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Complex Math
Order of the Stick comic
OOTS0866
Comic no. 866
Date published 17 January 2013
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Vaarsuvius meditates in the tunnels below the pyramid on the depths of immorality to which the wizard has sunk.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Blackwing: Vaarsuvius? Running away doesn't solve anything!
Blackwing: Except maybe problems related to how quickly you get somewhere, in which case flying is still better.

Panel 2

Blackwing: There you are.
Blackwing: You seem to have calmed down.
Vaarsuvius: I have had time to think. I now await the abomination my deeds have spawned.

Panel 3

Blackwing: It's not that kind of undead. It's just a mummy. It didn't even follow us down here.
Blackwing: Wherever "here" is.
Vaarsuvius: More's the pity, then. My doom at the hands of a legitimate revenant would have provided some small token of cosmic justice.

Panel 4

Blackwing: Let's get back to the others and—
Vaarsuvius: Three children. Did you notice? Three children, borne to a human mother.
Blackwing: Well, I'm surprised you correctly identified her gender, but other than that—

Panel 5

Vaarsuvius: A casual mating might lead a draconic mother to lay a clutch of three eggs at once, but a human is unlikely to bear triplets.
Vaarsuvius: If the pair conceived three offspring together, that implies a stable partnership over several years.

Panel 6

Blackwing: Oh, I see where this is going.
Blackwing: Do you really need to be adding more guilt sauce to your failure casserole? That dragon died years ago, according to the chart.
Blackwing: Plus, being in a long-term relationship doesn't make you not Evil—just ask Elan's brother.

Panel 7

Vaarsuvius: Perhaps, but that is not the point at which I am getting.
Vaarsuvius: Until this moment, my mind had never considered that any of the dragons that I slew were anything but ravenous killers. Can I be certain though?
Vaarsuvius: Can I be sure that not one found a more peaceful existence? They were mortals with free will, after all—no matter how few chose to exercise it.

Panel 8

Blackwing: I guess not, but… think of how much good you did by killing all the bad ones!
Vaarsuvius: A few must fall for the Greater Good? Tarquin would concur, and heartily.

Panel 9

Vaarsuvius: Perhaps by some cold calculus, the net benefit of villains lost to innocents sacrificed may ultimately prove beneficial to the world.
Vaarsuvius: I can never know.
Vaarsuvius: But that would in no way lift the burden of the deed from my conscience, nor should it. The judgment was never mine to make!

Panel 10

Vaarsuvius: By my actions, my arrogance, and my ignorance, I am thrice-damned!!
Blackwing: OK, now, you're just being completely ridiculous!

Panel 11

Blackwing: If anything, you'd be sextuple-damned.
Blackwing: You know, 'cause you sold your soul three times and all.

Panel 12

Vaarsuvius: GAAAAGH!!!
Blackwing: Wait—unless it's multiplicative. Then we're looking at nine times, minimum.

D&D Context Edit

  • A revenant is a corpse who returns from the grave, living on in undeath through sheer force of will in order to slay their killers. The monster first appears in the 1981 AD&D (1st edition) reference, Fiend Folio.

Trivia Edit

  • The title and Blacking's comments in the last two panels deal with the effect of V's "actions, arrogance, and ignorance" on the state of his or her soul. If the damnation due for these failings adds with damnation due to the three times V's soul was sold (leased, really) to the IFCC then we get Blacking's "sextuple damned" (3+3 = 6). If they multiply we get the "nine times" (3x3=9). By extension if the damning effect of V's failings is exponential, V would be vigintiseptuple-damned (33 = 27).

External Links Edit

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