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- Alas, Poor Scrappy: Miko Miyazaki. Even her detractors will say her death was handled very movingly. But it's also entirely possible that her death will make one hate her even more, considering how she died and what it accomplished.
- Alas, Poor Villain
- It's really hard not to pity Tsukiko when Redcloak usurps control over her wights to prove that undead are little more then automatons for necromancers of any stripe. And then said minions ate her. She was a sick, twisted, self-confessed necrophiliac who was obsessed with Xykon because every living person she ever met in her entire life treated her like crap. What puts her solidly in Alas Poor Scrappy territory is that she really and truly loved him, and only died because she discovered concrete proof that Redcloak is manipulating Xykon, and that the MacGuffin they're after won't get Xykon the power he wants. The point really gets hammered home when the only person to mourn is the Monster in the Darkness, who points out that in the end, Tsukiko just wanted to be loved.
Demon-roach: So what? Who cares?
- Yukyuk is abused by The Order of the Stick after Vaarsuvius takes control of him in order to defeat Zz'ditri and is eventually killed by the latter's acid sphere.
- Alternative Character Interpretation
- Miko, the biggest Base Breaker in the entire comic — Knight Templar or Knight in Shining Armor?
- Vaarsuvius — Jerk with a Heart of Gold or Sociopathic Hero?
- Belkar — Chaotic Evil or Chaotic Neutral (Word of the Giant be damned)?
- Girard Draketooth — Chaotic version of a Knight Templar or Properly Paranoid?
- Archive Binge: Over 800+ strips — and the "strips" are actually twice the size of Sunday comics, and sometimes have more than one page.
- Base Breaker: Miko is a... polarizing character to say the least. Fans of the comic generally either love Miko or hate her. They started arguing about her back after being revealed at comic #200, and it's now over five hundred strips later — and she's been dead since #464 — and no end in sight. (The author is not entirely happy about this.) And then there's those who Take a Third Option and love her as a character because they dislike her so much.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Elan distracts an oncoming swarm of angry monsters with, out of absolutely friggin' nowhere, Fruit Pie the Sorcerer's Fruit Pies (a parody of Delicious Fruit Pies).
- Broken Base
- Sadly, like most stories of sufficiently lengthy length, The Order of the Stick has succumbed to this, with fans unsure whether they prefer the series pre-Cerebus Syndrome or post. Fortunately, most seem to be civil about this, but it has resulted in a few engaging in minor acts of Fan Dumb.
- There's another controversy about which fans aren't civil. Miko Miyazaki: The Fettered Lawful Good Knight in Shining Armor, or Lawful Evil Knight Templar Jerkass? Pick one or the other; as Miko herself would be the first to insist in either interpretation, you are not allowed to compromise.
- Canon Fodder: See the Wild Mass Guessing entry. Also, anything involving Miko that isn't Canon already can be this.
- Cargo Ship: Elan×Banjo Puppet, Haley×Sack of Gold and possibly Roy×His Sword.
- Complete Monster
- Xykon is an unusual Evilly Affable case. He enjoys a good joke, and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds because he finds it good fun. And sometimes he stops being funny. Particularly in the prequel Start of Darkness. After reading Xykon's origin story (which features him murdering his family), anyone who thinks that a narcissistic, megalomaniac sadist like Xykon might be redeemable is delusional. Note that while he's Laughably Evil a lot of the time, he and the devastation he causes are treated seriously, so he still fits the trope criteria.
Redcloak: I know he seems funny and charming, but believe me, when you see for yourself the depths to which he'll sink, you will never sleep well again.
- Crack Pairing: Eight. shipping threads and sadly at a halt. Warning: Due to the tendency of forum posters to write fanfics of their absurd pairings, visitors are advised to keep Brain Bleach handy at all times. Especially when viewed alongside the banners.
- It would also seem that Vaarsuvius has become the Village Bike of the fandom.
- Edward Cullen×Harry Potter×Raistlin Majere×Xykon×Tsukiko×Lien×Stanley the Tool×Winston Churchill. Sometimes they get a little psyched up.
- As all good things, some idiot came and overdid it (by posting a pedo/incest story). The crack pairings are no longer going to be made, although the old ones will be remembered.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Xykon. Generally, more than twice. For instance....
- Draco in Leather Pants
- Belkar. Thanks to his "fake character development", some among the Fan Dumb insist he's Chaotic Neutral, despite Word of the Giant. Note that an early strip strongly implies that his constant anger and aggressivness is a consequence of his low Wisdom, being temporary wiser turns him into a non-violent nice guy.
- Redcloak. His dry wit and fairly sympathetic backstory has won him a lot of popularity — though there are those who see him as a Complete Monster with a Misaimed Fandom.
- In-universe, Tsukiko sees Xykon this way.
- Around the time Tarquin burned thirty escaped slaves alive as a present to Elan and some people argued he wasn't evil, and the person morally responsible for this was Haley for freeing them and "forcing" Tarquin to do this, it became apparent that Tarquin has a pair of pants so tight he had been sewn into them. Possibly because he looks like Elan.
- Thog. Being lovably dim doesn't eliminate the fact that he's a brute and a bully who works with the bad guys.
- Epileptic Trees: The Snarl has become the subject of these ever since Blackwing's vision of a world inside its prison.
- Ensemble Darkhorse
- Thog: Kept in the comic because of his unexpected popularity with fans. Which is lampshaded in the comic, naturally.
Tarquin: It's weird, no matter how many people he kills, the audience still thinks he's lovable.
- The Booted Wight; who unfortunately won't be appearing in the comic anymore.
- That Guy with a Halberd: over a year after his appearance, a OotS fan decides to mount a campaign demanding his return.
- Tarquin was being compared favorably to Xykon before his first featured arc was even over. Again, possibly because he looks like an older Elan.
- Flat Character: Team Peregine. Granted, they're supporting cast members and get less focus, but there are plenty of supporting cast characters with more focus than them. Probably a moot point since they're dead now.
- Funny Aneurysm Moment
- This strip's final panel.
- And in-universe, with helpful illustrative Flash Back driving the point home.
- V says it would be great if some of their enemies fought each other for their amusement in a gladiator match. This does happen later on, but in a much more cruel and sad way. Made worse when you consider that, Vaarsuvius being at least a Heroic Schizoid if not a full-blown Sociopathic Hero, V may have actually enjoyed the spectacle; we didn't get to see his/her reaction.
- Freud Was Right
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Miko's Monk 2/Paladin x Two Weapon Fighting build would be absolutely pathetic in an actual game. Miko manages to do pretty well in combat.
- Most of the builds are pretty craptastic.
- Has Two Mommies: A popular fan-theory about Vaarsuvius and his/her mate is that (whatever gender they are) they're a same-sex couple, hence why their kids are adopted.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Here. Belkar is part-Barbarian in later comics.
- Holy Shit Quotient: Strips #823 to #830: The entire most recent arc of Team Evil so far, includes (within seven strips) the recovery of the phylactery by the resistance, the summary total annihilation of the resistance (save one member) and recovery of the phylactery by Team Evil, the outing of Redcloak's plan by Tsukiko and Tsukiko's subsequent (gruesome) death at Redcloak's hands. Holy Shit.
- Internet Backdraft
- For a good time, mention Miko Miyazaki on the forums — or on This Very Wiki. This, despite how she's been dead for two thirds of the run of the comic. Reportedly, the Giant is disgusted.
- Fans also began developing a hatedom for Haley's father Ian for his inaccurate assumptions on the Order of the Stick and his daughter's role in it.
- Jerkass Dissonance: You could argue that Therkla was treated very sympathetically considering her actions. This is obviously meant as an example of Love Redeems, but she didn't exactly know Elan to any depth and on a closer reading it comes across more like "Unrequited Lust Somehow Redeems". She was happy to kill other Azurites or members of the Order unless he asked her not to, out of loyalty for an ambitious and clearly evil aristocrat. Wanting Elan to leave Haley to be with her wasn't a particularly noble motivation; one wonders if her attraction would be seen as more romantic or creepy if the genders were reversed.
- Jerkass Woobie: Vaarsuvius, Yukyuk
- Large Ham
- Vaarsuvius, when doing his/her loud, melodramatic rants about being able to reshape the building blocks of the universe with arcane magic.
- Elan, though being a bard may be part of the reason.
- Evil Is Hammy
- Linear Guild Members Nale, Thog, and Leeky Windstaff
- The Empress of Blood
- Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Vaarsuvius
- Les Yay
- Magnificent Bastard
- Lord Shojo. He Obfuscated Senility so that he could play the nobles off against each other and by-pass the tedious problem of avoiding assassination squads. And he did it so well that not only did he keep the entire city running smoothly for nearly half a century (which is a quite a feat when you've got Templar Paladins mixing with your duplicitous noble gentry), but after he was gone, despite the fact that the ex-inhabitants of Azure City nearly descended into civil war trying to take power for themselves and assign blame, his authority (in the form of his cat) is still unquestioned. He almost achieved Vetinari Job Security... almost. In addition, when he died he chose to stay dead, which pretty much sent the "Haha! Suck it, losers..." message back to the world of the living.
- The Oracle is seen as such by fans.
- The three IFCC fiends, all the way.
- General Tarquin, with he and his confederates ruling three desert empires from the shadows, playing them all against each other (and every group not aligned with their empires) with their patsies none the wiser. He is also extremely Genre Savvy (fittingly, for Elan's father), and thus is perfectly and explicitly aware of the costs and consequences of the role he has chosen to play in "the story" — he simply weighed the pros and cons, and saw that by his definition, he will "win" no matter what happens.
- Specifically, he feels that if an Evil Overlord is overthrown by a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and / or La Résistance in a final epic battle, thats a pretty good and exciting way to go, and doesn't outway the perks of ruling The Empire "like a god" for the twenty or so years prior to the heroes showing up to oust him. From his point of view, its decades of wealth, power and doing whatever the hell he likes in exchange for a a few minutes of violence and death. Plus, as a bonus, he'll go down in infamy as a successful warlord and probably inspire legions of imitators who see him as the benchmark.
- Xykon may be immature and unfocused, but he can be this. The best example is in Start of Darkness, when he manipulates Redcloak into murdering and reanimating his own brother (and thereby removing any hope of the goblins being free from him in the process), all to protect Xykon from an attack he was aware of and immune to anyway, and then delivers what may be the best "The Reason You Suck" Speech in webcomic history to explain that now he has guaranteed that Redcloak will loyally serve him forever, protect his phylactery, and perform any atrocious deed he commands. Because otherwise his sacrifice would be for nothing.
- As of Strip #830, Redcloak solidified himself as this, by revealing that he's been manipulating Xykon for as long as he's been in "service" to him, revealed spectacularly with the following lines.
Redcloak: See, the undead are tools. Powerful, dangerous tools. From the lowliest zombie to Xykon himself, the undead are just complex weapons that we make and aim at other people. All that differs is how direct or subtle our control of them is... for our so-called master, more creative strategies are required.
- Memetic Badass
- "That Guy with a Halberd", as a result of the campaign demanding his return.
- O-Chul. The fandom tends to treat him as the OOTS answer to Chuck Norris. See this thread on the forums for examples.
- To a lesser extent, Tarquin and Julio Scoundrèl. Currently the theory that these three men between them fathered most of the OotS cast is doing the rounds on the forums.
- Kazumi Kato. Just take a look around this wiki.
- Memetic Mutation: "Evil! It's a growth industry!"
- "I am a sexy shoeless god of war!"
- "Who cares how many people I kill? I can just make more in my tummy!"
- Moral Event Horizon
- Disturbingly, the times Xykon crosses it tend to be Moments of Awesome in that they are so evil you can't help but be impressed, especially with which the style he pulls them off, even as you are appalled.
- Miko crosses this when she takes the law into her own hands and kills Lord Shojo. And the gods themselves take notice. By contrast, Start of Darkness' goes out of its way to demonstrate that there was never really a point where Xykon was not balls-out evil.
- Tarquin, while trying to score his tenth wife, proves that Scarpia Ultimatum and Cold-Blooded Torture can go hand-in-hand in one strip. If he isn't already there, he's pretty close. He then gleefully hops over the Horizon and calls it home when deciding how to dispose of the escaped slaves Haley and V freed in #750. Bonus points for thinking it would make an excellent present for his son Elan. Even Elan can't miss that particular crossing. And if that didn't cross it, offhandedly ordering two best friends to be killed because they refused to fight each other to the death surely did.
- Nale arguably crosses this when he murders 421 innocent people in Cliffport simply so he can succeed in his plans.
- Pfft, he crossed it way back in the first story arc when he stabbed his brother Elan through the back (literally).
- While under the effects of the soul-splice, Vaarsuvius brutally dispatches an Ancient Black Dragon threatening his/her family. Then s/he reanimates her head and, in order to protect his/her family, casts Familicide - an epic level spell that wipes out the targets entire family line. Vaarsuvius offhandedly mentions that s/he probably killed 1/4 of the black dragon population as a result. This is considered an extremely questionable act, despite the fact that black dragons are Always Chaotic Evil. This moral quandary is definitively answered here.
- The end of Start of Darkness for Redcloak. Engineered by Xykon, who hapilly explains that he can now trust Redcloak to do any despicable action Xykon asks of Redcloak because otherwise he'd have to face that he crossed the horizon for nothing.
Xykon: You'll obey me forever now, because I give you an excuse for your inexcusable behavior.
- Nightmare Fuel
- In-Universe, the infamous ELAN scene.
- The Snarl unmade a world and killed the gods in the first twenty-seven minutes of its life. If it kills you, that's it — you can't even get resurrected. It exists to kill. And it's right below the feet of everyone on the planet, three of its seals are broken with almost no way to fix them, and there is a very good chance that it will get released and destroy everything if the heroes lose — as in, it's practically guaranteed.
- The Implosion strip was enough for several GITP forum-goers to question the PG-13 rating of the comic.
- Tsukiko is a cute girl, loving dead people that she sees as her children... But that couldn't last. When she says to Redcloak that she's going to reveal his big secret, Redcloak turns her undead creatures against her (the effect we saw him use when entering his room that looked like he was preparing his spells? Command Undead). He then orders said creatures to drain her (levels and Hit Points) to death, and to devour her corpse, which they do (offpanel thankfully, but it's quite unsettling). What we do see is pretty creepy in its own right: Redcloak calmly watching, as Tsukiko begs for her wights to let her go, saying she loves them and finally showing she at least realizes (if not understand) that they didn't love her back.
crunch. crunch crunch crunch~~
- The last panel of page 841. And it gets worse. The last panel of page 842 reveals that Vaarsuvius killed them via Familicide.
- Painful Rhyme: Elan gets one in the strip incidentally titled "You Try Rhyming 'Assassin'".
"You should follow me out onto the grass'n
- Rewatch Bonus: See that baby wearing orange, in the last panel on the second last row? He'll come up again.
- Ron the Death Eater
- Directed at Lord Shojo. Some of Miko's more die-hard fans claimed that executing him could be justified at first. The comic went on to show that no, it could not, and this went away rather quickly.
- Although Recloak is Lawful Evil, and a villain, there are those who are willing to treat him as a Complete Monster while ignoring his good intentions or moments of remorse.
- The Scrappy
- Miko, intentionally.
- Celia to many, especially after certain Too Dumb to Live moments.
- Tsukiko. Lampshaded somewhat when Redcloak gets tired of her attitude towards him and kills her, and almost no-one in Team Evil cares.
- Girard Draketooth has started to become the scrappy by some fans even before the order has officially met him. Granted, all the flashbacks and visions of him so far have shown him as a douche.
- Shipping: Played with on the forums. The "Crack pairings" threads are among the most popular.
- Tsukiko's "tastes" (i.e. Necrophilia) tend to inspire that. Even to Xykon, who isn't "one of those disgusting biophiliacs".
- "If I ever see you with more eyes than assholes, I'm going to shove one into the other and then give your cloak to that hobgoblin."
- Tarquin's banquet serves phoenix pâté. Since phoenixes explode when they die, the liver has to be cut out while the bird is alive.
- As revenge for Yukyuk hurting Mr Scruffy (and to continue with his theme of utilizing kobolds' heads for various purposes), Belkar has Mr Scruffy use Yukyuk's mouth as a litterbox. Bonus points for mentioning that "dairy just is NOT good for a cat's digestion".
- Stoic Woobie
- Redcloak, so, so much.
- Too Cool to Live: Lord Shojo. Even Belkar likes him.
- Ubermensch: Tarquin and Redcloak; both seek to make the world better, and both reject conventional morality.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Averted with Elan. Rich Burlew knew that his comic was going well when Nale stabbed him and the fanbase was upset about it.
- Unpopular Popular Character: Despite being a fan favorite, Belkar is disliked by pretty much everyone else in the strip. The fact that he's a Heroic Comedic Sociopath explains both reactions.
- The Untwist
- The usual Wild Mass Guessers wanted the white-haired guy who's locked up in Bloodstone Correctional Facility to be Ian Starshine. For once, they were right.
- Similarly, while it was considered to be a much more out-there guess, V's Familicide did turn out to be the reason for the death of the entire Draketooth clan.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Political?
- In the Empire of Blood arc, Roy and Belkar got imprisoned for life for not having entrance papers. Apparently illegal immigration is Serious Business in a Lawful Evil nation....
- There's a lot of this involving Redcloak; for example, when deciding to continue the war against Azure City, he summons a red elephant. Word of the Giant states that all political commentary in the comic is unintentional.