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Bird Brained
Order of the Stick comic
OOTS0797
Comic no. 797
Date published 18 July 2011
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Qarr makes Blackwing an offer: the raven may sacrifice his own life in exchange for Qarr pledging to protect V from being killed by the Linear Guild. Blackwing makes the basic deduction that Qarr's real goal is removing Blackwing's influence on V's conscience.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Qarr flies through the arcade beneath the arena stands.
Qarr: OK, you are really starting to piss me off, bird.
Qarr: Come out from wherever you're hiding and I'll make it quick and painless.

Panel 2

Qarr see's a feather sticking out from behind a column.
Qarr: On second though...
Qarr: I formally retract my previous offer.

Panel 3

Qarr teleports to the other side of the column and fires rays of heat at where he saw the feather.
Qarr: Gotcha!
But it is only a single feather; Blackwing is not there.
Qarr: Huh?

Panel 4

Qarr: ...
Qarr: Pretty clever for a glorified class feature.

Panel 5

Blackwing perches at the top of the arena stands. Far below, Thog stands over Roy, who lies battered by the huge section of the arena wall that Thog threw at him.
Blackwing: Geez, is he dead again? V doesn't have another soul to sell!
Blackwing: No—wait—I think his leg just moved.

Panel 6

Qarr teleports in right next to Blackwing
Qarr: You can't outrun someone who can teleport at will, just so you know.
Blackwing: Aaahhhh!

Panel 7

The pair engage in an aerial dogfight.
Qarr: Come on, my wings are tired.
Qarr: Tell you what, I'll make you a good old-fashioned devil's bargain.
Qarr: Let me kill you now, and I promise Vaarsuvius won't be killed by anyone in the Linear Guild.
Blackwing: Huh? Why would you—

Panel 8

Qarr: Because I'm not here to hurt your master. I'm here to keep an eye on him. Or her. Whatever.
Qarr: But Zz'dtri, he's out for blood. I can prevent him from killing Vaarsuvius, if you make it worth my while.
Qarr: And isn't it a familiar's duty to secure their master's safety... at any cost?

Panel 9

Blackwing: Ha! Thanks for tipping your hand, imp! You really are terrible at this whole temptation racket.
Qarr: What? It's a perfectly reasonable sacrifice.

Panel 10

Blackwing: Maybe—but all I really do for V is give the occasional piece of advice.
Blackwing: If you want me out of the way so bad, then that just tells me that my advice is in your way—
Blackwing: —which means keeping myself alive to give V more of it is the best thing I can do to help!

Panel 11

Qarr shoots a lightning bolt at Blackwing.
Qarr: Damn it! How do I keep getting outsmarted by a lowly bird??

D&D Context Edit

  • Qarr points out that Blackwing is Vaarsuvius' familiar, which is a class feature; he wouldn't exist on his own as an NPC.
  • Qarr employs three spell-like abilities as an Imp. None of these are canonical abilities for Imps in D&D, which are typically much weaker than Qarr is in the comics:
    • Scorching Ray appears to be the heat-ray spell-like ability Qarr employs. It deals 4d6 damage.
    • Lightning Bolt does 1d6 damage per level
    • Teleport allows instantaneous travel across arbitrary distances.

Trivia Edit

  • The title turns on its head the common conception that "bird brains" are small and lack intelligence, since Blackwing outsmarts the imp, Qarr. In point of fact, ravens such as Blackwing are among the most intelligent non-human species in the animal kingdom, along with certain other bird species such as crows, and African grey parrots.

External Links Edit

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