|The Linear Guild|
"Destructive unnecessary conflict is pretty much all they do."
Crippled, if not destroyed
The Linear Guild is the rival organization of the Order of the Stick, specifically designed to be the Order's evil counterpart.
The Guild was assembled by Nale when he was hired by Xykon to kill the Order of the Stick. Nale also intended to claim the Talisman of Dorukan of which Xykon was unaware. The Order foiled their plans and two of the three core members (Nale, Sabine and Thog) were apprehended, and Celia guided them to the nearest town.
As of the most recent strip, at least five members of the guild have been killed (Yikyik, Yokyok, Yukyuk, Zz'dtri, Nale and possibly Thog), while three members have deserted the guild (Pompey, Leeky Windstaff, and Hilgya, after a one night stand with Durkon.) Following Nale's death, Thog's defeat, and Sabine's banishment to the lower planes they are unlikely to be operating in any capacity, though it remains to be seen if the scattered survivors are seeking to reform.
- Nale - Lawful Evil Human Male Fighter/Rogue/Sorcerer (Enchantment). Aged 22 at time of death, Nale was the leader, founder and only human member of the Linear Guild and was the opposite of his twin brother, Elan. He was killed by his father, General Tarquin after admitting killing Malack and refusing his father's protection, and his body was disintegrated by Laurin Shattersmith.
- Sabine - Chaotic Evil Succubus Rogue. The second-in-command of the Guild and the opposite of Haley Starshine. She is revealed to be affliated with the Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission.
- Thog - Chaotic Evil Half-Orc Male Barbarian/Fighter. A childlike killer, Thog was the Guild's main frontline fighter and the opposite to Roy Greenhilt. Imprisoned in the Empire of Blood for public urination, he fought several bouts in the arena, becoming the champion and a crowd favorite until his eventual duel with Roy, at the end of which his fate was left unknown as he was buried under the rubble of the arena.
Dungeon of Dorukan
- Yikyik - Chaotic Evil Kobold Male Ranger. Yikyik was the Linear Guild's tracker and the opposite of Belkar Bitterleaf, who later killed the kobold and turned his head into a hat.
- Hilgya Firehelm - Chaotic Neutral Dwarf Female Cleric. Introduced as Nale's spiritual advisor and the opposite of Durkon Thundershield, Hilgya joined the Linear Guild with the intent to claim the Talisman of Dorukan in Loki's name. After being dropped over the pit and leaving Durkon Thundershield, she was not seen again until over a year later in Firmament, carrying a baby that looked suspiciously like her former paramour.
- Zz'dtri - Neutral Evil Drow Elf Male Wizard. The Linear Guild's wizard and opposite to Vaarsuvius, Zz'drti was dragged away by lawers Mr. Jones and Mr. Phil Rodriguez after being pointed out as "A violation of a certain popular fantasy author's intellectual property". After a long leave of absence, Zz'dtri unexpectedly returned to the guild, infiltrating the Empire of Blood as Ambassador Polozius. Arrested by the guards after his fight with Vaarsuvius, he was returned to Nale's custody and fought the Order at Girard's Pyramid, where he was killed by the High Priest of Hel after he was released from Malack's thrall.
- Pompey - Neutral Evil Half-Elf Male Wizard (Conjuration). Aged 45, Pompey was an apprentice wizard from Warthog's School of Wizardry and Sorcery hired to replace Zz'dtri as Vaarsuvius' counterpart. Tasked with watching Elan while he was imprisoned, he and Leeky Windstaff deserted the Guild without warning.
- Yokyok - Kobold Male. The son of Yikyik, Yokyok was hired by the guild to take his father's spot, an offer he accepted in order to avenge his death at the hands of Belkar Bitterleaf. A reference to The Princess Bride, he repeatedly spouted Indigo Montoya's signature line, and Belkar even parodied Count Rogan's "STOP SAYING THAT!" in response. Ironically, he was indirectly killed by Belkar, who while under the effects of the Greater Mark of Justice and unable to deal lethal damage, posted a bounty on kobold heads on the tavern, resulting in Yokyok being swarmed by the nearby adventurers.
- Leeky Windstaff - Neutral Evil Gnome Male Druid. Hired as Hilgya's replacement after she left, Leeky was first seen giving life to trees and fighting Durkon and Vaarsuvius, and after Nale infiltrated the Order of the Stick was tasked along with Pompey to watch over Elan in the Cliffport Prison. He and Pompey deserted the guild without warning.
Empire of Blood
- Zz'dtri - See Dungeon of Dorukan.
- Qarr - Lawful Evil Imp Male. Having formerly worked with Daimyo Kubota on behalf of the Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission, the imp served as Zz'dtri's familiar until the drow's demise at the hands of the High Priest of Hel.
- Yukyuk - Kobold Male Ranger/Rogue. Hired as the third replacement for Belkar, he was a crossbow dual-wielding ranger who rode a vicious dog named Sir Scraggly. Unlike his predecessors, he was not killed by Belkar, but was instead dominated by Vaarsuvius during the fight against Zz'dtri, and was later used by Belkar as Mr. Scruffy's litter and by the Order in general to activate the traps at Girard's Pyramid. He was killed by Zz'dtri when he blasted the pyramid with two Empowered Vitriolic Spheres, accidentally shielding Mr. Scruffy from the blast.
- Tarquin - Lawful Evil Human Male. Nale and Elan's father and the General of the Empire of Blood, Tarquin took Thog's spot in the Guild at Girard's Gate, not only wanting to see his son's leadership for himself, but also to test himself against Roy. He left the Guild (and effectively destroyed it) when he killed Nale.
- Malack - Lawful Evil Albino Lizardfolk Vampire Cleric. Minister, High Priest and spiritual advisor for the Empire of Blood, Malack was reluctantly convinced to join the Linear Guild due to his grudge against Nale for killing his children. He was later killed by Nale after the destruction of the gate.
- Kilkil - Lawful Neutral Kobold Male. Tarquin's accountant and secretary, he was pressed into joining the Linear Guild along with Tarquin because they needed a kobold follower. He left the Linear Guild along with Tarquin when Nale was killed.
|OotS counterpart||Dungeon of Dorukan||Cliffport||Empire of Blood||Girard's Gate|
|Mr. Scruffy||N/A||N/A||Sir Scraggly||N/A|
|Durkon Thundershield||Hilgya Firehelm||Leeky Windstaff||N/A||Malack|
The Dungeon of Dorukan
The Linear Guild first met the Order of the Stick after Elan opened a mysterious door and revealed the Guild. it was soon obvious that Nale was evil and had been hired by Xykon to kill the Order. However, Nale also wanted the talisman for his own. Despite Haley not trusting the Guild, the party decided to unite and find the talisman, and in return Nale said he would help them destroy Xykon.
While Elan took to Nale and Durkon and Hilgya became friendly, Haley and Belkar despised their counterparts. The two parties divided into three groups, each one heading for a different elemental sigil that unlocked the doorway to the Talisman of Dorukan. After taking the talisman, the Guild turned on the Order. Nale stabbed Elan through the chest and Sabine drained Durkon of life before they all escaped using Zz'dtri's Fly spell. The Order was trapped behind a wall of ice, doomed to be killed by hordes of rampaging monsters. However, as Eugene's prophecy predicted, Haley shot Nale, causing the talisman to smash and the Fly spell to end. Hilgya fell into the pit of monsters. During the following battle, Yikyik was killed, Zz'dtri taken away by lawyers, and Sabine escaped. After being healed, Elan captured Nale while Thog was stopped. Durkon was forgotten by the Order but found Hilgya. The two made love before Durkon decided that they couldn't be together because of their vastly different attitudes to Dwarven life and honour. Nale and Thog were taken to prison by the sylph Celia, but were later broken out by Sabine.
After escaping from the dungeon, the remaining Guild found themselves short on members. They recruited new counterparts for Durkon, Belkar and Vaarsuvius. V's new counterpart, named Pompey, went to the same wizarding school as Julia Greenhilt, Roy's sister, and had a crush on her. Nale formed a plan based around her kidnapping and used magic to appear to Roy and told him what he had done to Julia. The Order came to Cliffport where Durkon's counterpart, Leeky Windstaff, was encountered by Durkon and Vaarsuvius, where he had created an army of living trees. He defaeted V, but was eventually knocked out by Durkon. Because of his Mark of Justice, Belkar could not kill Yokyok within the city, but tricked a crowd of adventurers into slaughtering him for him. Roy ventured into the wearhouse Julia was being kept alone, but was unwittingly ambushed by Sabine and Pompey. While he was fighting Sabine Julia escaped. Roy through Sabine through a window, but she escaped by disguising herself as a member of the CPPD.
While no one was looking, Nale and Thog kidnapped Elan and knocked him out. Nale cut off his very own goatee to frame Elan as himself and Elan, suspected as Nale, was taken into custody. Meanwhile, Nale (disguised as Elan) infiltrated the Order of the Stick and returned to Azure City. Elan used Thog to break out of jail, and the two of them followed them back in an attempt to stop Nale.
Whilst in Azure City, Nale learnt of the existance of the five gates. Haley, who was in love with Elan, fell for Nale when he charmed her with a meal for two, after which he planned to kill her. Sabine, seeing the two together, became angry with Nale, bursting in on him at the same time as Elan and Thog. However, it was revealed she was not angry about Nale cheating on her, but about him sacrificing Haley without her. The Order won the following battle, and Nale, Sabine and Thog were left in Azure City prison. When the prison tower was destroyed in the coming battle, the three escaped to strike another day.
Empire of Blood
The Gladiatorial champion was revealed to be Thog in strip 787. Zz'dtri was disguised as elven ambassador Polozius until strip 789 (with Qarr as his familiar) who upon revealing himself turned Haley to stone. Yukyuk (riding Sir Scraggly) appeared in strip 790. Sabine was disguised as a guard (called Dave) until strip 793, when she took Elan to see Nale. Nale is of the belief that Elan followed him there, only to learn that Elan believe Nale followed him. After a short conversation Elan escapes and a battle ensues Sabrine and Nale, following, running into Durkon who is overpowered, but reveals he was only there to meet Malack. The enraged cleric then nearly kills Nale who is forced to retreat along with Sabrine.
Meanwhile Roy has been locked in gladiatorial combat with Thog, and after initially being overpowered, tricks the angered barbarian into collapsing the roof of the arena onto himself.
V has during all this been battling Zz'dtri with no success. The drow has designed his entire build to be capable of enduring any damage that his counterpart can produce. Realising this V use mental control on Yukyuk and uses the ranger as a weapon, triumphing over Zz'dtri using his weakness to archery, with the drow surviving only by forcing V into another plane before the final blow can be struck.
Using a belt of strength that had landed on him during the fighting Mr Scruffy had disabled Sir Scraggly; by forcing him through a wall.
With the Order departing to continue their search for Girard's gate, Tarquin captures Nale (who had in fact remained at the palace invisible to spy on them) and forces him to reveal his purpose (attempting to find Girard's gate) and instead of killing him, brings in a healed Zz'dtri and enlists himself, Malack (highly reluctantly) and Kilkil to oppose; Roy, Durkon and Belkar respectively, but leaving Nale in command impressed by his son remaining hidden from him for so long.
The new Linear Guild arrived at Girard's Pyramid not long after the Order of the Stick, following the signal of the rune Tarquin left on the Magic Carpet he lended to the Order. Zz'dtri opens up the battle with a pair of Vitrolic Spheres, and the Order of the Stick flies out to engage them, but are pinned down by Malack's Control Winds spell. Tarquin then activates the glamer on his armor, disguising himself as Thog, then flies in to attack.
Tarquin managed to take on the Order of the Stick singlehandedly, though his fighting style tipped Roy off to the fact that he's not Thog. Annoyed by his showboating, however, Malack launched a Flame Strike. This disrupted the battle long enough for the Order of the Stick to fall back into the pyramid, and Malack flew down and confronted Tarquin over his stalling to take a measure of Elan's battle prowess while, at the same time, forcing Malack to fight alongside the murderer of his children. Tarquin apologized, and the Linear Guild entered the pyramid to follow the Order of the Stick.
After turning the corpses of Girard Draketooth's family into mummies, the Linear Guild descended into the pyramid, using the mummies to set off the traps below. The Order of the Stick, however, had prepared a trap of their own. Haley fired an arrow at Tarquin, who catches it. However, the arrow had a smokestick attached to it, which goes off when Tarquin grabs it. The smoke confused the Linear Guild, and almost causes Nale to fall into a buzzsaw trap. The confusion was made worse when Durkon attacks with Holy Word, which banished Sabine, deafened Nale and Zz'dtri, and paralyzed Kilkil. Meanwhile, behind them, a door slid shut, cutting off Malack and Qarr.
Nale ran ahead to grab his fallen sword, but was jumped by Belkar. Nale managed to cast Suggestion on Belkar, but Belkar, who was also deafened by the Holy Word, couldn't hear Nale's commands, and kept attacking him. With Malack cut off, the mummies were left uncontrolled, and Roy managed to cut them all down. With the battle going south, and Nale ultimately incapacitated, Tarquin used sign language to get Zz'dtri to teleport them all out of the pyramid.
Outside the Pyramid, the Linear Guild regrouped and returned, while Malack engaged Belkar inside the pyramid. Malack paralyzed Belkar with Hold Person, and started to drink his blood, but was stopped by Durkon's Mass Death Ward. Durkon, now knowing that Malack was a vampire, refused any deals with him, so they engaged in combat. It ended with Malack catching Durkon in a grapple, then using a secret code word to dispel the Mass Death Ward. Malack then began drinking Durkon's blood, and Durkon's attempts to escape were to no avail. So instead, Durkon used his last words to make a last request to Malack to not kill his friends too. Malack successfully turned Durkon into a vampire, but honored the last request by freeing Belkar from his domination, and retreated to regroup with the rest of the Linear Guild.
At this point, with the Order of the Stick crippled by the loss of Durkon and Vaarsuvius, Tarquin left Malack under Nale's control and withdrew. Nale and the rest of the Linear Guild followed the Order of the Stick into the Pyramid once again, but got held up by Girard's Illusion Runes. They reached the center of the pyramid first, but found nothing but a pillar that says, "Sorry, your gate is in another pyramid." Angered, Nale ordered the Guild to leave the Pyramid. Malack noticed the Order of the Stick hiding behind an illusion of a wall created by Elan, but ignored them.
When the Pyramid suddenly started rumbling, however, Qarr got them all out of there before the pyramid collapsed. Nale was angered that the Gate was there after all, and it was now destroyed. And worse, the Order of the Stick was still alive. Nale ordered Zz'dtri to send his summoned daemon down into the pit to attack them, and Durkon, at Malack's order, did the same with his summoned devil. With the fiends occupied and Tarquin and Kilkil elsewhere, Nale finally unleashed his ace in the hole by having Zz'dtri dispel Malack's Protection From Daylight spell and ultimately killed him.
Durkon, now freed from Malack's thrall, refused to join the Linear Guild and instead attacked them, snapping Zz'dtri's neck. Nale fled with Dimension Door, but soon ran into his father, who was bringing his army to the location of the Gate. However, with the Gate already destroyed, Tarquin admitted that Elan won, and was already prepared to offer any aid to get them to the next Gate, but Elan refused.
Nale took this opportunity to gloat at how he killed Malack, angering Tarquin, who dragged him off for a private talk. Nale refused Tarquin's final offer for Nale to rejoin him, wanting absolutely nothing from his father: No nepotism, no charity, no pity. Tarquin granted his wish by killing him. Nale's corpse was then disintegrated by Laurin Shattersmith, effectively finishing off the Linear Guild.