Amoral Dilemma
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 435
Date published 4 April 2007
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Belkar's inner lack of conscience wars with itself over what to do about the attempted assassination of Hinjo.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

Belkar sits atop a merlon on the wall as an Azurite soldier cuts down a hobgoblin.
Belkar: This SUCKS! All I want is for my daggers to be cutting into soft, yielding orange flesh.
Belkar: Shlubbo Noname-zaki here gets to kill hobgoblins, why don't I?

Panel 2, Page 1

Belkar hops down from the crenelations.
Grand Larceny Prisoner: Hey Belkar, wanna make 10,000 gp without lifting a finger?
Belkar: Can I say, "Yes," strongly enough?

Panel 3, Page 1

The prisoner produces a green bottle with a skull and crossbones on it.
Grand Larceny Prisoner: Keep an eye out while I get something ready over here.
Belkar: Whoa, is that what I think it is?

Panel 4, Page 1

Grand Larceny Prisoner: Nice eye, yeah, this is the good stuff. High save DC, Constitution damage, the works. Costs a bundle per dose.
Belkar: Sweet! But why waste such a beautifully lethal poison on a bunch of hobgoblins?

Panel 5, Page 1

Cut to Hinjo and Argen slaughtering hobgoblins.
Grand Larceny Prisoner (off-panel): I ain't shooting it at the hobgoblins, Belkar.
Grand Larceny Prisoner (off-panel): I have a slightly in mind.
Belkar (off-panel): Hinjo??
Grand Larceny Prisoner (off-panel): Keep it down!

Panel 6, Page 1

Cut back to Belkar and the prisoner.
Grand Larceny Prisoner: This morning, right after we were let out, a messenger finds me and brings me to that noble, Kubota. He promises me 100,000 gp if I kill Hinjo during the battle and make it look like an accident.
Grand Larceny Prisoner: I figure, some Sneak Attacks made with yellow-fletched arrows dipped in poison should do the trick. Even if he survives, it'll slow him down just enough for the hobbo's to finish him off.

Panel 7, Page 1

Grand Larceny Prisoner: It's not my usual area of expertise, but sometimes, you gotta break outta your rut to get ahead in this world.
Grand Larceny Prisoner: Now let me know if any of the soldiers start looking over here.

Panel 8, Page 1

A tiny red and yellow devil appears over Belkar's right shoulder, "POOF!"
Belkar’s Right Shoulder Devil: Dude! Ten grand just to watch while your new buddy rubs out that sanctimonious jerk? Can I get a "Hell yes!"?
Belkar: Hell, yes!
Belkar’s Right Shoulder Devil: Hinjo totally screwed you on that prison sentence thing, so now, it's payback time!

Panel 9, Page 1

A second tiny devil appears over Belkar's left shoulder, "POOF!"
Belkar’s Left Shoulder Devil: Belkar, wait! Hinjo promised to remove the Mark of Justice once and for all after the battle.
Belkar's Left Shoulder Devil: If he's killed now, you'll never be able to wantonly slaughter innocents again without worrying about whether or not you're standing in a city!

Panel 10, Page 1

Belkar: Wait, isn't the second guy supposed to be, like, an angel or something?
Belkar’s Left Shoulder Devil: No, it's just the two of us and the slaad, and trust me, you don't want him to come out.

Panel 11, Page 1

Cut to a padded cell where an angle sits in a straight jacket.
Belkar’s Left Shoulder Devil (inset): The angel...doesn't work here anymore.
Belkar's Angel: ...and he kept stabbing them, again and again...
Belkar's Angel: He's a halfling, he's supposed to be jolly...
Belkar's Angel: Why isn't he jolly?
Belkar's Angel: WHY ISN'T HE JOLLY???
The angel twitches, "twitch!"

Panel 12, Page 1

Cut back to Belkar.
Belkar’s Right Shoulder Devil: If Hinjo bites it, he can get someone else to remove the Mark.
Belkar’s Left Shoulder Devil: He hasn't been able to yet. What if there's some special thingamabob that only the king can remove?
Belkar’s Right Shoulder Devil: Magic doesn't work like that! I think.
Belkar's Right Shoulder Devil: Crap, I don't know.

Panel 1, Page 2

Belkar’s Left Shoulder Devil: See? Belkar, is it worth it to risk never being able to knife someone in a tavern fight ever again?
Belkar: No, I... I don't know that I could live with that. Looks like I'm saving Hinjo's life.

Panel 2, Page 2

Belkar’s Right Shoulder Devil: Hinjo got a cooler dog than you did.
Belkar: I'm gonna kill him myself!
Belkar’s Left Shoulder Devil: NO!

Panel 3, Page 2

Belkar's Left Shoulder Devil: You have a duty, Belkar. A duty to serve the Greater You.
Belkar's Left Shoulder Devil: Saving a life, though regrettable, is a small price to pay for a whole lifetime of unfettered killing.

Panel 4, Page 2

Grand Larceny Prisoner: Is anybody looking?
Belkar: No one.

Panel 5, Page 2

Belkar grabs the Grand Larceny Prisoner and pulls him over the edge of the parapet with him, his poisoned arrow goes flying.
Grand Larceny Prisoner: What the—What are you doing??
Belkar: Now leaving Azure City limits!

Panel 6, Page 2

As they fall from the battlements, Belkar decapitates the Grand Larceny Prisoner with his dagger, "shclukt!"
Belkar: THAT is for forcing me to perform a quasi-Good act!
Belkar: Gods, and to think, I bet on someone's life or death with you! Ugh!

Panel 7, Page 2

Belkar hits the ground outside the wall with a "WHUMPH!"

Panel 8, Page 2

Hobgoblins surround Belkar.
Hobgoblin #1: Halt!
Hobgoblin #2: You're surrounded, halfling!
Hobgoblin #3: Throw down your dagger and surrender!
Belkar: Wow...this is a new experience for me...

Panel 9, Page 2

Belkar: I've never had karma work in my favor before!
Belkar decapitates one hobgoblin, "shurkcklt!", while stabbing another in the face, "shunk!", killing both. A third hobgoblin is hit by the falling head of the Grand Larceny Prisoner, "bonk!", and is killed as well.

D&D Context Edit

  • Slaad are a race of Chaotic Neutral outsiders which resemble anthropomorphic frogs. They are the Chaotic Neutral counterpart to the Chaotic Evil Demons, Lawful Evil Devils, and the variously Good Angels. Modrons are the Lawful Neutral counterpart to the Slaadi.

Trivia Edit

  • Elan had a Slaad and a Modron on his shoulders in a quite similar scene to this strip in #68, Unconscience. There is also a Modron call-center employee in #646.
  • This strip confirms that the Grand Larceny Prisoner was working for Kubota.
  • Belkar is of course under the influence of the Greater Mark of Justice, which is why he needed to take the Grand Larceny Prisoner outside the city in order to kill him without triggering the curse.
  • This is the final appearance of the Grand Larceny Prisoner. He first appeared in #419.
  • This is the only appearance of the Right and Left Shoulder Devils, who appear in both pages of this strip.
  • This is the only appearance of Shlubbo Noname-zaki. There is an argument to be made that he is really the first appearance of Daigo Da-. He is identical to early renderings of that character and fits in with the continuity of when Daigo first appears in #455.

External Links Edit

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