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The Economics of Banditry
Order of the Stick comic
OOTS0158
Comic no. 158
Date published 21 March 2005
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Just because you're about to die doesn't mean you can't rant about pet peeves.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Belkar, Vaarsuvius, and Haley are being held at arrow-point by the bandits.
Belkar: Look, mistakes were made, that's all I'm saying.
The Bandit King: Do any of you have any last words?
Haley: Yes, yes I do:

Panel 2

Haley: Banditry through pure combat strength is economically and strategically infeasible with such a large group.

Panel 3

Bandit King: Wow, I was honestly expecting something more like "Don't kill us."
Haley: But it's true. Beating people up and taking their stuff will never work out for you in the long run.

Panel 4

Haley: It's because of the wealth-by-level guidelines, really.
Haley: Everyone of a certain level has a specific degree of wealth, and no one of a lower level can achieve the same amount of riches without gaining levels first.
Haley: That's why you don't see 1st level rangers with +5 bows.

Panel 5

Haley: Therefore, anyone worth robbing is powerful enough to defend themselves against your attacks.
Haley: And anyone weak enough to fall prey probably doesn't have any stuff worth stealing.

Panel 6

Bandit King: Nice try, sugar, but I already saw you sweet-talk the new kids. Your trickery won't work twice.
Vaarsuvius: I'm afraid there is no chicanery on Miss Starshine's part, sir. Simple math dictates the futility of your effort.

Panel 7

Vaarsuvius: Take ourselves, for example. Your team might defeat us at this point, but the sale price of our gear is a mere pittance compared to the cost of food, equipment, and other expenses for a group your size.
Haley: I mean, the cost of masterwork bows alone!

Panel 8

Belkar: And you can be damn sure we're gonna take a few of your men down with us.
Haley: Right! So that leaves you needing to face a potentially deadly encounter—like us—every week just to maintain the status quo.

Panel 9

Bandit King: And if we want to make a decent profit...
Haley: ...you're talking about facing parties of adventurers 2, 3, or 4 levels above us, which is frankly suicidal!

Panel 10

Bandit King: Your words are persuasive. I think you should really talk this over with our leader.
Haley: Leader? So you're what, a cohort?? What a waste of time!

Panel 11

Belkar (whispering): Rogues. Arrows. Point Blank range.
Haley: And when I say, "waste of time", I really mean, "pleasure to speak with you, sir."

D&D Context Edit

  • The wealth-by-level guidelines are in the Dungeon Master's Handbook and are meant to be rough rules of where a character's wealth should be at as they level.
  • A +5 bow is one that provides an +5 bonus to hit and damage.
  • A Masterwork weapon is one that has been Crafted to exceptional standards and grants bonuses even though it is not magical. Crafting such items has specific cost requirements.
  • Point Black Shot is a Feat that provides a bonus to hit and damage if shooting within 30 feet.

Trivia Edit

  • This is the first appearance of the Bandit with Black Skin.

External Links Edit

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