|“Keepin' the Little Man Down”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||28 September 2007|
|View the comic|
Roy continues his postmortal residential status review, including the Belkar-shaped stain on his Permanent Record.
- Panel 1
Roy: Before we go any further, can I just say that I find women with wings particularly attractive?
Bureaucratic Deva: Thank you, but that hardly addresses the issue at hand.
- Panel 2
Bureaucratic Deva: You've been adventuring for year with a Chaotic Evil halfling who is constantly trying to murder anyone who gets in his way!
Bureaucratic Deva: Or looks like they might possibly be thinking about getting anywhere sort of near his way at some unspecified future point, just to be sure.
- Panel 3
Roy: I thought only paladins were prohibited from associating with Evil characters. I'm just a fighter.
Bureaucratic Deva: That's true. So normally, you'd be fine—what he does would be on his soul, not yours.
- Panel 4
Bureaucratic Deva: But what complicates the issue for you is that you've taken on the role of his commanding officer. That means on some level, you are responsible for his actions—
Bureaucratic Deva: —especially those actions he takes while pursuing your personal missions.
- Panel 5
Roy: OK, look, Belkar is a vicious little bastard. But look at it this way: By allowing Belkar to stay with us, I can channel him toward useful purposes.
Bureaucratic Deva: Isn't that a little risky?
Roy: Isn't it a little riskier to leave him unattended?
- Panel 6
Bureaucratic Deva: You could have left him in the Azure City prison under proper legal authority.
Roy: Oh, yeah, good idea. I'm sure the current pile of rubble really would have held him for, like, 18 seconds.
- Panel 7
Roy: If I hadn't "freed" him, he would have escaped during the battle anyway and probably become yet another recurring villain.
Roy: Just what this comic strip needs more of!
Roy: I let him out of jail because he's too strong and clever—in his own brain-damaged way—to be held prisoner by any jail cell I've ever seen.
- Panel 8
Roy: So instead, the jail travels with him, with me as Head Warden. It's a lot safer than betting people's lives on the idea that Belkar can be contained by iron bars.
Roy: And until then, his combat potential is being used to fight an even greater Evil than himself. It's like work release program, really.
- Panel 9
Roy: Unless you're telling me I should've just cut his throat while he sleeps?
Bureaucratic Deva: No, but—
Roy: Then I don't see the problem.
Bureaucratic Deva: ...
- Panel 10
Bureaucratic Deva: I'm not sure how comfortable I am with you taking it upon yourself to contain him, but I'll put it down in the file as an attempt to redeem an evildoer.
Bureaucratic Deva: That should remove the taint of his actions from your record.
- Panel 11
A x-y chart with time on the x-axis (the years 1182-1184) and Evil on the y-axis (in units of kilonazis). Belkar's projected evil vs actual evil post-Roy is plotted.
Bureaucratic Deva (inset): Luckily for you, our latest projections on what Belkar might have done without your influence back you up.
- Panel 12
Roy: Who does the green line represent?
Bureaucratic Deva: A hypothetical offspring of Cruella de Ville and Sauron.
Bureaucratic Deva: It's useful to have a baseline comparison for these things.
D&D Context Edit
- As Roy notes, Paladin PC's may not be in a party with other PCs who's alignment is Evil.
- The Belkar Evilness chart places the current time as approximately the fourth month of the year 1184, and also puts Roy meeting Belkar at approximately a year prior in the fourth month of 1183. This is useful to anchor the Timeline of events in the comic. The murder of his guard presumably correlates to the spike in his observed evilness, taking place in the 12th month of 1183.
- Cruella de Vil is the villain of Dodie Smiths 1956 novel 101 Dalmations, and the 1961 animated film adaptation of that book. Her name is misspelled in the comic, unless the author intended to refer to the 1980's post-punk band of that name.
- Sauron is the chief antagonist in J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as a figure in his earlier novel The Hobbit, as well as his larger legendarium as presented in The Silmarillion. He is a god-like figure of evil though in earlier eras he was merely the chief lieutenant to the greater evil, Morgoth.
- Judging from the Belkar Evilness chart, at his peak of evil he was as bad as 3500 Nazis.