8-Bit Theater

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"That is not how we do things around here, buddy. First we have to argue incessantly over semantics. Then one of us has to hurt one or all of us."
"That's it, I've had enough. This whole goddamn adventure has been nothing but pointless build ups toward pay offs that never happen."

8-Bit Theater is a Sprite Comic by Brian Clevinger that ran from 2001 through 2010. Its plot, an Affectionate Parody of the original Final Fantasy, follows the four Light Warriors (who really aren't the best for the job): Fighter McWarrior, an astoundingly stupid sword-obsessed warrior with rare good ideas; Black Mage Evilwizardington, an Ax Crazy sociopath who is only saved from being a Complete Monster by the Rule of Funny and a tendency to get hurt; Thief, a fugitive prince of elf clan Khee'bler armed with extreme greed and an expertise in manipulative contracts; and Red Mage Statscowski, a strategist who considers life to be a tabletop game, is obsessed with his stats, and also was tricked into liking cross dressing.

Humor comes mostly from the violent nature of the protagonists, the absurd situations they find themselves in, and screwing around with videogame tropes (mainly RPG tropes, but others do come into play). It is one of the original Sprite Comics, having started the year after Bob and George and long since outstripping in terms of popularity (at least partly because the latter comic ended in 2007).

It defined the dysfunctional party dynamic that would go on to fill every single other fantasy webcomic that came after it.

The site also had two Character Blogs / Fourth Wall Mail Slots for Red Mage and Evil Princess Sara.

After nine years, two fake endings and 1,224 strips, the comic finally ended; after that last comic, Clevinger took a few weeks and wrote up a long epilogue which was drawn by Matt Speroni of How I Killed Your Master. Barring another Clevinger surprise, that should be the end of things.


8-Bit Theater is the Trope Namer for:

Tropes used in 8-Bit Theater include:

Black Mage: FFFFFFFFF--
Fighter: I think he sprung a leak.

    • Also one strip later,

Black Mage: Arghble!

Black Mage: Wait one damn second. Could you have done that at any time?
Sarda: No, not at any time. Don't be so stupid. Just any time I felt like it.
(Snap!)
Black Mage: YEARGHBLEBLE!

    • After Black Belt climbs across a rope he was holding himself:

Black Mage: How..you..here..what?
Black Belt: I held the rope up and walked across just like you guys.
Black Mage: That doesn't. I mean, you can't.

    • Red Mage has one, too:

Fighter: Don't you understand? With gravity slain, we can now fly! * flies*
Thief: Huh.
Red Mage: But he. You can't. Love, hate, clouds. *falls over*

Black Mage: Astos"? Mo' like, "Yo ass is toast!
(Astos pauses, then falls over, dead.)
Thief: I don't think he's breathing.
Black Mage: Well! That was easy!

Fighter: ...After we brutally murdered her son, banished her husband to hell, and tore up her driveway.

Fighter:Also, I can block any attack and kill anything that bleeds.

    • Black Mage himself once wanted to deliver a Badass Boast that would double as a pick-up line... but what he came up with was this:

Black Mage: I AM THE BLACK MAGE! I CASTS THE SPELLS THAT MAKES THE PEOPLES FALL DOWN!

Sarda: "I am Sarda. And I am older than time. I possess a power beyond mortal imagination. My plans will not be undone by such amateur-hour horseshit as absorbing too much power and exploding. I am Sarda. My will be done."

    • Chaos delivers one, too.

Chaos: "I am the yawning chasm from before the before; the darkness after the end of all things. I am nothing and no thing is eternal."

Black mage: What I learned today is that really old wizards don't get that way by being easy to kill.
Red mage: So you didn't get any spells?
Black mage: In the sense that being stabbed gets you a blade, man, I got spells.

  • Batman Gambit: Sarda has been secretly making the Light Warriors stronger so that he could show them how insignificant they are when their upgrades fail to save them from his wrath. This was all in retribution for having his younger self irreversibly and unbelievably traumatized by Black Mage multiple times. And also because the other Light Warriors did nothing to stop him from doing it.
  • Battle Aura: Black Mage, after absorbing the evil of the fiends. Later, he lost it after destroying the Temple of Fiends. Then Sarda got it.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Used many times, with the action (usually Fighter beating up a villain or Black Mage beating up a bystander) shown offpanel for comic effect, and taken to its ultimately absurd conclusion in the Final Battle with Chaos.
  • Beat Panel
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Both Princess Sara and Left-Hand Man Gary to King Steve.
  • Best Served Cold: Sarda has literally lived for billions of years to set in motion his Evil Plan to strengthen the Light Warriors so that he could kill them all at the height of their power, just to rub their insignificance in their collective face. Best served cold indeed. Though as the Cosmic Plaything example indicates, he probably did not intend to have no choice but to wait that long.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: White Mage, Fighter, and at one point, Garland.
  • Big Bad: Sarda.
  • Bigger Bad: Chaos
  • Big Damn Heroes: Black Mage, Red Mage, and Dragoon each killed one of the four Fiends from out of nowhere.
  • Big Damn Villains: Black Mage can generally be relied upon to throw immensely destructive magic at a life-threatening problem. ... with the side-effect that he's not very accurate and has very limited understanding of the word "subtlety". In short: the protagonists have probably reaped a higher death toll than the antagonists. Although this doesn't make moments like this any less awesome.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The "new" Temple of Fiends. Also parodied by Black Belt when he gets lost in the chaos architecture, even though the path is a straight line.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The protagonists are three sadistic bloodthirsty killers (plus a Token Good Teammate who's just too stupid to notice his comrades are Ax Crazy)... but the Big Bad manages to be worse! The only "hero"(ine) per se mostly falls under Good Is Impotent, but wins in the end because of a nine year-old Brick Joke.
    • Evil Versus Evil: In a world where the "heroes" are worse than the villains (except Sarda and Chaos) and singlehandledly responsible for most of the world's suffering; the people in charge of things are insane, megalomaniacal, or both; and any attempts to bring any sort of peace or happiness seem to fail by default, the only thing preventing Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy is seeing just how over the top the Black Comedy gets.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Poor Red Mage. Followed by poor monster exposed to Red Mage's "Animal Husbandry.
  • Black Mage Killed The Dinosaurs: So it seems.

Fighter: Where's that thing going?

Thief: I don't think he heard you, BM.
Black Mage: He got the message though.

  • Book Ends: Fighter and Black Mage are alone together, lost. Fighter ends the entire series on a Brick Joke:

Fighter: Y'know what we should do?
Black Mage: Oh, this'll be good. What? What should we do?
Fighter: We never did find that Armor of Invincibility...

Black Mage: Does the universe exist only to rob me of any joy? It'd be nice to have confirmation on that.

    • Fighter is frequently insulted and assaulted by Black Mage (but he can take it).
    • Red Mage had his skeleton removed from his body and was later turned into a one-eyed monster (he got better).
    • Thief was mauled by Berserker, had all his accumulated treasure smashed, was torched by Bahamut, and was shaken to oblivion by Muffin. And he stole his class change from himself in the future, just before Sarda got to the final part of his revenge.
    • White Mage can only watch in sorrow as the Light Warriors slaughter innocents, each other, and generally ignore their "responsibility" as heroes, and that's on top of her best friend dying.
    • Onion Kid's main purpose is to go through various torments that usually relate to Black Mage. And become Sarda. Then get possessed by Chaos.
    • Garland went through this briefly before he founded the Dark Warriors.
    • The "real" Light Warriors. Every bad thing imaginable happens to them. Even when they catch a break, it usually ends up backfiring.
      • Barry, the only member of the group whose name we know, gets the worst of it.
  • The Caligula: King Steve, the psychotic, bloodthirsty, retarded ruler of Corneria.
    • He was drilling for mana. You can't drill for mana. YOU CAN'T DRILL FOR MANA!
      • Turns out, you can.

"I hate this ridiculous fantasy setting."

Red Mage: Wait. You murdered your own blind brother?
Black Mage: It would have been cruel to let him live after what I did to his eyes.

FFFFFFFFFFFF--

  • Crapsack World
  • Crash Into Hello: This is how Black Mage met both Fighter and White Mage.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Every single plan Red Mage has ever come up with. Occasionally they do.
    • Fighter's tend to work the same way. Emphasis on the work part.
  • Creative Sterility: Elves.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Most of Sarda's spells are designed to only work with a specific target in mind. Subverted, because this was used in order to prevent Blue Mages from using his spells against him. Played straight by Black Mage, who by way of Mega Manning has learned "Spell that hurts Black Mage" and the "rewrite reality according to my (Sarda's) whim" spell.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fighter is dumber than a bag of rocks, but he's also a practically unstoppable swordsman.
    • And Bikke, useless though he may be at piracy and villainy, is the first person in the comic to actually hit Sarda with an attack. A useless attack, granted, but it impressed Sarda enough to spare him...for now.
  • Crowded Cast Shot
  • Crunchtastic: Black Mage once concluded that his hatred of Fighter is so great that there is no word strong enough to express it. So - with Red Mage's help - he made up a new one: omniloathe. Obviously Fighter missed the point and was overjoyed that he and Black Mage had "got best buddy codewords now".
  • Crush! Kill! Destroy!: Crap! Piss! Kill!

Red Mage: Tell me that's not a declaration of intent.

Raven: Oops.

Gas Dragon: Y'know how most dragons have firebreath attacks? Well, it's like that. Only it's not breath. And there's no fire. But it will feel like you're roasting alive.

King Steve: "Now, how about those sno-cones."
Black Mage: "What is this?"
KS: "It's no cone!"
Thief: "It's a cube."
KS: "Oh, no. That's a common misconception. It's a stube."
Thief: "A what?"
KS: "The seven-sided cube. I invented it."
BM: "There are only six sides."
KS: "The seventh side is the inside."
(Beat Panel)
Thief: "He's got us there."

Red Mage: This is why I keep insisting that Thief shouldn't conduct these interviews.

Black Mage: Obstacle course? Mo' like Ka-Boom course.

  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Parodied, since the Light Warriors' original classes are their real names, and remain so even after they change classes.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-universe example - In the Castle of Ordeals, each character fought a personification of his greatest flaws, symbolically overcoming them (or at least, that's what they were supposed to do...). The final ordeal was to symbolize the team uniting to become more than the sum of their parts and transcend individuality and whatnot. When the final ordeal turns out to be "defeating a zombie dragon," Red Mage complains that the boss doesn't fit the theme.

Red Mage:I fail to see the significance of a zombified dragon vis-a-vis our externalized struggles with our own internal demons.
Fighter: Maybe the bone dragon represents our skeletons. Those are inside of us. Like skeletons.

Cleric: What does that mean?
Sarda: It means there's not much point in talking about him.

Red Mage: We've locked Kary in an inescapable prison where she will remain until such time as we are powerful enough to defeat her. Quite simple.
an enraged White Mage crushes the bag and its contents to bits
Red Mage: ...or there's that.
Thief: (having just seen "more riches than actually exist" destroyed) can't...gasp!...breathe...

Black Mage: Oh, god. Now I'm ejecting things I haven't eaten yet.

Red Mage: Years of exposure to Fighter's, shall we say, point of view, has rendered Black Mage a sputtering vegetable.

Fighter: We're heroes.

Thief: I've stolen things that weren't even there. This soul exists, so that helps.

  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The sword-chucks are impossible, even in this world.
    • Not anymore.
      • Holy crap, the sword-chucks are ON FIRE. That's oneupmanship for ya.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Fighter has his Sword-Chucks, and no less than four swords on his person at any given time. And then there's this line:

Fighter: "You try balancing a cow on the end of a fence post to wield it like a club. That's a physical damn challenge!"

Black Mage: Yo.
White Mage: You are simply a horrible little monster and I pray for your quick and merciful death.
Black Mage: Flirt!

Fighter: So that's where earthquakes come from.

  • In the Local Tongue: Drizz'l is mocked for his goofy-sounding name, but they shut up when they find out it means "endless scourge."
  • Ironic Echo Cut: [1]
  • Ironic Hell: After being severely beaten by Berserker, Thief ends up in his personal Hell where he owns everything. Thief is overjoyed... until a trickster god called Raven points out to him that there's nothing left to steal in this Hell. Realizing that, Thief starts begging the god to revive him. However, it's revealed later that Thief didn't actually die - Berserker only knocked him unconscious - and his personal Hell was probably an illusion created by Raven who wanted to take advantage of Thief's desperation.
    • The real hell too.

Head Hell Guy: This is hell. We're big on irony here.

  • Iron Butt Monkey: Fighter and Black Mage -- the former is repeatedly stabbed in the head with no ill effects (it made him smarter once), while Black Mage more or less always survives what's thrown at him (the Goblin Punch and Australia come to mind) and when he's killed, he gets brought back in fairly short order so as to continue suffering.
  • It Got Worse: First, turns out Sarda is the Onion Kid, and he's had billions of years to think up things to do to the Light Warriors for ruining his life. Then he gets even more powerful . Then he gets possessed by Chaos.
  • Its Always Sunny in Miami: This trope is used in this work, as it never gets dark until the characters enter the inn.
  • I Will Show You X: In this strip.

Sarda: That's adorable, really.
Garland: Oh, we'll show you adorable!
(shows Sarda a photo of a bunny)
Sarda: Yes, you sure did.

  • Jerkass: Thief, Black Mage, Sarda.
  • Jossed: Silenced all the Epileptic Trees regarding Black Belt's possible return with the appropriately titled, "Now Shut Up".
  • Karma Houdini: The Light Warriors (especially Black Mage), after all the atrocities they commit, ultimately escape any kind of punishment. The only upside is that White Mage keeps them from stealing the credit for all the good things they DIDN'T do... by making sure it goes to the Dark Warriors.
    • Well Black Mage seems to be destined to forever wander the world with Fighter, who he hates, but can't kill or otherwise get rid of in any way.
      • Plus, Sarda de-leveled them all, so none of them have the skills they used to terrorize the world before.
  • Kid with the Leash: surprisingly enough, this trope is applied to Thief and Black Mage. Black Mage is a violent sociopath easily able to cause ridiculous amounts of mass-destruction, and whose gut reaction to any situation is a cross of Kill'Em All and Kill It with Fire. Thief may be a Manipulative Bastard whose idea of morality is as flexible and self-rewarding as any one of his contracts, but at least he can control (or at least direct) a lot of Black Mage's indiscriminate destruction. If he's not there to lead the group, Black Mage tends to take charge and things tend to go downhill pretty damn quick. The fact that Thief can contain Black Mage using a fraudulent contract is a mark of Magnificent Bastardry.
    • A good part of Thief's control over Black Mage involves the fact that prior to absorbing his Super-Powered Evil Side, at least Black Mage is terrified of him.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Light Warriors' solution to most anything, really.
    • While looking for excuses to kill dwarves-

Thief Beard-shaped parasites are eating thier faces!
Black Mage Burn them all and let the fire sort it out!

  • Killed Off for Real: Black Belt.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Thief will steal everything from your house regardless if it's nailed down or not.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Black Mage, having subsumed the power of the Elemental Fiends and now since killed White Mage and possibly Fighter and Thief.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Lots of it.
  • Last of His Kind: Red Mage and Dragoon.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Black Mage and Fighter in this strip.
  • Letter Motif
  • Level Grinding: After being deleveled by Sarda, the Light Warriors must engage in a frenzy of this in order to (maybe) stand a chance against Chaos
  • Ley Line: Mentioned as running through the land. It is stated that Black Mage is a living Nexus.
    • It's not just that Black Mage is a living Nexus personified, but that apparently his mind/soul itself is the Nexus, such that his physical body acts as a Restraining Bolt. Hence when he dies and gets rid of his physical body, his powers increase (vis a vis RULING OVER HELL). He is not happy that the universe is trying its very hardest to keep him alive (probably so he doesn't end all creation.)
  • Light Is Not Good: For a group of "heroes" called "The Light Warriors", they are probably the world's greatest mortal perpetrators of atrocities. Sarda flat out tells them this. Then again, the Light Warriors only got the title by tricking King Steve with their "Orbs of Destiny", which were in fact light bulbs, and the Real Light Warriors were unable to find a job.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Including making fighter smart.

Thief: "I think you stabbed the stupid out of him."
Red Mage: "That makes no scientific sense. The knife channelled the lightning directly to his brain which then experienced electrical activity for, perhaps, the first time ever."

Red Mage: According to a loose enough definition of 'hero', we qualify. Well, more or less. The point is that good deeds were done and we were nearby.

Red Mage: Where's he going?
Sarda: To hurt.

    • Don't forget when Sarda locked Black Mage perfectly still while the rest of the universe kept moving, shifting him outside the cave. Of course, all the other molecules kept moving and shredded him at a sub-cellular level, but Sarda kept him alive out of spite.

Black Mage: Huh. I think I'm insane now.

  • Normally I Would Be Dead Now: Red Mage subverts this by being not a Determinator, but by forgetting to record how much damage he takes.
  • No Sense of Direction: Black Belt, and to a lesser extent, Fighter.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Black Mage is guilty of this on several occasions. A few times to Fighter, but once to Lich, while he and the rest of BM's party discussed the plan to kill Lich's son, Vilbert. Right in front of Lich. And Black Mage didn't even bother to look at Lich while he said that.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Done in one of the weirdest ways possible.

Fighter: The way I figured it, the fall doesn't kill you. The ground does. So I blocked it.
Thief: I hate it when the things he says that don't make sense make sense.

White Mage: Did you feel that?
Black Belt: What?
White Mage: A great disturbance in the order, as if millions of voices cried out to say "Oh shit."

  • Older Than They Look: Vilbert and, of course, all elven characters.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Black Mage always did want to be ruler of a dead universe. However, he never showed he actually had the power to pull it off until late in the comic.
  • One-Winged Angel: Sarda might have just done this, but that could just be his real face.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Black Mage stabs his comrades, usually in the head, and they always survive.
    • Subverted when Black Mage actually kills Ranger this way, and gloats over it as his previous victims survived. Of course, he is then resurrected by his friend Cleric.
    • Black Mage regularly survives injuries such as losing his arms or being impaled by a spear, usually without proper healing.
    • Pretty much everyone in the main cast, at one time or another, goes through this.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: apparently, the Onion Kid's real name is Rex Crockett (check left bottom corner).
  • Only Sane Man: White Mage. Black Mage is when he's holding the Sanity Ball (If you can call it that).
    • Thief, Princess Sara, Left-Hand Man Gary, Drizz'l, and Rogue are this in their respective groups.
      • Though among those listed above, only Left-Hand Man Gary has not shown overt signs of either willfully dangerous ignorance (White Mage and Rogue), Knight Templaric tendencies (White Mage again), Black and Gray Morality (Thief, Sara and Drizz'l), or sociopathic, psychopathic psychosis (need you even ask).
    • Sarda might also count, since he's one of the few who sees the Light Warriors and Fighter as the horrible threat to the world they actually are.
    • When Black Mage isn't in an omnicidal rage, he is typically the Only Sane Man, and will point out flaws in logic, be the only voice of reason, and will even lean heavily against the fourth wall. However, whenever he is sane, one of the Light Warriors (usually) will do or say something stupid or frustrating, and there seems to be only a certain level of this he can take before he feels the "need to destroy." The stupider the idea (which happens to be proportional to the amount of participation Fighter has in its conception for some completely bizarre reason), the more likely he'll just snap all together. There's a slight problem when that happens...
  • Orwellian Editor:Done as joke in the class change arc.
    • To explain for those who missed the initial run of the strip: Thief's Ninja outfit is based on a red Ninja sprite from Final Fantasy III. In the original run of strip 200, and in the first run of the strip where he obtained the class change, Thief's outfit matched said sprite. One strip later, however, the outfit switched from red to black - Black Mage comments on it, but Thief only says that the outfit had always been black as a Logic Bomb. On the same day as the Logic Bomb joke, the previous strips were all edited to change the outfit from red to black.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Clevinger satirizes the living hell out of this trope.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Played for laughs.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: The comic's biggest Brick Joke.
  • Padding: How the hell else do you extend Final Fantasy I to over 1,200 comic strips?
  • Perp Sweating: Parodied. When Red Mage "interrogated" Bikke, the pirate claimed he didn't steal Matoya's crystal. Red Mage simply replied: "No? Or... Yes?". Confused Bikke immediately incriminated himself (and accused Red Mage of using "black ops mind games".)

Bikke: I just wanted to feel like a big evil man! Is that really so wrong?

Look, I don't do this... Uh, ever. But you guys are basically like kittens stuck on a leaking lifeboat in a typhoon. Just run.

Dragon Random Encounter: BLARGH! I'M A DRAGON!
(Eleven more appear with him)
Dragon Random Encounter: OR TWELVE!
Red Mage: Impossible! Only a maximum of nine enemies may be onscreen!
Dragon Random Encounter: FUCK YOU.
Red Mage: Run.

Thief: "I hate wizards."
(Beat)
Thief: "What?"
Red Mage: "I'm waiting for you to say 'present company excluded'."
(Beat)

Red Mage: "I can't help but think the conversation would have ended differently had my pants stayed on."

Sarda: The irony is that there's not much left for me to do to you that you haven't already done to yourselves.
[...]
Thief: Pff, what could he possibly do?
Black Mage: Oh... please don't say that out loud.
Thief: No, think about what he said. We're Light Warriors, dammit. I bet he can't hurt us any more than we hurt each other every day.
Red Mage: Thief kinda has a point. We're our own worst enemies. What can he do?!
POIT!
(The Light Warriors are reduced in levels and class)
Red Mage: (turns to Sarda) What if I said it was a rhetorical question?

Thief: Observing an event helps to make it happen. Someone should develop a theory based on that.

  • Screw Destiny: "OK, I have a theory. It's called, I NEVER KNEW IT WAS POSSIBLE TO CARE LESS ABOUT TIME TRAVEL." Cue the Dark Hadoken.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Black Mage attempts to do this, but Sarda rewrites his statement into satisfaction over an Anticlimax.
  • Screw You, Elves: "If you elves are so great, why is your technology on par with humans even though you had a nine thousand year head start?"
    • "Your race's history is one long love poem dedicated to bloodshed. And to yourselves."
  • Screw Yourself: It's implied that Black Mage, after killing the manifestation of his evil (which happened to look exactly like him), used its corpse to turn self-love into atrocity. Then Thief managed to photograph the whole thing and blackmail BM with it.
  • Self-Deprecation: Strip 1,000 was called "I can’t believe someone was asshole enough to make 1,000 sprite comics." Strip 1,001 was called "I can’t believe someone was asshole enough to make more than 1,000 sprite comics."
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Black Mage after losing his position of hell king.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Pretty much every story arc. Not to mention the series as a whole.
    • And just as readily subverted with all the horrible stuff that happens to the Onion Kid.
  • Shout-Out: Several; see Shout Out: Web Comics for examples.
    • A character dies, goes to Hell, takes it over, and comes back with the powers of an Evil God. Black Mage? No, the Emperor from Final Fantasy II.
  • Silence, You Fool: Drizz'l, here.
  • Spanner in the Works: Many examples, but the biggest one is Sarda, to himself. Sometime in the present, he teleports White Mage into a "pocket dimension" because she was annoying him. It turns out this "pocket dimesion" is actually the beginning of the universe... and a younger version of himself arrives there a few seconds too late to mold the universe to his will.
    • He also probably didn't expect Black Mage's evil to cause him to suffer a Phlebotinum Overload -- or that said overload would allow Chaos to possess his body. Not even gaining godlike power can prevent Black Mage from ruining Sarda's life.
  • Stable Time Loop: Sarda is tortured by Black Mage as Onion Kid, is taken in by his older self, watches said older self try to get revenge on the Light Warriors, grows up to become a powerful mage, goes back in time to the origin of the universe, goes insane taking The Slow Path back to the present, decides to take revenge on the Light Warriors, repeat.
    • And along the way, he sends White Mage to the beginning of time to keep her out of the way, where she creates the universe. Wrap your head around that predestination paradox.
    • A smaller example: when they are at some weird space-time singularity, Thief has an idea to use the hundreds of instances of the Light Warriors to form an army. When Red Mage asks him how he got the idea, Thief says that he saw the future Red Mage doing it. Red Mage comments on the fact that he wouldn't have done it if Thief hadn't told him, and that Thief wouldn't have told him if he hadn't seen him doing it.
    • A smaller-scale example: Sarda in the past got the idea to grow a mustache from White Mage, who got the idea from seeing Sarda with his mustache in the present day. So who came up with the idea in the first place?
  • The Starscream: Black Mage repeatedly betrays the Light Warriors, and has tried to gain control of the group at least twice. Drizz'l, meanwhile, usurped Garland for all of a day before getting kicked out of the Dark Warriors.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Lava instead of ground, ventilation rust-holes, cold fusion devices, explodable amnesia dust, "a stube"...the list goes on.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: Viciously parodied with the fate of Ranger's wife.
  • Stunned Silence: Black Mage has quite a few of these, usually accompanied by a Flat What when he's confronted with something so stupid or illogical that it renders him speechless. However, it has also happened when he has been simply horrified into stunned silence. There are few things so horrible that they can horrify Black Mage into silence. One of these things is Red Mage's choccobo breeding experiments. Black Mage even promises to devise a special hell just for what he's done.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Fighter thought that Legolas was cute.
  • Stylistic Suck: The guest comic written by Fighter.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: An Incredibly Lame Pun turns out to be fatal.
  • Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: Subverted. Fighter seems to have figured out the Lefanish language, but he still hasn't quite got the hang of it. Or has he?
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Black Mage's temper and remaining sanity are continuously frayed by the rampant illogical insanity, stupidity and lack of all reason that tends to crop up in Red Mage's and Figther's vicinity (which isn't exactly conducive to the good health of the group). Thief also makes the same claim, but he gets far too much enjoyment out of screwing everyone out of everything they currently or will own, to be more than occasionally annoyed by the irrationality.

Black Mage: I shall die as I lived. Completely surrounded by morons.

Fighter: You told me Red Mage was dead.
Black Mage: Oh, we've all been dead. His return is no surprise, really.
Fighter: But you said he'd turn into the walking dead any minute and we had to make haste so he couldn't feast upon our delicious living flesh.
Black Mage: Look, I say a lot of things. Now, we can stand here and argue about who fed who obvious, completely incongruous, fabrications and lies. But are you prepared to risk the unrelenting hunger of the undead?
Fighter: All the senseless talking about a subject no one can remember, much less, uh, remember is getting us nowhere and zombies are hot on our heels. We must move forward and onward!

    • Black Mage also has a rather introspective one while he is the only one still stuck inside the web of a giant spider

Black Mage: They're the dumb ones, why am I still stuck here? I'm the smart, sassy one. My condescending demeanor certainly has nothing to do with a barely hidden anxiety about my actual worth as a person, a mage, or a member of this team. Stupid Fighter and stupid Red Mage and stupid Thief, makin' me introspective. I suppose it'll give me even more emotional turmoil to squeeze into a ball of seething rage focused at the center of my being.

Fighter: Here's one! They're recruiting for something called SOLDIER.
Black Mage: Lame.
Fighter: The dukedom of Dollet is hiring mercenaries to repel Galbadian aggression.
Black Mage: Somehow even lamer.
Fighter: We could join the search for a missing Alexandrian princess.
Black Mage: That could be interesting...
Fighter: Ah, they've already got a black mage. Oh, escorting a religious pilgrimage?
Black Mage: I'd rather chew my own neck off.
Fighter: We could find a few other adventurers and join the fight against the Shadowlord.
[...]
Black Mage: NEXT!
Fighter: Eh. Everything after that sounds like a waste of time.
Black Mage: I could've told you that.

Black Mage: Chipsplosion Bowl? Bacon Enchilada?
Black Mage: Fritter Rolls? Corn Blasters?
Black Mage: Cheese Munch? Cream Balls?
Black Mage: Batter Wedges? Chicken-Fried Butter Sticks? Do... Do you use a fork?

  • Ted Baxter: Black Mage, Red Mage, all Elves.
    • Black Mage is an odd case. He admits straight out back in the beginning that he knows he's "vile" and evil. He's rather proud of it, in fact. He even knows that his one-liners are horrible and that he annoys White Mage into almost Unstoppable Rage. What's strange is that he thinks that is charismatic and appealing to women. So, this trope still applies as he thinks that he is the ultimate ladies' man. His idea of what that is is just really very...er... distorted.
    • King Steve probably has an over-inflated image of himself as well. Seriously, if he thinks of himself that way...
  • Tempting Fate: All over the place, but especially in the Temple of Fiends sequence.

Red Mage: Any fate that we can walk into because we're not dead is a better one than we had ten minutes ago.
(a pulse of energy erupts from Sarda making the ground shake)
Black Mage: Unrelated: Anyone else hear that?

Sarda: My plans will not be undone by such amateur-hour horseshit as absorbing too much power and exploding.

    • This one is when they go to the submarine temple, after Black Mage has returned to the air-sub, with his whole digestive tract out of his body.

Thief: Well, that's the worst thing I'll ever see. (GSHLURRPLE! as Black Mage forces his digestive tract to re-enter his body) That's what I get for daring the universe.

Red Mage: Sarda de-leveled us, but we don't know how many levels we lost.
[...]
Black Mage: Well, cast something!
SFX: Fweee
Black Mage: What was that?
Red Mage: The sound of us dying in one round.

TiamatMuffin: Oh, I see. You stupided yourselves into extinction.

...friends look out for one another and we're friends, but Black Mage is my best friend. Also, I can block any attack and kill anything that bleeds. Hint.

    • Black Mage and Thief are another good example. Though the two often claim to hate one another (and have each proven it more than once), they also respect each other's evil ways, and have on occasion shown some great synergy. To wit, just check pretty much the entirety of the Dwarfland arc.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Black Mage is the king of this...usually projectile vomiting style. Thief's comment that he saw "darker wood in elf porn" made this happen spontaneously. His discovery of the true nature of Bahamut and Matoya's relationship and just what the Rat Tail was used for made him eject things he hadn't eaten yet.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The arcs involving a trip to the Arctic and another where the Light Warriors take control of a city.
  • Walls of Text: Not all the time, but sometimes something like this happens.
  • Weapons Grade Vocabulary: Lethal puns against Astos.

Black Mage: Astos? Mo' like your ass is toast.

Thief [to Black Mage]: maybe you shouldn't be holding the keys to the apocalypse.

  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: Used as the last strip for the series. The strip picks up three years after the previous strip with White Mage tracking down the Light Warriors to give them some credit for all they did, Red Mage and Dragoon starting up a support group for sole survivors of mysterious sects, Thief becoming the king of Elfland through unknown means, and Black Mage and Fighter having disappeared, with no one knowing where they are (ironiclly we find out in the last scene that their right where they were at the start of the comic).
    • It's also a very loving recreation of Mark Waid and Alex Ross' Kingdom Come, right down to the interesting names for the dishes at the restaurant.
  • White Magician Girl: White Mage.
  • Who's on First?: Rather literally, actually.
  • Why Are You Looking At Me Like That?:

Red Mage: We're going about this whole Chaos thing the wrong way.
Black Mage: Why break with tradition now?
Red Mage: No, no. Seriously. We can't out-fight him, we can't out-cast him, and we can't out-think him. But we can out-stupid him.
Fighter: How?
(the others turn and look at him)


Suckers!

  1. (read: state of bloodthirsty Kill-Them-All-ness while trying to take out everyone in a hundred-mile radius)
  2. (read: too stupid to see, or just ignore)