|“A Grand Experiment”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||30 July 2006|
|View the comic|
Vaarsuvius explains the binary nature of Belkar's psyche.
- Panel 1
Vaarsuvius is covered by hornet stings.
Durkon: Cure Itchy Wounds!
Durkon: Och, I bet ye dinnae expect Belkar ta fight back so well, aye?
- Panel 2
Vaarsuvius: To the contrary actually.
Vaarsuvius: His responses, while uncomfortable, have been well within predicted parameters for the exercise.
- Panel 3
Vaarsuvius: The correction of a grave miscalculation on my part—the most telling symptom of which was The Unfortunate Event on the eve of the new year—through the application of discrete acts of violence.
- Panel 4
Durkon: Oh, ye mean when he kiss—
Vaarsuvius: Silence! The subject must not be reminded of The Event, lest it ruin the exercise.
- Panel 5
Vaarsuvius: And for this reason as well, Sir Greenhilt must regretably[sic] be left unenlightened as to the nature of The Event that transpired.
Vaarsuvius: Explaining it would require spreading knowledge of The Event.
- Panel 6
Cut to an image of Belkar. A dialog box is coming from his brain with a list of people. Next to each name is a pair of radio buttons with a choice for "HATE" or "LUST".
Vaarsuvius (inset): For you see, I theorize that the halfling does not possess a true sentient brain, like you or I, but rather a simple lump of nerve tissue that serves as a primitive "proto-brain" that can only process two emotional reactions to people: Hate or Lust.
- Roy Greenhilt: Hate
- Haley Starshine: Lust
- Miko Miyazaki: Hate
- That Bilbo Tool: Hate
- Hermione Granger: Lust
- Gerald Ford: Hate
- Mrs. Butterworth: Lust
- Warwick Davis: Hate
- Panel 7
Flashback to Vaarsuvius in the throne room at Azure City saving Belkar from Miko with a scorching ray.
Vaarsuvius: When I defended the halfling against that paladin in Lord Shojo's throne room, his pre-brain removed me from the list of creatures he hates. But, with no other category in which to classify his feelings toward me, his almost-mind accidentally filed me under "Lust".
- Panel 8
Durkon: Ah! Which led ta tha ki—
Durkon: Ta tha, uh, tha "Event".
- Panel 9
Durkon: So all o' those Explosive Runes—
Vaarsuvius:—were merely to reassert myself as being hated.
- Panel 10
Durkon: Well, I think it sure work'd just fine there. Belkar hates ye more than ever.
Vaarsuvius: Perhaps, but constant negative reinforcement will be necessary to maintain his pure undiluted hatred.
Vaarsuvius casts a spell (only named two frames later—unusual for spells)
- Panel 11
Vaarsuvius: The alternative—a Belkar who lusts after me—is too horrific to contemplate.
- Panel 12
Durkon: So...that explains why ye just Charmed a muskrat inta humpin' Belkar's bare feet.
Vaarsuvius: Hmm? Oh, no, that is merely for my personal amusement.
Belkar (off-panel) What the—Arrgh! Get off! Wild Empathy check! WILD EMPATHY CHECK!!!
D&D Context Edit
- Cure Itchy Wounds is not a real D&D spell; it is patterned on the various Cure Wounds spells, such as Cure Light Wounds.
- Charm Monster makes a monster regard the caster as a trusted friend and ally. V cast this spell without shouting the words as is the convention in this comic, though the spell is identified in the final panel.
- Scorching Ray fires one or more rays (depending on level) which do 4d6 heat damage. V casts this spell in the flashback.
- Rangers have a Wild Empathy ability which allows the character a chance to improve the attitude of a wild animal. In this case, a muskrat.
- The "Unfortunate Event" V refers to is Belkar's kiss in #316.
- The flashback is to #285, though the artwork is original, as it shows a complete scene whereas in the original Vaarsuvius is off-panel casting the scorching rays.
- Non-OOTS characters in Belkar's head:
- "That Bilbo Tool" is of course Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien's 1937 classic, The Hobbit. Bilbo also appears early in Tolkien's epic, The Lord of the Rings.
- Hermione Granger is a character in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
- Gerald Ford was the 38th president of the United States, and the only president in U.S. history not to ever have been elected to the office. Ford was vice-president to Richard Nixon and took office when Nixon resigned following the Watergate scandal.
- Mrs. Butterworth's is a brand of syrup that comes in a bottle shaped like a matronly woman.
- Warwick Davis is an English actor best known for his roles in the 1988 fantasy film Willow and the Leprechaun series, as well as roles in the Star Wars and Harry Potter series.