Improbable Causes
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 584
Date published 13 August 2008
Comic chronology
← Previous Next →
"Love's Sweet Sting" "Immaterial Components"
Comic list
View the comic
View discussion

Qarr pulls off the highly improbable feat of summoning a Pit Fiend to his aid.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

Hinjo and company, still veiled as trees, surround Elan, Qarr, and Therkla.
Hinjo: OK, Vaarsuvius, you better drop the illusion now.
Elan: Hey, I know someone back on our boat named Vaarsuvius too! Neat!
Vaarsuvius: Much to my displeasure, no such person exists on the vessel in question at this time.
Vaarsuvius: Dismiss Veil!

Panel 2, Page 1

Hinjo: You are under arrest for two counts of Conspiracy to Commit Murder and one count of Consorting with Devils.
Therkla: Hinjo?!?
Therkla: Elan, I said to come alone! You set me up!
Elan: What? No! I didn't! I didn't know anything!
Vaarsuvius: I will gladly corroborate; he does not, in fact, know anything.
Vaarsuvius: At all.

Panel 3, Page 1

Lien: You can blame me, if you'd like. After your little puppet show on the orc island, it was pretty easy for me to put two and two together.
Lien: Contrary to popular opinion, Good is not always dumb.
Qarr: Hey, stay back with that spear!

Panel 4, Page 1

Lien: Actually, it was your... uh... distinctive speech pattern...that made me suspicious.
Elan (whispering): It's OK, Lien, you can say that it's his red-and-black speech balloon.

Panel 5, Page 1

Lien: OK, fine, his red-and-black speech balloon.
Lien: Your voice was the one that implied that you had used Charm Monster many times, which fit in with the unusual aquatic humanoid attacks that the fleet had been suffering.
Lien: And the ninja had come out of the same hut. It seemed likely that the two of you were plotting against the fleet.

Panel 6, Page 1

Lien: So, given the ninja's attraction to Elan—
Therkla: How did you know about that?!?
Lien: Uh, I have eyes? Good, not dumb.

Panel 7, Page 1

Lien: Anyway, given that, we kept a close eye on Elan, waiting for you to make contact.
Elan: Why didn't you tell me anything about it, though?
Lien: Because we wanted it to work! Seriously, how many times do I need to go over the, "Good, not dumb." thing?

Panel 8, Page 1

Hinjo: Lien, please take this woman into custody.
Lien: With pleasure.
Lien puts Therkla in shackles.
Elan: Wait, you don't have to do that! She wants to join the Good Guys now.

Panel 9, Page 1

Hinjo: Elan, it doesn't work like that. She can't just tell us she's going to put on a White Hat and expect us to let her go.
Elan: What if she told you who her master was? That always works on "Law & Order: Special Encounters Unit".

Panel 10, Page 1

Cut to a Law & Order scene
John Munch: We've got a situation, people. Guy's walking through open plains, and BOOM! He rolls a 00 on the Random Encounter Table.
Olivia Benson: "Roll twice and combine"? That poor bastard.
Elliot Stabler: Eh, he brought it on himself.

Panel 11, Page 1

Hinjo: I imagine we might be able to work out some sort of reduced sentence.
Therkla: Wait a minute, who said I was willing to name names? I'm half orc, not half-narc.

Panel 1, Page 2

Hinjo: It's OK, we already know that Daimyo Kubota is your master, we just need you to confirm it before the magistrate.
Therkla: So he can be hanged for treason? Quitting is one thing, selling out a man who has been my mentor for years is another.

Panel 2, Page 2

Therkla: Forget it. I may not have a lot of honor left, but I can do that for him, at least.
Hinjo: Take her away, then.
Lien: What about you, imp? Anything to say before we send you back to Hell.

Panel 3, Page 2

Lien: ...
Lien: Hey, imp! I'm talking to you!
Vaarsuvius: He will not answer. He is obviously in a summoning trance.

Panel 4, Page 2

Lien: Summoning?? Can we stop it?
Vaarsuvius: Your concern is a waste of effort, I have been carefully monitoring his futile attempt.
Vaarsuvius: I estimate no greater than a 10% chance of him able to call on another devil.
Elan: Oh, OK. Whew!

Panel 5, Page 2

Vaarsuvius: Further, even were he successful, the majority of devils that might possibly respond are well within an acceptable range of difficulty for the forces we have arranged here.
Vaarsuvius: Frankly, I relish the opportunity to garner a few experience points in such a conflict. The chance of him summoning a devil that would actually put us in mortal danger is infinitesimally low.

Panel 6, Page 2

Qarr is surrounded by a red aura.
Elan: Like, a one-in-a-million chance???
Vaarsuvius: Well, not precisely, but the chances are certainly in the vicinity of—

Panel 7, Page 2

A colossal pit fiend apears, "pop!", its head and torso rising well above the tallest trees on the forested island. In the foreground is the skiff Elan used to reach the island and in the background is the Azure Fleet.
Pit Fiend: RAAAWWRRR!!!

Panel 8, Page 2

Lien: Twelve Gods...
Elan: A 10% chance is pretty unlikely, but everyone knows that a one-in-a-million chance is a sure thing!
Vaarsuvius: *sigh*
Vaarsuvius: And once again, Probability proves itself willing to sneak into a back alley and service Drama as would a copper-piece harlot.

D&D Context Edit

  • Veil is a 6th level wizard spell which changes the appearance of any number of creatures in close proximity into anything the caster desires, including visual, tactile and olfactory components to the illusion.
  • As Detective Benson notes in panel 10, there is a 1% chance on the Random Encounter table that the result will be group of two encounters.
  • According to the Standard Reference Document, Imps do not have a Summon Devil ability, so the actual D&D odds of an imp summoning a pit fiend are nil. He is also a sorcerer, but it is unlikely that Qarr could summon such a powerful devil with a spell.
  • Pit Fiends are among the most powerful Devils in D&D, subject only to the arch-devils who rule Baator (The Nine Hells). They have multiple spell-like abilities, defensive abilities as well as powerful melee combat capabilities with their claws, wings, tail and bite.

Trivia Edit

  • In the 3rd panel Lien references the 1987 Mel Brooks sci-fi parody Spaceballs, when Dark Helmet, played by Rick Moranis, says, "So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb." This line was referenced before, in the title to #193, Because Good is Dumb, in that case reinforcing the idea, whereas here it is turned on its head.
  • The characters in Panel 10 parody (from left to right) John Munch, Olivia Benson, Elliot Stabler and Fin Tutuola, from the TV series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Note that Much carries a hand crossbow in a shoulder holster and Tutuola is portrayed as a dwarf in this D&D parody of the show. This is the only appearance of Munch, Benson, Stabler and Tutuola in the comics.
  • This is the first appearance of the pit fiend.
  • This is the first appearance of the two soldiers, Therkla's Guards.

External Links Edit

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.