On Usefulness
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 478
Date published 28 July 2007
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The Azurites try to hold off Redcloak at the junk long enough for Haley and Belkar to return. While they don't arrive yet, they do find a lost party member.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

Haley and Belkar carry Roy's body across the plain.
Haley: Come on, we need to get back to the tower and through that tunnel. We need to get to the dock without fighting our way through the entire army.

Panel 2, Page 1

Belkar: Hopefully, the—ah, crap! CRAP!
Haley: What? What is it?

Panel 3, Page 1

Belkar: I just had the urge to say, “Hopefully, the others will have had an easier time than we have!”
Haley: Damn it! You know what that means, right?
Belkar: Yeah, that they’re almost certainly in deep sh—

Panel 4, Page 1

Cut to the waterfront where a fiendish octopus has its tentacles all over Hinjo's junk.

Panel 5, Page 1

Captain Axe: Sir, that fiendish octopus can crack this boat like a fortune cookie! We must leave while we can! 
Hinjo: Leave the octopus to us. We’re not leaving just yet.

Panel 6, Page 1

Hinjo: Besides, if we kill that goblin cleric now, it’ll be easier to retake the city later. 
Captain Axe: But—
Hinjo: Durkon, Lien, come with me!

Panel 7, Page 1

Elan: Oh, so you’re gonna hurt innocent civilians?
Elan: I guess it’s time I gave you a little squidpro quo!
Elan's pun has no effect on the octopus, "bink!"

Panel 8, Page 1

He is hit by the tentacle, "WHUMPH!"
Elan: Oooof!

Panel 9, Page 1

Hinjo: Elan, I don’t think it can hear your puns.
Elan: Are you sure? ‘Cuz Belkar has pretty much the exact same reaction whenever he hears one of them.

Panel 10, Page 1

Durkon: We’ll handle tha gobbo an’ ‘is calamari, lad. Help Kazumi an’ Daigo hold off tha boarders.
Elan: Aye, aye, skipper.

Panel 1, Page 2

Elan runs past a crowd of anonymous refugees.
Elan: Now I just need to figure out who “Kazumi” and “Daigo” are…

Panel 2, Page 2

Elan: Excuse me, huddled masses! Pardon me!
He passes a red cloak amidst the huddled masses.
Elan: PC coming through! PC coming—

Panel 3, Page 2

He stops.

Panel 4, Page 2

Elan: Vaarsuvius?? Is that you?
Vaarsuvius: Um… hello, Elan.

Panel 5, Page 2

Vaarsuvius: I assure you there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why I am attempting to hide among these fugitives.
Elan: Wow! You REALLY are the smartest!
Vaarsuvius: …
Vaarsuvius: I beg your pardon?

Panel 6, Page 2

Elan: You’re so unbelievably smart that you figured out how we were gonna escape the city, and you beat us here!
Elan: You’re like a super prophet person! Did you learn how to be a future psychic from Roy?

Panel 7, Page 2

Vaarsuvius: It would be soothing to assert that your innocent take on the situation is, in fact, true. But I am afraid it is not that simple.
Vaarsuvius: Or rather, it is even simpler: I used my last spell, Invisibility, to flee the battle and sneak aboard the last ship in the port.
Vaarsuvius: I did not know that you or the others would also choose this means of escape when I did so, however.

Panel 8, Page 2

Elan: Oh. Well, that’s OK, you’re here now. Come help us fight!
Vaarsuvius: Did you not listen? My LAST spell! I have no magic left with which to fight! My supposed “ultimate arcane power” has vacated my body, leaving me as powerless as these evacuees!

Panel 9, Page 2

Elan: Oh, V, now you’re just being silly! If I let myself get hung up on only doing things that had any actual chance of success, I’d never do anything!
Elan: I mean, I cast a spell today, and it WORKED! And we all know how much my illusions suck!

Panel 10, Page 2

Vaarsuvius: A spell?
Elan: Yeah, it was when we—
Vaarsuvius: You cast a singular spell today?
Elan: Yeah, but—

Panel 11, Page 2

Vaarsuvius stands by Elan at the gangplank. An illusory Celestial lion guards the way from several fearful hobgoblins.
Vaarsuvius: —and by crafting an illusion that appears to be a Celestial creature, you create within your opponents the believe that you have summoned it from beyond, thus explaining it’s sudden appearance on the battlefield—
Vaarsuvius: —which is further reinforced by the presence of an existing summoned creature, i.e. the octopus.
Elan: Neat! I never thought of that!
Vaarsuvius: Now have the “lion” slowly advance, giving the hobgoblins plenty of time to retreat in the face of this new “threat”…

D&D Context Edit

  • Elan is likely casting Silent Image, a 1st level spell, or perhaps Major Image, a 3th level spell if there is an auditory component.

Trivia Edit

  • Vaarsuvius rejoins the Order in this strip, after a period apart and some prodding from Elan.
  • Chronologically, Vaarsuvius' previous appearance is in the flashback of Comic #623, "Running Away". By publication date V's previous appearance is Comic #452, "Change of Direction".
  • This is the first appearance of the Fiendish Octopus.

Trivia Edit

  • The title considers the usefulness of a spellcaster when they have cast their last spell. Elan teaches Vaarsuvius the usefulness of uselessness.
  • Elan decided Roy was a future psychic in #185, The Time Killers.

External Links Edit