|“The Economics of Banditry”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||21 March 2005|
|View the comic|
Just because you're about to die doesn't mean you can't rant about pet peeves.
- Haley Starshine ◀ ▶
- Belkar Bitterleaf ◀ ▶
- Vaarsuvius ◀ ▶
- Bandit Clan of Wooden Forest
- 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.
- This is the first appearance of the Bandit with Black Skin.