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Potionomics
Order of the Stick comic
OOTS0135
Comic no. 135
Date published 4 January 2005
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Vaarsuvius needs some potions, but finds an annoying amount of stupidity.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Vaarsuvius: 20 gp for a Potion of Mage Armor? That is by far the lowest price I have ever encountered.
Eve: All potions in the store are 20 gp, every day, here at Eve & Larry's Alchemy.

Panel 2

Vaarsuvius: But... a potion of Mage Armor costs 25 gp to make.
Eve: True. And no one in the land prices them as low as we do!

Panel 3

Vaarsuvius: Wait—you sell potions for less than it costs to produce them?
Eve: Yup!
Vaarsuvius: How do you possibly stay in business?

Panel 4

Larry: One word, my elven friend:
Larry: Volume.
Eve: We sell so many potions at such a low price, we make up the difference in volume.

Panel 5

Vaarsuvius: No, you don't. You just lose more and more money on each sale.
Larry: How do you figure?

Panel 6

Vaarsuvius: Perhaps, just perhaps, I gleaned it through a rudimentary understanding of basic economic theory?
Vaarsuvius: You must charge customers more than it costs to produce the product, or else you will not actually make any profit.

Panel 7

Larry: Our low prices increase traffic to the store, though.
Vaarsuvius: You do not sell anything BUT potions. Increased traffic simply means you will go broke that much faster.

Panel 8

Larry: But we're so successful! We've sold hundreds of potions this month alone!
Vaarsuvius: At a loss!
Larry: Right!

Panel 9

Eve: Good news, Larry. Someone just bought out our entire supply of healing potions!
Larry: Great!
Vaarsuvius: No! Not great!

Panel 10

Vaarsuvius: I apologize for my raised voice, but I am trying to aid you in keeping your business.
Vaarsuvius: You just gave away potent magical assets for a fraction of their value! You lost thousands of gold on that sale!

Panel 11

Eve: Hmmm. Y'know, Larry, she might have a point.
Larry: Perhaps. But I know just the thing to turn business around.

Panel 12

Larry: A sale!
Eve: Yes! We'll slash prices across the board!
Vaarsuvius: My conscience is now appeased.
Vaarsuvius: 27 Heroism potions, please.

D&D Context Edit

  • Mage Armor is a 1st level spell that gives +4 to AC. As V notes, it normally costs 25 gp.
  • Heroism is a spell that provides +2 buffs to morale, attack, saves, and skill checks, to a target. It normally costs 750 gp.

Trivia Edit

  • Vaarsuvius gets a chance to use their potions of Heroism in #421.
  • This is the only appearance of Eve and Larry.
  • Larry is essentially a medium-sized brown bearded version of the Gnome Wizard in Blue Robe from #49.
  • Three months after the publication of this comic, Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner published the bestselling pop-economics book, Freakonomics. Coincidence?

External Links Edit

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