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The Pit of Despair
Order of the Stick comic
OOTS0857
Comic no. 857
Date published 25 June 2012
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Blackwing and Vaarsuvius awake at the bottom of the pit. Vaarsuvius is still wracked with guilt about the genocide of the dragons and the Draketooth bloodline due to the Familicide spell. After they are accidentally confronted with another dead Draketooth, they flee through the wall.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

At the bottom of the pit trap, Vaarsuvius and Blackwing lie.
Blackwing: I'll be back for supper, Ma…
Blackwing: Me an' 23 friends are gonna see if we fit into a pie…

Panel 2

Blackwing: Whoa! What—Where? I feel like I got hit with a three-ton rock!
Blackwing: ...
Blackwing: Oh!

Panel 3

Blackwing: Vaarsuvius! Vaarsuvius, wake up!
Vaarsuvius: Unnnhhh…
Blackwing: Come on, get up!
Vaarsuvius: Where… are we located?

Panel 4

Blackwing: A pit, looks like. You sprang some kind of trap after you—
Vaarsuvius: After we learned of my role in worldwide genocide.
Blackwing: As your friend, I wasn't going to bring that up.

Panel 5

Vaarsuvius: No need to spare my feelings. They deserve whatever injury befalls them, unlike my victims.
Blackwing: I suppose, but really, I think we have more pressing matters right now.
Vaarsuvius: Nothing presses more distinctly than the weight of my deeds upon my bartered soul.

Panel 6

Blackwing: Yeah, uh, I meant we need to get out of this pit. The others need you.
Vaarsuvius: Do they? Or are they—and the world—better off absent my presence?
Vaarsuvius: Did I not carelessly rend the defenses they hoped would stand fast against the darkness?

Panel 7

Blackwing: Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize this dungeon was appropriate for a pity party of 4-6 characters. Just like you to try and solo it.
Blackwing: Yes, you screwed up big, and yes, a lot of people paid the price. But sitting in a pit moping about it isn't going to fix anything!
Blackwing: You need to get your butt out of here and back up to where you can help Roy try to put this right!

Panel 8

Vaarsuvius: Perhaps…
Vaarsuvius: Perhaps you are correct. Certainly, I must try to put my guilt aside while we—

Panel 9

Cut to the Linear Guild. They have proceeded down the stairs and have reached the piston and trap door which is above Vaarsuvius. The lead mummy sets off the trap and is pushed down into the pit.
Zz'dtri: Trap.
Sabine: Darn it! I am so out of practice at trapfinding!
Nale: Don't worry, babe. I know it's not your fault.

Panel 10

Cut back to the bottom of the pit. The mummy comes crashing down on Vaarsuvius.

Panel 11

Draketooth with Belt: your fault

Panel 12

Vaarsuvius: AHHHHH!!!
Vaarsuvius: Passwall!!

Panel 13

Vaarsuvius and Blackwing flee into the Passwall.
Blackwing: Wait! Stop!
Vaarsuvius: Quickened Expeditious Retreat!
Blackwing: Fleeing in a blind panic is only marginally better than moping!

D&D Context Edit

  • To "solo" a dungeon is to clear it alone, often when the difficulty of the adventure is set for a larger party, making the feat more difficult. Blackwing's comment in panel 7 is reminiscent of the level guidance printed on D&D adventure modules.
  • Sabine apparently has a low Search skill, despite having levels in Rogue. She was not able to spot even these obvious traps.
  • Passwall is a 5th level spell which creates a passage through walls. The passage can be up to 20 feet deep for a wizard of V's level.
  • Expeditious Retreat is a first level spell which doubles V's movement speed.
  • V uses the Quicken Spell feat to cast the Expeditious Retreat spell in the same round as the Passwall.

Trivia Edit

  • The title, "The Pit of Despair", is a plot device in the 1987 film The Princess Bride, a dungeon where Wesley is tortured by Count Rugen. In the 1973 novel, the dungeon is known as the "Zoo of Death".
  • The "Pit of despair" is also the name of a device used by psychologist Harry Harlow in a series of controversial experiments on monkeys in the 1970s. The monkeys were kept at the bottom of a vertical chamber to induce depression and despair, a situation very similar to the one Vaarsuvius and Blackwing are in in this strip.
  • In the first panel, Blackwing refers to the 18th century nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence.
  • Vaarsuvius first uses the Expeditious Retreat spell in #5.

External Links Edit

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