Advanced (S)wordplay
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 761
Date published 24 November 2010
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Elan and Tarquin have a dramatic pun-duel on the roof of the grandstands.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Elan charges, Tarquin evades, "woosh!"
Tarquin: However isn't this just a little... premature?
Elan: I've been called that lots of times, but it doesn't stop me from doing what's right.
Elan: And the word is "immature", Dad. Immature.

Panel 2

Tarquin: Come now, Elan. Must we resort to crude physical force?
Elan: No, you can surrender!

Panel 3

Elan misses Tarquin, "swinganamiss!"
Tarquin: Surrender to whom? Elan, this is my country.
Elan: You can surrender to me! And then we'll go talk to Haley and figure out what to do next.

Panel 4

Tarquin effortlessly evades Elans attacks
Tarquin: This is futile, Elan. As a bard, you clearly don't have any combat skills worth mentioning.
Elan: Maybe, but I can still make—

Panel 5

Elan jumps toward Tarquin
Elan: —an off-Spring Attack!
Tarquin: Very well, I suppose I gave you the prerequisite for that...

Panel 6

Tarquin draws a dagger and parries, "klink!
Elan: *gasp!*
Tarquin: ...since my seed clearly had adequate Mobility.

Panel 7

Elan presses the attack and Tarquin parries, "klink! klink! klink!"
Tarquin: Son, I'm glad we got this chance to clear the heir.
Elan: Then you got the thrust of my objection?
Tarquin: A-parent-ly.
Elan: Well, my meaning was clear-cut.

Panel 8

Elan stands on the balustrade and attacks, with Tarquin parrying "klink! klink! klink! klink!"
Tarquin: Are you enjoying the parade?
Elan: I'm on the fence.
Tarquin: I think it's been a rousing successor.
Elan: Then you'll have to thank the Grand Martial.

Panel 9

Fight in profile. In the background are 12 of the 30 slaves set on fire for the "Elan" sign.
Tarquin: Looks like I've procreated quite a stir.
Elan: Don't worry, we'll finish this riposte-haste.
Tarquin: Are you sure? Swordfighting can be a precise scion-ce.
Elan: Perhaps, but I've gotten quite smashing at it.

Panel 10

The fight is getting frenetic, Tarquin still parries all of Elan's attacks, "klink! klink! klink! klink! klink! klink! klink! klink! klink! klink!"
Elan: I'll make you épée for your crimes!
Tarquin: I take issue with your tone.
Elan: —and I'll foil your evil plans!
Tarquin: Then I wonder what I've begotten myself into.

Panel 11

They pause.
Tarquin: Also, "foil" is less of a pun than it is a word derivation. We say someone "foiled" a plan because they defeated them—as with a foil.
Elan: Really?

Panel 12

Tarquin disarms Elan, "kaTANG!"
Tarquin: No.
Tarquin: The etymologies are unrelated.

D&D Context Edit

  • Spring Attack is a Feat which allows the character to move both before and after an attack. The prerequisites are a 13 Dexterity score, the Dodge Feat and, as Tarquin quips, the Mobility Feat.
  • Tarquin's ability to counter Elan's puns nullifies his Dashing Swordsman class feature which allows him to use his Charisma to modify attack rolls when making a witty quip.
  • Tarquin was able to disarm Elan despite using a smaller weapon, which incurs a -4 penalty.

Trivia Edit

  • The etymologies are actually likely related. Some sources list French "feuille" (thin sheet of metal) as the possible origin, while suggesting that it could also be from French "refouler", meaning to turn back, or defeat the purpose of. Other sources definitively give the idea of "foiling the purpose of the blade" as the origin of the term, and describe the word "foil" for any blunted, practice blade.

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