Fun While It Lasted
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 653
Date published 13 May 2009
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Vaarsuvius is defeated by Xykon, and the Soul Splice ends.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Vaarsuvius seizes Xykon with a magic hand, "crunch!"
Vaarsuvius: Bixby's Crushing Hand! That ought to prevent you from—
Xykon: Look, I know you elves are all with the touchy-feely hug stuff, but try to respect my personal boundaries.

Panel 2

Xykon casts Meteor Swarm on himself, hitting Vaarsuvius and breaking the magic hand.
Xykon: Still Meteor Swarm.
Xykon: Incidentally, here's a pro tip for you: If you're going to use area effect spells, craft yourself a magic item that makes you immune to that type of damage.

Panel 3

Tsukiko enters, dressed in negligee and holding a small stuffed Xykon doll.
Tsukiko: Geez, can you men keep the racket down up here? I know we all have fun torturing the paladin, but I'm trying to get a little shut-eye here.
Redcloak: Tsukiko! Perfect!
Tsukiko: I know I am, but that doesn't mean I don't need my beauty sleep.

Panel 4

Tsukiko: Wait—who the hell is that, and why is she fighting Xykon when she looks like she should be asking for a team-up?
Jirix: No idea. Some elf.
Redcloak: She's using an effect called a Soul Splice, which means she's probably using all her focus just holding on to her power.

Panel 5

Redcloak: I don't suppose you have any spells prepared that would impair willpower?
Tsukiko: Goblin, please. I go to bed with more spells prepared than you start the day with.
Tsukiko: Mind Fog!

Panel 6

Tsukiko's Mind Fog rises up the Vaarsuvius, to no effect.
Vaarsuvius: Your villainy comes to an end this day!
Vaarsuvius: Disintegrate!
Vaarsuvius' disintegrate ray shoots out, "zzzzap!!", but bounces off of Xykon, "deflect!"
Xykon: Yeah, see, I'm not feeling it. You just don't have that "righteous outrage" tone. What's really going on here?

Panel 7

Jirix: Is it working?
Tsukiko: No... the elf must have some sort of protection from mind-affecting spells. Probably Mind Blank.
Redcloak: In that case, Greater Dispel Magic!

Panel 8

Vaarsuvius: My power... EXCEEDS yours!!
Xykon: Oh, so you're some sort of arcane George Mallory, then? You want to fight me 'cause I'm here?
Xykon: Hey, I can respect that. I take that as a compliment.

Panel 9

Redcloak: Damn it, my caster level can't overcome the elf's.
Redcloak: Xykon! Dispel! Do you hear me?
Redcloak: DISPEL!!!

Panel 10

Xykon: Of course, it does leave me in the position of having no reason to go easy on you. Your basic knight-on-a-valiant-quest is one thing, but a challenge to my rep?
Xykon: That needs to be met with all means at my disposal, I think. Even if it means taking tactical advice from my lackeys.
Xykon: Superb Dispelling.
Vaarsuvius: My defenses! My flight spell!

Panel 11

Vaarsuvius falls to the ground.
Vaarsuvius: I feel so... woozy...
Vaarsuvius: I—I must retreat. Greater Tele—
Ganonron: Do not worry! We are still here!
Jephton: Even epic magic cannot break our—

Panel 12

Xykon strikes Vaarsuvius with a large piece of debris. Ganonron and Jephton are released, and Vaarsuvius's robes return to their normal color.
Xykon: Please make sure you have all personal belongings with you before exiting the elf!
Ganonron: Whoops. Tough break, kid.
Jephton: Later!
Vaarsuvius: AAAAHH!

D&D Context Edit

  • Bixby's Crushing Hand is a parody of the Crushing Hand spell, a 9th level spell which can grapple an opponent and crush them for 2d6+12 damage per round. The name of the spell in its original D&D publication was "Bigby's Crushing Hand", after the Archmage Bigby, a character created by Rob Kuntz as an NPC but ultimately played as a PC by D&D creator Gary Gygax. The name is changed due to copyright issues with the Wizards of the Coast, or perhaps to highlight that Gygax himself was unable to use the name after he was forced out of TSR in 1985.
  • Meteor Swarm is a favorite of Xykon. It's a 9th level spell which creates four meteors which each does 2d6 bludgeoning to its target and 6d6 damage in an area of effect around it. Since Xykon cast it on the hand V would only take the area of effect damage, and Xykon apparently has a magic item to make him immune to fire.
  • Xykon uses the Still Spell Feat to cast Meteor Swarm while being grappled by the Crushing Hand. Still Spell allows spells to be cast without somatic (hand gesture) components.
  • Mind Fog is a 5th level spell which produces a thin mist which imposes a -10 competence penalty on Wisdom checks and Will saves.
  • Disintegrate, a 6th level spell, is a staple of Vaarusius' repertoire. It deals 2d6 damage per level, to a maximum of 40d6.
  • Xykon has some sort of item or spell giving him a Deflection Bonus, as this is how he avoided the disintegration ray.
  • Greater Dispel Magic cancels most magic effects on a successful dispel check. Redcloak's dispel check would be 1d20+16 (assuming he is level 16), against a DC (Difficulty Class) of 11+Varsuvius' level. But V's effective level within the Soul Splice is likely on the order of level 60, making the dispel impossible for Redcloak.
  • Superb Dispelling is a 10th level (epic-level) spell. This is only the second time that Xykon has been portrayed casting an epic-level spell (the other when he cast Cloister in #484). Superb Dispelling has a +40 maximum bonus to the dispelling check. Xykon's level is at least 21, making the dispel a possibility.
  • Vaarsuvius at the end attempts to cast Greater Teleport, a 7th level spell which allows instantaneous travel with no range limit and no possibility for error.

Trivia Edit

  • This is the end of the Soul Splice. Vaarsuvius was spliced to Haetra Bloodsoak for 3 minutes and 6 seconds, and to Ganonron and Jephton the Unholy for 20 minutes and 35 seconds. Thus #651, #652, and #653 as well as the last seven panels of #650 took 54 seconds, or 9 combat rounds.
  • George Mallory was a mountaineer who said he wanted to climb Mt. Everest "because it's there."
  • This is the final appearance of the evil wizard Ganonron and the evil sorcerer Jepthon the Unholy. They were Soul Spliced to Vaarsuvius by the IFCC in #635 and provided the arcane power necessary to defeat the Ancient Black Dragon and relocate the Azurite fleet to a location suitable for colonization. They were insufficient to defeat Xykon. They appeared in seventeen strips in total. They first appeared in #633.

External Links Edit

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