Tales of the Questor

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Don't piss off the Questor.

Tales of the Questor is a webcomic by one Ralph Hayes (RH) Junior. It tells the tale of Quentyn, a young anthropomorphic raccoon (or "Rac Cona Daimh" or "Racconan" but who are we kidding?) who spends his days with adventure books and daydreams. When the traditional ritual where young kits choose their career for life approaches, young Quentyn shocks everyone and becomes the local laughing stock as he declares his desire to become a Questor - a type of noble hero-for-hire whose like hasn't been around for ages, and who are practically nothing but adventure book fluff. But, it turns out there are legal requirements to have one when someone offers. So begins Quentyn's own adventure - he's now an official Questor and it's up to him to do what a Questor must, even if it means having to face great dangers and things he's never had to encounter during his young, sheltered life -- and practical exile as he's tasked with a gigantic quest that requires him to head into the lands of humans.

TotQ borders between a humoristic adventure comic and a more dramatic story about Quentyn's maturing and the problems he faces due to still being a young boy, with stronger emphasis on the serious side as it has progressed. The comic is also notable for its writer's tendency to convey his religious and political views through it, though these traits have decreased over time and transferred into other mediums. At its best, the comic works its themes into an imaginative fantasy allegory, much like C. S. Lewis' Narnia novels, and it constructs a deep world that helps alleviate these problems.

Pretty well on the Idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.

Has a Spin-Off comic: Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger.

Tropes used in Tales of the Questor include:

The lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for thou art with me,
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparedst a table for me in the presence of mine enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.

  • Badass Normal: The farmer's son. He not only enters and escapes Tir Na Nogh in a nearly-impossible yet completely successful rescue mission without a moment's hesitation, but he takes on an Unseleighe Sidhe armed with nothing but pies and lives to tell about it. This trope does not do his deeds justice. Quentyn may also count.
    • Quentyn as well. He's for all intents and purposes only an "amateur" lux user, his most common use of magic is from magic items (Most of which are half-broken and only work when and how they want). On top of that he's a three-foot tall adolescent raccoon-person. And yet his periodically-repeated (And ever-growing) Badass Boast is still entirely true.
  • Bait and Switch Tyrant: Elder Gilder. In private, he says that Quentyn is the only one besides himself who takes the role of Questor seriously, and acknowledges that he's a rather good one. He just thinks that the existence of the position is in itself dangerous.
    • As some crooked political schemers later proved, he was right.
      • And the very next day, Quentyn proved himself so worthy of the title that Gilder holds pretty much the grandest festival the village has ever seen in Quentyn's honor.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Some Raccoons and other non-human races don't use shoes at all, but many do much of the time. It varies from individual to individual.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ralph has fun with this one.
    • Zigzagged with Quentyn's wishes: Quentyn IS very careful, but later thinks he wished for the wrong things, and then learns that he's mistaken in his second-guessing.
    • Played straight with Rahan. He wishes that he could get a real good look at Quentyn's face after a prank involving tar and feathering goes off. He does, right after the prank goes hilariously amiss. Quentyn, who has overheard Rahan, even lampshades that.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: One of the theories off why humans cannot accept 'Lux energies' and kept calling it magic (which they think is evil)
    • Or more specifically, belief in the Universal Church's tenets, after all both the author and the hero are rather devout "protestants".
  • Berserk Button: Understandably, considering his size and All of the Other Reindeer status, you do not mess with children around Quentyn. You especially do not trap a 10-something scared little girl in a cage - and then hold that cage underwater.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Quentyn is one of the sweetest guys you could ever meet, right up until you hit a Berserk Button. "You shouldn't have made her cry" indeed.
    • Also, whether you're the leader of a gang of thieves or the ruler of a duchy, do not look down your nose at him. He's fully aware of just how much of a badass he is, and he's not afraid to inform you of the fact in spectacular fashion. Even if he is going to hyperventilate and/or puke from the stress as soon as you're out of sight/earshot.
  • Big Bad: While we only hear about this creature from a story, and it's existence is only the theory of a mad scientist, the Patronum Monstrum, a creature believed to be the origin of all of the evil monsters in the world, creating monsters for the sole pleasure of inflicting pain on all other beings, would certainly qualify, if it exists.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Luft is German for "air".
  • Black Sky Take Warning: Oh crap. Also Foreshadowing.
  • Blase Boast: Quentyn's father can be one evil old goat.
  • Blessed with Suck

We are going to be up to our eyelids in gold-crazed trouble.

  • Bodyguard Crush: Nessie to Quentyn after he saved her from three Gragum cultists.
  • Bothering by the Book: Quentyn, of all people, pulls this on hostile politicians: A covenant clause means a contract will be passed someone's successor--in this case, Quentyn of Freeman Downs, who is considered the successor of Quentyn of Ridgedale. The clause must, by Racconan law, specify a number of generations--but if it doesn't, limitation protocols restricts it to one, which means it won't apply to Quentyn of Freeman Down's successor, something that the Expansionist Party overlooked. Quentyn, armed with this knowledge, goes out to fulfill the contract or die trying.
  • Boxed Crook: The squire
  • Brick Joke: Artimeus mentions a scholar that found the Racconans, though he doesn't believe him, we know have a couple of pages from his journal.
    • Not entirely--these Filler pages were taken from the Tales Of The Questor CD, and were from a longer storyline on the CD. The pages were drawn long before the strip mentioning the journal.
  • Bring News Back: Trying to bring back news of the dragon's rampage.
  • Broke Your Arm Stabbing A Dragon
  • Celestial Deadline
  • Character Filibuster: A few in-world strips are essentially giant blocks of text, with political meaning both within and without the comic.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Linneaus the Priest, who might be a lost boy in another story's one hope.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Quentyn
  • Colossus Climb: With a dragon. One twice as big as the one Quentyn was prepared to face.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: used in-story when Quentyn's "proof" that the human coins were fake turned out to be a research failure on his part, but it fooled the bad guy anyway.
  • Cool Old Guy: The Eldest.
    • And to an insanely greater extent, Quentyn's father. The fact that he effortlessly combines Crowning Moments of Awesome and Funny repeatedly throughout the comic cements this trope as an understatement for him.
  • Cool Sword: Wildcard
  • Cross-Melting Aura: Fae lords are tougher than the regular Mooks.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Church of the Sojourner fits Christianity with a stag strapped on the side, while the Universal Church aims more for pointing out some of the more misguided and superstitious results religion can lead to, without being actually evil.
    • They were a lot worse in the back-story.
      • It was recently revealed that they once suffered terribly from several religions, not just Hayes' thinly-disguised fantasy version of the early Catholic Church.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: "Cold" Magnetic iron.
  • Doing In the Wizard: After over a hundred comics of treating Lux as just the Racconans' technical term for their medieval-era world's Force Magic version of Functional Magic, complete with constant uses of terms like "spells," "magic," and "wizard," the fundamentalist Christian author devoted a text-heavy side arc to explaining that the force that looked like magic, acted like magic, sparkled like magic, was treated like magic, and frequently called magic wasn't really magic. Another side arc, much later in the comic's run, went further and showed the tragic consequences of Racconans referring to their magic-like powers as magic, implying that they weren't even going to use magic-related terminology anymore.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Artimeus is quite good at this.
  • Description Cut: At least twice so far.
    • In Fenwyck:

Duke Fenwyck: The Racconans of folklore are a bartering people. It is simply their way to postpone any binding decision 'til a night's sleep and a good breakfast. I assure you, he knew every word he was going to say tomorrow before he even left the room.
[Later, in their room]
Quentyn: I have no idea what to say to him tomorrow! I mean, what on earth do you charge for slaying a dragon?

    • And in Grymalkin:

Duke Grymalkin: Well, any such scholarly querying will have to wait -- this morning he took his men "to see where the dragon attacked." No doubt he is using some arcane Racconan art to divine the nature of the beast he pursues...
[cut to Quentyn, holding a book and a quill]
Quentyn: Okay ... so what did it look like?

  • Drunken Master: Between them Quentyn, Kestrel, and Fen created Wildcard, a weapon whose intricacies stumped the best minds around, out of a enchanting-practice sword while completely drunk.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Squidge isn't exactly intelligent but he's still the one who finds a solution no one else noticed.
  • Dungeon Punk: The Seven Villages, especially Sanctuary City. Not so much the rest of the world due to the Universal Church banning magic.
    • Though technically luxcraft is a science, it just looks like magic.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And how. On any given adventure Quentyn winds up dragging himself by sheer will to victory half dead and humiliated, with no one having believed he could of gotten even halfway to where he is. Fortunately, the author is really good about rewarding him for his hard work afterwards.
  • Eldritch Abomination: While not as immune to being punched out as your average world-ending horror, the rat-king is an absurdly powerful and remarkably intelligent being with only one goal: to feed. Within the comic it's demonstrated as wanting and able to destroy and consume anything and everything with lux. Word of God says that includes pretty much anything alive.
    • Actually, the shadow rats produced by the rat-king are ephemeral and sustain their existence by consuming Lux. The rat-king itself is a flesh and blood creature that needs actual food to survive... and sends out the shadow-rats as drones to fetch food back to itself.
    • Also subverted when Quentyn fights a "Chooley", a Cthulhu look-alikeKraken that isn't nearly as tough as it looks.
  • Empathic Weapon: Wildcard
  • Epic Fail: Rahan tries to tar and feather Quentyn as a prank. Squidge gets on the act and completely turns the tables.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Quentyn blows an Expansionist conspiracy to hell and gone when he takes up his predecessor's Impossible Task rather than let his hometown be repossessed.
  • Exact Words: An important point in the Wild Hunt arc. Black Tom is trapped and cannot warn the prince or free himself thanks to careful pre-planning on the prince's part. The Selieghe Absinthe also denies seeing Quentyn's track - while he hides in a pond not two feet away. Best used hereand here
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Inverted. Quentyn's quest is to bring back a bunch of lost artifacts to fulfill an old contract, otherwise the land his hometown sits on will be repossessed. He has little hope of bringing back all the artifacts before he dies, but if he dies trying, the debt ends with him, and his ultimate goal is fulfilled.
  • Fake Action Prologue
  • Fan Vid: The comics' first major story arc is powerfully summarized in this awesome fan video.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Partially subverted, in that we see a Racconan guard captain use a shotgun in an early story arc, but aside from Quentyn's lux-shooting Magitek Elf Shot pistol, and a quick bit with a homeowner firing up through his roof at Quentyn(mistaken for a thief), we never see another firearm. Somewhat justified, since the Racconans have few metal resources and no trade ties.
      • Also justified because of their inherent physical limitations, as explained here. The long and short of it is that they're still at the flintlock stage of development, so until they invent cased ammunition, any gun big enough to actually hurt something bigger than they are (which is just about anything) will send any Racconan save their equivalent of football players flying backwards from recoil. Most of the fuzzballs aren't even big or strong enough to carry a BFG the size of a human rifle.
    • And also, they can fire lightning from their hands and don't really need guns in normal situations. It's like they come with a built-in gun. "There's no such thing as an unarmed Racconan."
  • Fictional Political Party: Antillia has a more relaxed approach to politics than the American two-party system; parties form around political goals and dissolve after those goals are met, instead of pursuing goals and garnering support over generations - the Rac Cona Daimh hate the very idea of generational power gathering in such a manner. Exposition; all seven Hidden Elf Villages are currently in a downturn; though the were built in a fertile and wealthy area, they've been cooped up in it for over a century, and are starting to feel the crunch in recycling metals and such. This has led to the rise of two particularly powerful parties; the Open Traders, who want to begin carefully trading Luxtech with nearby kingdoms for more minerals, and the Expansionists, who just want to steal land from nearby kingdoms.
  • Filler: Used occasionally to take the edge off the periodic Schedule Slip. Particularly frustrating when the climax of the Dragon storyline is intercut with a human scholar's travel-log into The Seven Villages, three or four pages at a time per page of the main storyline.
  • Foreshadowing: Just lost a chickenor two...Not a problem whatsoever...
  • Foregone Conclusion: Narration is always first person by Quentyn, looking back on the events of the story. You don't know how long after it is, and what condition he's in at that point, but you know he lives at least long enough to record the story in his journal.
  • Fridge Horror: The Duke experiences this in-universe here.

Servant girl: I... Can only imagine what is running through your mind, Your Grace...
Duke of Fenwyck: At the moment? That time you told me there was a monster under my bed when I was ten.

  • Friend to All Children: There all along, but especially prevalent in his attitude towards Marsha; he's completely aware that she's too young to be responsible for her actions, and is very sweet towards her even as she pulls his whiskers and twists his tail.
  • Funny Background Event: this strip.
  • Furry Comic
  • Funetik Aksent: If you can't tell what the hell the swamp dwelling Racconans are saying, try sounding it out.
  • Gang of Hats: Various street gangs.
  • God Guise: Non-Rac Cona Daimh lux users tend to end up with their own cargo cult, even if some of them don't have much power.
  • Good Shepherd
  • Happily Married: His parents.
  • Hearing Voices
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Quentyn believes this to be the only option after inadvertently releasing (and, if he doesn't succeed, feeding and reenergizing) the Rat King. Nothing at this venture is going to save him, and if it gets loose the entirety of Antillia will be next on its menu, so he has to make sure it dies with him.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Merchant Max. You mustn't deal him with while you're drunk, but his goods are reasonably decent quality and his advice to Quentyn of how to talk turkey in the Human Lands is on the money.
  • Honor Before Reason: At times, but not when he takes on the quest to retrieve the artifacts. If he takes the quest, he may never see home again. If he doesn't, he won't have a home to go back to.
  • Humans Are Warriors: see here
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: They look like creepy, newborn rats. Eugh.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: When the Unseileighe's spy raven was attempting to flee the castle, none of the guards came even close to hitting it.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: Quentyn's malfunctioning Elf Shot pistol - which fires off its entire payload in one giant burst, although it is later fixed.
    • Also, the distress flare he uses to swat off a dragon attacking his luftship. The folks below literally ooo and ahh at the pretty lights in the sky.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: Averted bigtime. Quentyn sends a message via sparrow to his parents, but seconds after he sends it, it gets eaten by a hawk.
    • Averted again when a bird refuses to go out into cold weather.
  • Instant Knots: The entire point of a "Glimmer Rope".
  • It Got Worse: The entire dragon arc has been a big Break the Haughty arc for an overly-confident Quentyn. It starts with the duke's hired swords abandoning them in the middle of the night. Then Sam left too. Then Pelinor refuses to follow him into the dragon's lair. Then it turns out they've tracked down the wrong dragon--this one is bigger. Oh, but Sam and Pelinor come back! And they kill the dragon! But Ember was maimed in the process, and they have to put her down. And then it turns out there were two dragons, and when a dragon smells a dead dragon, it goes into a berserker rage. The younger one starts burning the countryside with no one able to stop it. And then, to top it all off, the duke's personal priest comes back, admonishes him for working with "witch-rats," and all but announces the start of a holy crusade to bring the region back under the church's control--especially the neighboring duchy.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Subverted with Kestral in that the Engineering faculty head and male students were tired of having to encourage getting more females into the demanding Comprehensive course, only to have practically all the females drop out. Once Kestral proves she's seriously going to see her education through, they begin to accept her.
  • Jumped At the Call: Sometimes seeming to beat the Call to the punch.
  • Karma Houdini: Brutally subverted when...
  • Karmic Jackpot: The Fae Lord sets a hunt for Quentyn, who just happens to be a protected race AND blessed by a being honoured by the Fae, make this a huge no-no twice over. He ends up getting triple the normal punishment: three boons for Quentyn to choose.
  • Kid Hero: Quentyn's a youngster when he becomes a Questor. This is used against the Archivist's Guild later on.
  • Kill It with Fire: A simple Lux application by our hero can turn a simple candle flame into an impressive shortranged flamethrower attack.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Quentyn's first time seeing a cow.
  • The Lost Woods: Where the squire says they can take refuge
  • Mage Killer: The rat-wights eat lux, which in racoonan society is extremely dangerous. Then there are dragons, who were clearly built to fight lux users. They're immune to all magic, but they are able to sense it and really, really hate it.
  • Mana: By Any Other Name, in this case, Lux.
  • Meaningful Name: This + Exactly What It Says on the Tin = Wildcard.
  • Mercy Kill: Quentyn must do this to the mortally-wounded Ember.
  • Mood Whiplash: First Quentyn and his friends suffer defeat, bereavement and injury. Then they realize their failure has had wider consequences than they suspected, and they have to go on the run because they're afraid the victims will blame them. Elsewhere, events are unfolding that seem to prove their fears entirely justified. And then without warning the scene shifts to... this strip.
  • Morph Weapon: Wildcard can add this to it's long list of abilities
  • Naked People Are Funny: Admit it, you laughed, You Bastard. Poor Quentyn.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: His impressive heroics eventually changes that.
  • Never Land: The elves, with an unpleasant twist.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Quentyn and the second dragon.
  • Oh Crap: Done a number of times, but most prominently by the Princeling when he finds out that, the moment he called the Wild Hunt on the "hairy little mortal", whose race and mystical cowlick made him taboo for such twice over, he completely and irrefutably screwed himself.

It can't be... I waited decades...I made sure you were all long gone...WHY ARE YOU HERE???

    • And here's one from Quentyn. Beware, spoilers:
    • Earlier, Quentyn facing the Rat King and its horde of shadow wights.

Did you ever know you were going to die?

It was the bleakest, emptiest victory of my life.