|“It Takes a Thief”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||20 March 2007|
|View the comic|
Haley unravels Xykon's ruse.
- The Order of the Stick
- Hinjo ◀ ▶
- Sangwaan ◀ ▶
- Azurite soldiers
- Team Evil
- Xykon Decoys:
- Zombie Dragon ◀ ▶
- Skeletal Steed ◀ ▶
- Hobgoblin soldiers
- Panel 1, Page 1
Elan, Durkon, Hinjo, Roy and Haley on the parapet of an Azure City wall.
Roy: OK...the Xykon on the horse is almost to the breach, that means we're out of time.
Roy: We're going to risk splitting the team up.
Roy: We'll ignore the one in the rear, since it's not attacking yet. Belkar, Elan, join Vaarsuvius.
- Panel 2, Page 1
Roy: Durkon, Haley, and I will take the one to the south. Hinjo, if the one in the rear moves, send—
Haley: WAIT! Stop! I've got it!!
- Panel 3, Page 1
Haley: It's a shell game.
- Panel 4, Page 1
Beat. Roy, Hinjo, and Durkon, one eyebrow raised, look askance at a smiling Haley.
- Panel 5, Page 1
Haley: You know, like they set up on the street corners? Three nutshells, a ball, they mix them up and you pick one?
Roy: Yes, I know what a shell game is, Haley.
- Panel 6, Page 1
Roy: It's just that you're not telling me anything I don't already know.
Roy: Two of the Xykons are fake, we need to figure out which ones.
- Panel 7, Page 1
Haley: No, look, it's a swindle! At its most basic the shell—
Hinjo: Do you have some information regarding which Xykon is the real one?
Haley: No—gah! You're not—gods, it's frustrating how Lawful you people are!
- Panel 8, Page 1
Haley: I know everyone got in the habit of ignoring the gibberish that was coming out of my mouth, but you need to listen to what I am saying.
Haley: Roy, Hinjo, you two may know warfare—but *I* know how to run a con.
- Panel 9, Page 1
Haley: A con man doesn't choose to play the shell game with you if there is any possibility of him actually losing.
Haley: The con isn't in getting you to pick the wrong shell. The con is in getting you to accept that the basic premise of the game is still being followed.
Haley: The con is in getting you to pick a shell at all.
- Panel 10, Page 1
Cut to the Eye of Fear and Flame marching with hobgoblins.
Haley (inset): The ball isn't under the first shell...
- Panel 11, Page 1
Cut to the Death Knight riding a skeleton horse.
Haley (inset): ...or the second shell...
- Panel 12, Page 1
- Panel 13, Page 1
Cut back to the parapet.
Haley: The ball is in the con man's palm the whole time.
- Panel 1, Page 2
Roy: Wait... I think I get it... Haley, you're a genius!
Hinjo: I don't. Can someone explain it to me?
Roy: Bottom line: none of the Xykons we see are "real".
- Panel 2, Page 2
Roy: Why should they give us a 33% chance to pick the right one when they can give us a 0% chance?
Roy: If they can create two decoys, why not three?
- Panel 3, Page 2
Hinjo: Are you certain?
Roy: No. But I trust her gut.
Haley: A ruse that relies on the target's innate acceptance of the rules presented to him?
Haley: Against a league of paladins? Easy money.
- Panel 4, Page 2
Hinjo: Let's say you're right... where's the real Xykon right now?
Haley: Someplace... else. Someplace where we can't see him, probably making a beeline for the throne room.
- Panel 5, Page 2
Roy: He could be anywhere.
Haley: Yeah, but for maximum effectiveness, he'd be in the last place we'd expect.
Roy: Where's that?
Haley: Don't know. I'm not done expecting other places yet.
- Panel 6, Page 2
Belkar: Hey, is there any chance we can hurry this up?
A soft "woooosh!" sound is heard.
Belkar: "It's Pat" is already fireballing hobgoblins down there, and me, I'm just standing around here freezing my considerable assets off in this wind.
- Panel 7, Page 2
Roy: Keep it down, Belkar, this is more important than complaining about the...
- Panel 8, Page 2
A louder "woooosh!" sound is heard.
- Panel 9, Page 2
- Panel 10, Page 2
A still louder "woooosh!" sound is heard. Wind blows Hinjo's cape. Hinjo, Roy, and Haley look alarmed.
- Panel 11, Page 2
Hinjo: Sangwaan! Cast your spell now!
Sangwaan: Yes, Lord Hinjo.
Haley: And look UP!
Sangwaan: True Seeing!
- Panel 12, Page 3
A light emits from Sangwaan's eyes through her blindfold. A very loud "woooosh!" sound is heard.
Sangwaan: Oh my.
- Panel 1, Page 3
Xykon appears in the beam of Sangwaan's True Seeing. Unlike the decoys he wears no amulet. He is astride the Zombie Dragon, flying right next to the wall, it's wing beats causing the wind, "woooosh!"
Haley: Do you see anything?
D&D Context Edit
- True Seeing is a 5th level cleric (and available to other spellcasters at other levels) spell which allows the caster to see things as they really are: illusions are seen through, invisible objects are seen, and polymorphed or otherwise transformed things are shown in their original form.
- The shell game dates back at least to ancient Greece.
- It's Pat was a 1994 comedy film based on the Saturday Night Live character Pat, created and performed by Julia Sweeney.