but What Does Zataproximetacine DO
- You Bastard: "It's weird, no matter how many people he kills, the audience still thinks he's lovable."
- You Called Me "X" - It Must Be Serious:
- You Can See Me?: Roy to the Oracle.
- You Can't Make an Omelette
- From Tarquin here: "You can't make an omelette without ruthlessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your steel boot and then publicly disemboweling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others."
- You also can't make an omelette without permanently deafening someone.
- You Don't Want to Catch This: The vaporizing flu.
- You Fight Like a Cow: Elan's "Dashing Swordsman" Prestige Class actually draws power from the swordsman's quips and catch phrases. Apparently, Monkey Island-style comebacks are an effective counter.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair
- The Azurites can have many hues of blue (and some shades of green or purple) as hair color.
- As for elves, about any coloration is possible.
- You Kill It, You Bought It
- Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: The Mind Flayer doesn't want to eat Elan's brain. Later, we get to see him picture each of the Order as a meal and tick them off one by one. Durkon = rice (filling but bland), Haley = a sundae (too sweet), Belkar = a taco (he'd get heartburn), Elan = Diet Coke (next!), Vaarsuvius = a hamburger (getting somewhere) and Roy = a turkey (perfect!). Vaarsuvius is visibly upset by this.
- Your Mind Makes It Real
- Played fairly straight when Elan asks this line: "Didn't we leave our horses behind at the inn we blew up when Miko captured us?"
- Also why Blackwing was absent for most of the comic. In both cases a reference to D&D players only remembering their mounts and familiars when they need them.
- Your Other Left
- Redcloak encounters this problem with the MitD in Start of Darkness.
Redcloak: Hey! You in the box! Lean all your weight to the left!
MitD: You got it! ... OK, so when you say "left," you mean--
Redcloak: I mean not this side, you idiot!
MitD: You got it!
- And again, with a demonic squid he'd conjured.
Redcloak: No, to the left! THE LEFT, you stupid invertebrate! Grapple her from the-- Goddamn it!
- You Shall Not Pass: Lampshaded by Elan and subverted by Daigo and Kazumi.
- Zerg Rush: This is what happens to Azure City, utterly and totally Zerg Rushed by Xykon and Redcloak's army of 30,000 hobgoblin Mooks, plus a number of other creatures including various undead, titanium and chlorine elementals (Redcloak's knowledge of chemistry is not to be underestimated), and three decoy Xykons (a Huecuva, a Death Knight, and an "Eye of Fear and Flame"). That particular Zerg Rush was made possible by two things: first, Redcloak's Titanium Elementals ripping a gigantic hole in Azure City's walls, and second, a Death Knight of a far higher CR than any of the soldiers at the breach -- including Vaarsuvius -- could realistically handle. When Redcloak makes decoys, he plays for keeps.
Ghast: Sir, we finally have enough corpses to serve as a ramp for your horse.
Death Knight: THEN LET THE REAPING BEGIN!!
- Zig-Zagging Trope: Seriously, how many different ways can one play with Always Chaotic Evil?!
- Zombie Mooks: Employed by Xykon and Tsukiko.