|“The Wrong Reasons”|
|Order of the Stick comic|
|Date published||1 March 2009|
|View the comic|
V makes a deal with the devil... 3 devils, actually.
- Durkon Thundershield ◀ ▶
- Vaarsuvius ◀ ▶
- Qarr ◀ ▶
- Lien ◀ ▶
- The IFCC
- Ancient Black Dragon ◀ ▶
- Aarindarius ◀
- Panel 1, Page 1
Nero: Also, the Soul Splices do have a few...let's say "functional limitations" you should know about.
Lee: First, you won't be able to duplicate any divine magic, not even with a Wish or Limited Wish.
Cedrik: It's part of our non-compete clause with the evil gods.
- Panel 2, Page 1
Nero: Second, any spell you cast with an ongoing duration will end when the splices expire.
Lee : So if you kill someone, they stay dead.
Cedrik : But if you make a Prismatic Sphere, it will vanish when the whole thing ends.
- Panel 3, Page 1
Nero: And third, you won't get any XP from anything you defeat while you're spliced.
Lee : Well, you could, technically, but your effective level would be so high that it's pretty unlikely.
Cedrik : Though on the plus side, the rejuvenating effects of the Soul Splice will allow you to start with all spell slots fully replenished.
- Panel 4, Page 1
Two colored orbs appear in front of Lee, surrounded by yellow energy.
Nero: And that's basically it. If you accept the deal that we've outlined verbally, touch the blue orb.
Lee : If you don't touch the red orb.
Cedrik : (We totally cribbed this idea from "The Matrix.")
- Panel 1, Page 2
Vaarsuvius: No elaborate contract to sign in my blood? No miniscule print containing crucial exceptions?
Lee : Passé.
Nero: Contracts are for people who have something to hide.
Cedrik : We simply don't need to trick you if we can get what we want by playing it straight.
- Panel 2, Page 2
Vaarsuvius: Very well. I have no taste for submitting myself to your dark clutches, but I see no alternative for such.
Vaarsuvius: The brief time my soul will in your collective care after my eventual death will be easily forgotten afterwards, when I proceed to my final rest.
- Panel 3, Page 2
Vaarsuvius: As there is not even one other way available to me to save the lives—nay, the very souls—of my children, I must, as a parent, make this deep sacrifice and accept your accursed bargain.
Lee (off-panel): Well...that's not technically true.
- Panel 4, Page 2
Lee: There is another way to save them.
Nero: Excuse me???
Cedrik: Hey, uh, can we all get on the same page here?
- Panel 5, Page 2
Lee: You could kill yourself.
Nero: Oh, I see!
Cedrik: True, that would work.
Qarr: I am so confused here.
- Panel 6, Page 2
Flash forward in black and white to a hypothetical future where Qarr holding V's severed head.
Lee (inset): The imp has agreed to serve you in this matter, and as a Lawful creature, he can't go back on that promise.
Nero (inset): So you could slice your own throat, after giving the imp orders to cut your head off afterward.
Cedrik (inset): As your head weights a lot less than 50 pounds, the imp could carry your head while teleporting back to the Azure City Fleet.
- Panel 7, Page 2
Qarr is dead on Lien's spear while Vaarsuvius has been raised by Durkon.
Cedrik (inset): So even if the paladins kill the imp on sight, they then have your head in front of them, see?
Lee (inset): They'll Resurrect you right away, and then you can describe your master, Aarindarius, in enough detail for the dwarf to cast Sending to him.
Nero (inset): Don't worry about the casting time, your friend has been saving a scroll for just such an emergency.
- Panel 8, Page 2
Aarindarius off-handedly kills the Ancient Black Dragon without looking up from his book.
Nero (inset): Your master could then intercede against the dragon—
Cedrik (inset): if not before your family's demise, then certainly before she has had time to bind their souls and leave—
Lee (inset): —all without owing us a damn thing.
- Panel 9, Page 2
Cut back to Tiny Island and return to full color.
Lee: But then you would have to admit that your magic had failed you yet again.
Cedrik: That a cleric and a monster had to run and tell Master to come clean up your mess.
Nero: Hell, you couldn't even claim to have come up with the idea, since we just gave it to you!
- Panel 1, Page 3
Cedrik: So, you know, it's your choice.
Nero: Because this whole "sell your soul" thing? 100% your idea.
Lee: We're just service providers.
- Panel 2, Page 3
Cedrik: Although, as a provider, I would be remiss not to warn you that the Soul Splice has been known to trigger feelings of pure omnipotence.
Nero: You may also experience some slight dizziness from the rush of unprecedented arcane power.
Lee: We won't tell anyone there was another way to save your children if you don't.
- Panel 3, Page 3
Vaarsuvius contemplates the two orbs.
Cedrik (off-panel): A lot to think about.
Lee (off-panel): No pressure.
Nero (off-panel): Though we should mention that the Time Stop wears off in four... three... two...
- Panel 4, Page 3
Vaarsuvius hold hands high in agony.
- Panel 5, Page 3
Vaarsuvius: I must succeed.
- Panel 6, Page 3
Vaarsuvius touches the blue orb
- Panel 7, Page 3
The blue orb affects Vaarsuvius
- Panel 8, Page 3
The effect becomes overwhelming.
- Panel 9, Page 3
D&D Context Edit
- The 9th level Wish spell and 7th level Limited Wish spell are normally capable of replicating the effects of divine magic. The rules of the Soul Splice apparently limit these effects.
- The duration of the 9th level Prismatic Sphere spell is normally 10 minutes per level.
- Experience Points are awarded when a character defeats an opponent of sufficient Challenge Rating. Presumably after splicing three epic-level souls V's effective level would be too high for almost anything to be a challenge.
- The IFCC's red and blue orbs are an explicit rip off of the red and blue pills from the 1999 film The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves. When Cedrik points out the appropriation of the theme, Qarr responds with "Whoa", a reference to the many times Keanu has said "whoa" in his movies. Keanu first said "whoa" as "Ted" Theodore Logan in the 1989 film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, in response to the appearance of Rufus in a time traveling phone booth. He also says "whoa" in Point Break (1999), Speed (1994), The Devil's Advocate (1997), and finally in The Matrix.
- The title refers to the Oracle's prophesy to Vaarsuvius in #331. V asked how he or she would "achieve complete and total ultimate arcane power". The Oracle prophesied that this would happen "by saying the right four words to the right being at the right time for all the wrong reasons." This strip fulfills this prophesy with the four words "I... I must succeed" and the wrong reasons being V's insistence in succeeding through arcane power despite the fact that fiends showed V another way to save V's family through the help of Durkon and Aarindarius, a path that did not require a deal with the fiends. V's haunting failure to save the soldiers of Azure City was a primary driver for needing to succeed through arcane might.
- This is the final appearance of Aarindarius, Varsuvius' former master who taught V the arcane arts. His only other appearance is in #630.