Value of an Independent Variable
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 1041
Date published 21 June 2016
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Team Evil discusses their loot and XP while MitD takes care of the methodical approach.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Redcloak: What a waste. No Gate, no sign of the rift.
Redcloak: Inflict Critical Wounds.
Xykon: Yeah, but we got to kill a bunch of stuff.
Redcloak: To what end? What did their deaths mean?
Xykon: They meant we don't have to kill them later. I thought you liked efficiency.
Monster in the Darkness: Should I close the door? I'll close the door.

Panel 2

Oona: Should we be trying a second door tonight? Oona still fresh and ready!
Redcloak: No. I'm tapped out.
Redcloak: Keeping both undead and living party members standing through a bunch of flights in a row burns through way too many spells.

Panel 3

Oona: Is OK. Lots of monster parts. Maybe shaman will make Oona nice new magic belt or something.
Xykon: See, that's the spirit! Focus on how snuffing the life out of other creatures benefits us!

Panel 4

Redcloak: You're in a surprisingly chipper mood tonight.
Xykon: Why shouldn't I be? Some of those ugly bastards were strong enough that I actually gained experience!
Xykon: Do you have any idea how rare that is at my level?

Panel 5

Xykon: And don't forget these sweet magical Boots of Free Movement we found. No more getting grappled or entangled or whatever.
Xykon: Plus they keep my toe bones from catching on things and popping off!

Panel 6

They walk away from the tombs.
Redcloak: I'm so glad you're enjoying our fruitless struggle.
Oona: Mmmm, fruit! Oona could go for lunch!
MitD: So, uh, I'm just gonna paint the big red X on the door, OK?

Panel 7

Xykon: Yeah, fine, whatever.
Redcloak: Do you even have fruit in the arctic?
Greyview: Have bitter fruit of eternal dispair.
Oona: Also certain berries!

Panel 8

Paint swipe down on the door

Panel 9

Paint swipe up on the door

Panel 10

Paint swipe down on the door

Panel 11

Paint swipe up on the door

Panel 12

Paint swipe down on the door

Panel 13

Paint swipe down on the door

Panel 14

Beat panel. MitD looks at his work.

Panel 15

MitD: Hey guys, wait up!

D&D ContextEdit

  • Redcloak is using Inflict Critical Wounds to heal Xykon, but in the previous strip he was using Cure Critical Wounds to heal the living members of the party. These spells have the opposite effect on undead that they do on the living. Clerics have a limited number of spell slots per day in D&D and as Redcloak points out, this uses up a lot of them since he can't use the same spells to heal everyone. He will need to wait till tomorrow to regain his spells which is why they can't go back in to clear another door.
  • Oona is collecting rare ingredients for spells or magic items from the monsters they killed
  • Xykon is at least level 21, which means that even monsters with a Challenge Rating of 12 or lower will present a Very Easy challenge for him and he will not get any experience points (XP).
  • Xykon has obtained a pair of Boots of Free Movement.

Trivia Edit

  • The strip's title refers to the "X" that MitD paints on the doors that they have already tried, or order to prevent them from going through them again. In mathematical modeling, for a function in one dimension, x is conventionally called the independent variable and y is called the dependent variable.
  • The title is also a pun on the word "value." The value of an independent variable determines the value of the dependent variable. But in this case he means value in the sense of the utility of painting the X's, or else MitD's value to the paladins due to him acting independent of Xykon and Redcloak, since he appears to have painted more than one "x", confounding his apparent purpose.
  • This is currently the latest appearance of most of Team Evil, including Redcloak, Xykon, the Demon-Roaches, Oona, and Greyview:
    • Redcloak has appeared in 109 strips, first appearing in #23, "Meanwhile...".
    • Xykon has appeared in 100 strips, first appearing in #13, "Plot, Ahoy!".
    • The Demon-Roaches have appeared in 60 strips, first appearing in #82.
    • Oona is a recent addition, first appearing in #1032.
    • Greyview, her worg animal companion, first appeared in #1036.

External Links Edit