A Brief Tribute
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 536
Date published 4 March 2008
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A Brief Tribute to E. Gary Gygax

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

A planetar flies by Roy and Roy's Archon.
Planetar: Clear the way! Stand aside!
Roy: Huh? What's going on? Did some big hero die?
Archon: Something like that.

Panel 2

Gary Gygax appears with a "POP!"

Panel 3

Gary: Huh. You know, last time I was directly involved, we called this place "the Seven Heavens" and the other place "the Nine Hells".
Roy: Oh my gods. Oh my gods. I can't—I don't believe it.

Panel 4

Roy: Sir? I know I don't have the right to speak for everyone who has been impacted by your life, but—well, screw it, I'm doing it anyway:
Roy: Thank you.

Panel 5

Roy: Thank you from every single-classed fighter, every magic-user that needs to memorize their spells in the morning, and hell, every female dark elf cavalier wielding two lances from the back of a unicorn.
Roy: You didn't create us, but we wouldn't exist if weren't for you. None of us would.

Panel 6

Roy: There would be no such thing as adventuring parties or dungeon crawls. And there'd be a whole lot of us who would need to spend more time doing jobs.
Roy: Like normal nine-to-five jobs, where dice aren't a deductable[sic] business expense.
Roy: Those of us lucky enough to spend their time kicking down doors and slaying dragons for a living owe you an extra debt.

Panel 7

Roy: You know, I do have a few questions. Some things that just never made any sense...
Gary: I'd love to help out, son, but I'm just passing through. Figured I'd take a grand tour of all the planes before settling down somewhere.
Gary: (I was considering rolling on a chart to figure out where.)

Panel 8

Archon: Just a word of warning while you're here: Be careful around the Hall of Characters That Died Without a Saving Throw. A lot of guys there are still testy about "Tomb of Horrors".
Gary: Heh, heh, oh, man. Sphere of Annihilation in the statue's mouth. That never got old.

Panel 9

Gary: Anyway thanks for your kind words, but I really must be going now.
Roy: Yeah, yeah, of course. Sorry to hold you up, sir.

Panel 10

Gary walks off stage left.

Panel 11

Archon: You know, I still have all of my First Edition hardbacks. Want to play a game?
Roy: Yeah, OK. Maybe I'll roll up a gnome illusionist.

Panel 12
E. Gary Gygax

Archon: OK, roll 3d6 six times for your stats. In order.

D&D Context Edit

  • Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created D&D in the 1970's. Gary went on to create AD&D, before being forced out of the company they founded, TSR.
  • After the 2nd Edition Planescape supplement was published, the Seven Heavens were renamed Mount Celestia and the Nine Hells were renamed Baator, partially out of a desire to distance the game from Christian demonology.
  • Single-classed fighters are the most common class in the game.
  • Gary was a fan of Jack Vance's The Dying Earth novels, which influenced the game mechanics for Magic-Users (Wizards in 3.0 D&D), such that they memorize their spells and forget them when they are cast, having to re-memorize them every day.
  • Gary wrote the 1985 AD&D expansion rules, Unearthed Arcana, which, among many other things, included rules for playing a Dark Elf (Drow). Dark Elves were allowed to take the Cavalier class, and Dark Elves naturally had proficiency in dual-wielding weapons, leading to the somewhat absurd character proposed by Roy.
  • 1st Edition AD&D is known for its charts used to roll for the outcome of events; Gary particularly influenced this tendency, and later editions after his departure from TSR moved away from having charts for everything and instead applied simpler modifiers to the die rolls.
  • Tomb of Horrors was an adventure module written by Gygax for the 1975 Origins I convention. It was designed to test expert players, and is known for being very tricky with many ways to die.
  • The Sphere of Annihilation is an artifact magic item in D&D. Touching the sphere causes any matter to be instantly and irrevocably destroyed.
  • In 1st Edition AD&D Gnomes were restricted in the classes they could be to Fighter, Illusionist, Thief or Assassin.
  • In 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, you had to roll and assign your stats in character sheet order, then, see what you qualified to play as your race and your class.

Trivia Edit

  • Tarquin also comments on the prevalence of Dark Elf characters after the release of Unearthed Arcana in #862.
  • In the sixth panel Roy seems to be speaking for Rich Burlew.
  • A similar homage was published a year later when Gary Gygax's sometime partner and fellow D&D co-creator Dave Arneson died, in An Unsung Legend, strip #644.

External links Edit