Phrenology Today
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 303
Date published 10 April 2006
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Haley is examined by the priests of Azure City who provide some insight in her condition, but no cure.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

High Priest: Well, Miss Starshine, we've examined you thoroughly and we have good news and bad news.

Panel 2

High Priest: The good news is that your inability to speak proper Common is not based on brain damage or other injury.
High Priest: You are the picture of perfect health.

Panel 3

High Priest: The bad news is that we therefore have no means to treat you at this time.

Panel 4

High Priest: However, there is still hope.
High Priest: Since Lord Shojo personally asked that we do everything we can to heal you, one of my clerics will spend the next few weeks researching a new clerical spell specifically designed to cure your condition.

Panel 5

High Priest: My assistant here has an alternate theory, however, that may lead to some quicker results.

Panel 6

Assistant: Your phrenology tests indicate a high level of mental stress, specifically in this area.
She shows a diagram of two heads, "Normal" and "You", the latter with a hump on top.

Panel 7

Assistant (inset): That area is closely associated with lies and secrets. A distortion in that area could be related to your condition, if you were causing additional mental stress by keeping excessive secrets.
The panel shows a phrenology diagram of a head divided into various mental faculties: Secrets, Cravings, Sex, More Sex, Cheese, Unused 3.0 Rules, Metagaming, Fashion Sense, Guacomole Recipe, Spoilers, All Useful Skills (small area at eye), Puppies.

Panel 8

Assistant: Any such secrets or lies might contribute to the swelling, which in turn is feeding your aphasia.
Assistant: There is a theory that if you were truly willing to reveal the truth about any such lies, your condition would reverse itself spontaneously, this allowing you to speak freely again.

Panel 9

High Priest: Of couse, this theory is moot, at it is highly unlikely that a proper young lady such as yourself would be capable of enough deception to cause this level of stress.

Panel 10


Panel 11

Haley: Frv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv *hpleq* gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv!

Panel 12

High Priest: Patient seems to also be suffering from uncontrollable hideous laughter.
Haley: gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv gv.
Haley falls to the ground, "WHUMP!"
High Priest: And impaired motor skills.

D&D Context Edit

  • The phrenology chart mentions areas such as "Metagaming" and "Unused 3.0 Rules," which are both D&D related.
    • "Metagaming" is using knowledge you have as a player that your character wouldn't have. For example, attacking a monster's weak point when your character would have no knowledge of the monster's weakness.
    • "3.0 Rules" refer to the previous edition of the game. The Order of the Stick currently plays in version 3.5 of D&D.
  • Hideous Laughter is a 2nd level spell in 3.5e D&D. It was first introduced as "Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter in the Greyhawk campaign setting by D&D creator Gary Gygax. "Tasha" was the pseudonym used by Iggwilv when she infiltrated the Company of Seven (Gygax's party, and later demigods in the Greyhawk setting). She was named one of the greatest villains of D&D in the final issue of Dragon magazine. Gygax used the name Tasha for Iggwilv when a young girl named Tasha wrote to him in crayon asking him to create a spell that caused laughter.

Trivia Edit

  • The translation of Haley's lines are:
    • Panel 11: Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *snort* ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
    • Panel 12: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
  • Phrenology is a pseudoscience (a "false" science) that linked the shape of the head and the brain to certain aspects of a person's character. Phrenologists believed that the human mind was composed of various mental faculties which each resided in a discrete area of the brain, as humorously imagined in the seventh panel.
  • This is the first appearance of the High Priest of the Twelve Gods
  • This it the final appearance of the Azurite Assistant Cleric. She first appeared in #298.

External Links Edit

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