|Mr. Stiffly! MR. STIFFLY! O-CHUL!!|
The Monster In The Darkness, alternatively known as the Creature in the Darkness or the Thing in the Shadow, is an enigmatic, childlike monster who was originally designated as Xykon's secret weapon. It is also referred to as Monster-san affectionately by O-Chul and as Great Beast in Shadow by Oona. He is considered a member of Team Evil, though he seems to also have his own agenda.
Little is known about the creature, as it has been hidden by Xykon in magical darkness since the beginning of the comics. It is an as-yet unnamed creature of indeterminate species that is kept by Xykon as a big vicious monster to reveal at the last moment to thwart the heroes. According to Rich Burlew it is not a unique creature type made up for the story and can potentially be discerned by the audience with the clues provided in the comics.
Start of DarknessEdit
According to the expansion book Start of Darkness, the Monster originally comes from the deep rainforest, likely a hint on a standard monster environment; but is then caught by Jenkins and an unnamed monocle-wearing hunter (who comments how unusual it is that one of his species would be in a rainforest, and how strange it is that it can talk). It later came to be in the hands of a circus group, who showed him off as part of their show. At least one audience member was absolutely horrified and disgusted to the point of nausea by its appearance. Another audience member said it was "somehow beautiful." A little girl said that she "felt funny looking at it." Redcloak said he knew what the creature was and that it could escape easily if it wanted to, effectively saying that the monster is not a unique creature. Redcloak steals it away (without releasing it from its box) and Xykon afterwards takes charge of it, charming it to eat Redcloak and spit out the phylactery on the chance that Redcloak betrays him.
Dungeon Crawlin' FoolsEdit
Since Xykon didn't have the chance to call the monster out of the darkness in his first battle with the Order of the Stick in the Dungeon of Dorukan, and he refuses to reveal it until the climax, it remains hidden in darkness visible only as two glowing yellow eyes.
No Cure for the Paladin BluesEdit
When outside, the monster is forced by Xykon and Redcloak to hide under a pink Hello Kitty umbrella that spreads magical darkness. However, it desires to come out of the shadow, or be otherwise illuminated, even going as far as to beg a group of lantern archons to attack it with their damaging light rays in order to light it up.
Although The MitD is supposed to be the ultimate weapon at the disposal of the lich Xykon, he is terrified of practically everything, including the dark. When Xykon claims that a silver dragon is less frightening than the Monster, Redcloak himself corrected Xykon on this matter by saying "Sir, he's about as scary as musty styrofoam". By all accounts, it isn't really that vicious, possibly due to so much time in the shadows waiting for its grand entrance. Rather, it is timid, has low self-esteem, is prone to inane observations, displays innocence and childish behavior, seems to suffer from nyctophobia and appears to be completely oblivious about most things around it. For example, it was unable to recognize Dorukan's Gate, even though it was in front of it. This has become a recurring joke in the strip—every time one of the evil characters mentions the gates, the monster is ignorant of what the gate means or even its existence.
The Monster in the Darkness is very powerful but seems to be completely ignorant of this fact. Despite calling it a "bozo", even Xykon has implied that it is very formidable, a suggestion which is verified in its "battle" against Miko Miyazaki where she hits the Monster with a full round of attacks. While both Roy and Hinjo were previously severely injured by such attacks, the Monster merely said it "tickled," implying a massive damage reduction. This also occurs in the next book when Belkar stabs the monster five times, the monster doesn't even notice his attack. It then challenges Miko to a game of "Who Can Hit the Lightest", but subsequently loses said game by knocking Miko and her horse clear through a wall and several miles further, implying a colossal strength on its part. That the monster actually was trying to hit her lightly seems to be confirmed by its disappointment at having "lost."
War and XPsEditMitD hangs back during the Battle of Azure City, childishly throwing a tea party with a stuffed dragon, the dead Roy and paralyzed O-Chul When angered, its shout produces a shockwave loud enough to blow both Haley Starshine and Belkar Bitterleaf off their feet, and intimidate them into making a trade of stew (which it loves) for the bodies of Roy and O-Chul instead of taking them away from the Monster's tea party.
Shortly afterwards, as Haley and Belkar escape with Roy's corpse and O-Chul, the Monster stomps the ground at the direction of one of the Demon Cockroaches ("Like you did when Xykon wouldn't buy you those Transformers"), which results in a massive, ground-cracking earthquake. Despite the fact that the Monster causes the earthquake without any acknowledged effort on its part, it feels tired and hungry after having done so. This may indicate that although the Monster has great powers, its reserves of energy are considerably more limited.
Don't Split the PartyEdit
On the subject of its power, it seems to possess magic as well as great strength. When Xykon is about to kill O-Chul and Vaarsuvius the MitD simply says "Escape" and both of the two adventurers are teleported back to the rest of the party. It is as yet unsure whether or not the MitD actually was the one to teleport them away, due to his lack of being able to repeat this feat. On the other hand, the MitD was somewhat agitated when the adventurers were teleported away, so it may be that the effect was caused by some Wish-like ability rather than a specific teleport ability. Also his eyes glowed when it happened, suggesting the effect was caused by him.
It is revealed during a conversation between the Monster and the imprisoned O-Chul that Xykon tried to feed the Monster live children in an attempt to make him scarier. This failed, however, as the Monster refuses to eat children (or veal) and just dumped them in the trash whenever Xykon's attention was focused elsewhere. It may be noted, children aside, the Monster is not a picky eater - he will happily eat stew and tacos.
The Monster and O-Chul have come to regard each other as friends, going so far as to have O-Chul refer to it as Monster-san since the Monster doesn't know what its own name is.
Blood Runs in the FamilyEdit
MitD has attempted to repeat his feat of teleporting O-Chul and V, to no avail. He also attempted to have Tsukiko scry to locate his friend O-Chul, but this was not possible due to the lingering effects of the Cloister spell cast on Gobbotopia.
When Team Evil travels to the Astral Plane, MitD makes a comment that suggests he is familiar with the plane, and has been there. However, this is surprising to Xykon, possibly meaning it is uncommon for him to be familiar with the Astral Plane.
When they arrive at Girard's Gate, Redcloak wanted to destroy the Order, but MitD argued persuasively to manipulate Xykon into leaving them, saying that O-Chul and Lien were the real threats, and the Order were just there to delay them. This suggests both that MitD's friendship with O-Chul has led him to pursue ends separate from those of Team Evil, as well that he has considerable intelligence.
At the North Pole, MitD showed off his new umbrella, now with ducks instead of Hello Kitty. Oona made several comments about him that might be clues to his identity, including that he could grow to a bigger size, and that he is like something out of a spicy-meat-induced nightmare, but also "magnificent". He is also seen moving through the snow without leaving any tracks. MitD again demonstrated his intelligence by expounding incisively on the state of intra-goblinoid politics. He is also pursuing a subversive course of action: as Team Evil clears the tombs protecting Kraagor's Gate, MitD marks off tombs that they haven't cleared, potentially confounding their efforts to locate the Gate. By the end of the book, they were running out of doors which he had not marked.
Personality and Traits Edit
|Would either of you gentlemen care for another scone? They’re fat-free.|
MitD is described as both disgusting and beautiful. He has a physical body, he breathes with lungs, and he has a mouth with a tongue and teeth. The mouth seems to be large, as Xykon instructs him to "devour [Redcloak] whole". He has a face, and an olfactory organ. He has two binocular eyes which are slightly larger than man-sized, perhaps the size of ogre eyes. He has at least two limbs, at least one of which is prehensile. He seems to have two upper on either side of his head, as when he holds the paint can and brush. He has a personal odor which he frequently apologizes for. He is apparently Medium or Large sized, though Oona thinks he will grow bigger. He is taller than a kobold. He does not weigh so much that Redcloak could not heave both him and the box he was in onto a cart. He sleeps and becomes sleepy.
MitD has an immature personality, which could suggest he is a juvenile of his species, though he has not seemed to grow since his earliest appearance, some 30 years prior to the time of the current strips. He speaks the Common tongue, but the hunters who captured him remarked that this was unusual for his species.
MitD is definitely NOT a: deity, construct, elemental, ooze, plant, undead, or vermin. He is also unlikely to be a non-native outsider, as non-native outsiders do not need sleep and thus would not become sleepy.
MitD is described as being "scarier" than anything in the tower filled with good monsters where Xykon kept Serini's diary. This may mean that his Challenge Rating is greater than an Ancient Silver Dragon (which was present in the library), making his CR 24+.
Powers and Abilities Edit
MitD's exhibited powers are some of the strongest clues to the identity of his species.
- Powerful Attack: Either through great strength or some other ability, when hitting Miko as lightly as possible, MitD launched her and her horse through a wall and far into the distance.
- Strong Defense: MitD did not notice five attacks from Belkar, and felt a tickle when attacked by Miko. This could be the result of strong Damage Resistance, a high Armor Class, high Hit Points, or a combination of all three of these.
- Earthquake: Seeking to stop Belkar and Haley from escaping with Roy's corpse and the paralyzed O-Chul, the Monster stomped on the ground, producing a radiating shockwave which produced rifts in the earth around him. This might have been caused by great strength or by a specific earthquake ability such as that possessed by earth elementals.
- Escape: When O-Chul and V were faced with certain death at the hands of Xykon, MitD's eyes glowed and he spoke the word "Escape". Immediately thereafter, O-Chul and V (but not MitD) were teleported out of Xykon's tower, which was under the effect of the epic-level Cloister spell, to be reunited with their friends off the coast of the Western Continent. There has been much speculation about this ability. In D&D, and elsewhere in Order of the Stick, teleportation requires the caster to travel with the people being teleported. One suggestion is that V's Dimensional Anchor spell missed Xykon and hit MitD, preventing him from teleporting with the others. Other alternatives include the powerful Wish spell, psionic Reality Revision, a clerical Miracle spell, or a Plane Shift spell. The latter is problematic because they traveled to the same plane. There are some other spells and psionic abilities which could also be candidates, particularly Trace Teleport, which would account for sending V back to where they came from.
- Psionics: Some have suggested that MitD possesses psionics since no limbs are visible when he holds objects, or to explain his other powers, though there are some drawbacks to this theory. For instance, Redcloak, who knows what MitD is, had to research whether or not psionics existed in their world. So perhaps if MitD is psionic, his species is not normally so.
- Rain: If MitD has a Wish ability, he might have unknowingly used it to cause it to rain on O-Chul, helping him sleep.
- Shout: MitD stuns Haley and Belkar with a loud shout. It's not clear if this was just a loud shout or if it was a shout attack.
- Affected by Mind Altering Spells: Xykon was able to Command MitD in Start of Darkness, meaning he does not possess immunity to mind-affecting spells, such as that possessed by golems and the undead.
- Levitation: MitD is not shown to leave footprints in the snow outside of Kraagor's Tomb. However, he does leave tracks on the ground when he takes Roy's body and a paralyzed O-Chul to have a tea party.
Weapons and Equipment Edit
- Umbrella of Magical Darkness: MitD has had two of these, first with Hello Kitty and then with ducks.
- Go pieces: MitD learned to play the game of Go from O-Chul, and their set was left behind when O-Chul escaped.
- Paint can and brush: MitD has been painting exes on unsearched doors at Kraagor's Tomb.
Proposed Species Edit
Rich Burlew has stated that the MitD is a species of monster that he did not make up.The following are some species from D&D and other material published prior to strip #100, which have powers which would fit with the published abilities of MitD, specifically the Circus scene in Start of Darkness, the tower fight with Miko, the tea party earthquake, and O-Chul's escape:
- Hagunemnon (Protean) — From the 2001 Epic Level Handbook. The most popular prediction on the GiantITP.com forum.
- Athasian Nightmare Beast — Originally published in the 2002 AD&D 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium Dark Sun Appendix, and updated for D&D 3.0 in the 2002 Monster Manual II. The second most popular pick in the forum.
- Slaad — Originally published in the 1981 AD&D Fiend Folio, and updated for D&D 3.0/3.5 in the 2000/2003 versions of the Monster Manual. The third most popular pick.
- Glabrezu — Originally called a "type III demon", it was first published in the 1976 Eldritch Wizardry supplement for original D&D, and given its current name in the 1977 AD&D Monster Manual. It was updated for D&D 3.0/3.5 in the 2000/2003 Monster Manual.
- Uvuudaum — Also from the Epic Level Handbook.
- Zodar — Published in the 1990 AD&D 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix.
- Hunting Horror — A monster from H.P. Lovecraft's 1927 novel, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, and published in the 1981 Call of Cthulhu role-playing game and subsequent editions of that game.
- Schlock Mercenary's Carbosilicate Amorph — the species of the title character of the web comic Schlock Mercenary.
This list is by no means conclusive, these are simply the creatures that members of the Order of the Stick's forums have decided to be the best, and it may even be probable that the answer is not one of these or even undiscovered.
- The "Hello Kitty" umbrella had fanged Hello Kittys on it.
- When one of the goblins in the Dungeon of Dorukan finds a moldy cheeseburger behind their sock drawer, the MitD says "Dibs!"
- MitD - What We Know
- MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness
- MitD III: You are likely to suggest Tarrasque
- MitD IV: I Can't Believe it's Not Tarrasque
- MitD V: MitD and the Templates of Doom
- MitD VI: The Undiscovered Creature
- MitD 007: GoldenEyes
- MitD VIII: Everything we know about MITD (but were afraid Tarrasque)
- Summon MitD IX: Roll in Section 3a
- MitD X: If I told you, you wouldn't believe me
- MitD XI: A good man
- MitD XII: This Space Intentionally Left Dark
- MitD XIII: Learning is happening
- MitD XIV: High In Protean
- ↑ Comic #477, "Shock and Awwwwww"
- ↑ Comic #474, "The Body Snatcher"
- ↑ Comic #661, "The Path of Least Expectation"
- ↑ Comic #549, " Grueling Ordeal"
- ↑ War and XPs, p. 368
|Xykon • Redcloak • Monster in the Darkness • Tsukiko • Jirix • Oona • Demon-Roaches|
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