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Stopping for Direction
Order of the Stick comic
OOTS0698
Comic no. 698
Date published 10 January 2010
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"Stuck in the Sand Trap" "Escape Clause"
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Stuck in a dead end, the Order makes plans to reconnoiter the cities of the Western Continent in hopes of finding adventurers spending large amounts of money on new items.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

Roy: Goddamn it, I hate dead ends!
Belkar: Said the cold hard ground to the falling fighter.
Roy: Do we have any ideas at all, or are we just going to sit and stare at the sand for the rest of the campaign??

Panel 2, Page 1

Elan: Hey, we could go back to the Oracle! I bet she would know where it is!
Haley: I think Belkar may have stabbed him, honey.
Roy: Oh! Yeah, but he got better.
Haley: Better enough to have forgiven Belkar for stabbing him?
Roy: ...Point
Belkar: Why would I stab an Oracle?
Belkar: Wait, what am I saying? Why wouldn't I stab an Oracle?

Panel 3, Page 1

Durkon: We could try ta find Serini.
Roy: I guess...but she could be anywhere in the world, or even on another plane. Or dead!

Panel 4, Page 1

Durkon: Aye, but Vaarsuvius develop'd some keen people-findin' spells. 'Fore 'e went wonky thar fer a while.
Haley: That's true. None of them have worked on Girard so far, but he's probably better warded than a halfling rogue would be.
Roy: Hmmm. Well, I don't think we risk very much by trying. Sounds good.

Panel 5, Page 1

Roy: What do you say, V?
Vaarsuvius: "Us."

Panel 6, Page 1

Roy: Please tell me this isn't about that bird again.
Vaarsuvius: Draketooth's illusion said that it would "notify both her and us", with "her" presumably the halfling.
Vaarsuvius: I would have noticed it earlier, but I do not normally pay attention to pronouns.

Panel 7, Page 1

Roy: OK, so... what? What does that get us?
Vaarsuvius: If there is an "us" to notify rather than a "me", then presumably he is referring to a group of which the halfling is not a member. His own confederates, perhaps.

Panel 8, Page 1

Haley: He did mention a betting pool. That implies more than two people.
Roy: So he has a bunch of allies sitting around in his dungeon. Again, so what?
Haley: Not "sitting around"—the wager was for cash.
Roy: ...And gold pieces are useless if you never go out to spend them.

Panel 9, Page 1

Haley: Well, they're shiny. That counts for a lot. But yeah.
Roy: Brilliant! So whoever his allies are, they likely make at least occasional trips outside for supplies and such.
Vaarsuvius: He certainly does not seem to be the type to rely upon clerical aid to produce food magically.

Panel 10, Page 1

Durkon: But whar? Thar're prob'bly hundreds o' villages borderin' tha desert.
Haley: It would make sense to go to the biggest city. Not only would they be lost in the crowd, but they could get all of their stuff in one place.

Panel 11, Page 1

Belkar: Not that I don't love raining on your logic parade, but what are the chances someone is actually making a supply trip right now?
Haley: Better than you'd think—since one of them has 10,000 gp burning a hole in their purse!

Panel 1, Page 2

Roy looks at the map of the Western Continent.
Roy: With the volatile political situation around here, there aren't THAT many cities for us to check.
Roy: I count three, four... five, plus back to Sansedge for good measure.
Durkon: Once we leave tha desert, I can use me Wind Walk spell to move us from one to tha next quickly.
Roy: You can check the market for anyone buying food in bulk, while the rest of us check out the magic item shops or any other place where someone can drop a lot of money quickly.

Panel 2, Page 2

Elan: I'll check the taverns!
Vaarsuvius: I shall investigate any mage guilds or the like.
Haley: I'll make contact with the local thieves.
Belkar: Dibs on the brothels!

Panel 3, Page 2

Haley: Belkar!
Roy: No, it's a good idea. These people spend all their time cooped up together.
Belkar: You get a weekend pass with ten grand in your hand, you're gonna want a little somethin' somethin' before you have to head back.

Panel 4, Page 2

Roy: But you have to check prostitutes for both genders.
Belkar: Fine, but don't say I don't ever make sacrifices for the team.
Roy: You don't ever make sacrifices for the team.
Belkar: ...True.

Panel 5, Page 2

Roy: OK, well... I think we have a plan.
Elan: Hooray!!
Vaarsuvius: I hesitate to raise the question, but what if any of the many assumptions we are making turn out to be inaccurate? What if they, for example, teleport to Cliffport for their supplies?

Panel 6, Page 2

Roy: Then we're screwed, obviously.
Roy: But it's still better than trying to scan every square inch of half a million square miles of sand.
Roy: If we come up with something better, we go with that. But along the way, we cast every spell we know to contact Serini—and buy any additional magic we can find that would help us search for the Gate.

Panel 7, Page 2

Vaarsuvius: Hmmm. A scroll of Discern Location would be most helpful.
Roy: And in the morning, we Send to Hinjo. Keep him in the loop.
Haley: The nearest edge of the desert is only four days to the north-northeast. If we start walking now.
Elan: No reason to stick around here then. Lead the way!
In the foreground, Mr. Scruffy notices a green glow.

Panel 8, Page 2

The green glow reveals a scrying eye.

Panel 9, Page 2

Mr. Scruffy runs away.

D&D Context Edit

  • Discern Location is an 8th level spell which allows the caster to know the location of a creature of object, piercing through most magical and non-magical means of avoiding detection.
  • Sending allows short communication across arbitrary distances. The recipient may respond if they so desire. However there is a twenty-five word maximum to all communications.
  • The magical eye in the last two or three panels is the business end of a Scrying spell, which allows the caster to see and hear another creature from any distance. Normally the spell is not visible to the target without a Detect Scrying spell, like Eugene used in #292.

Trivia Edit

  • Belkar in panel 1, page 1, reminds Roy of how he died in #443.
  • In panel 6, page 1, Roy thinks when Vaarsuvius said "Us" V was talking about Blackwing due to the confusion with the first person plural pronoun in #674.
  • In the same panel, V notes that V does not pay attention to pronouns, a reference to the running gag concerning Vaarsuvius' ambiguous gender and how V never uses any pronouns that might reveal it.
  • Haley's map of the Western Continent shown in this strip contains most of the geographical information known about that landmass. It is worth noting that as no such map has ever been presented of the continent on which most of the action has taken place, the reader actually knows a lot more about the geography of the Western Continent (and the Dwarven Lands on the Northern Continent) than they do about the "Main Continent", whatever it's name may be. It is also possible that the Northern Continent is the Main Continent.
  • The Scrying Eye belongs to Zz'dtri, according to Rich Burlew.

External Links Edit

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