Pretender to the Throne
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 524
Date published 23 January 2008
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Haley and Belkar return to the headquarters of the Resistance and execute a scheme to release Thanh from Tsukiko's Domination.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1, Page 1

A large cavern with multiple passages and ladders to higher passages. A large banner with Redcloaks face crossed out hangs on the wall. Soldiers stand guard while the freed slaves stand around. Haley arrives with the cart.
Male Cleric: Welcome back! You've done it again, Haley. The people of Azure City are in your debt.
Haley: Cool. I accept Visa and MasterCard.

Panel 2, Page 1

Female Cleric: Oh! You've been injured!
Male Cleric: Cure Moderate Wounds!
Female Cleric: Cure Moderate Wounds!
Male Cleric: Cure Moderate Wounds!
Haley: Thanks, guys.

Panel 3, Page 1

Haley: But we've got bigger problems than a few scratches. Thanh here has been Dominated by Tsukiko.

Panel 4, Page 1

Female Cleric: Really? He hardly seems the sort to be into that type of—
Haley: Not that kind of dominated.
Female Cleric: Oh.

Panel 5, Page 1

Female Cleric: Haley, if we had access to 3rd-level spells like Dispel Magic, our food shortages would be easily fixable.
Male Cleric: We might have a scroll in the pile we salvaged from the temple though...
Haley: No... if you do, save it. I just go another idea that might work.
Belkar: Yeah... kick that string's ass, Mr. Scruffy.

Panel 6, Page 1

A short time later

Panel 7, Page 1

Belkar (dressed as Lord Shojo): I feel ridiculous. How is this supposed to help?
Haley: I'll explain later.
Haley: OK, wake him up and then back off a good distance.
Male Cleric: Cure Light Wounds!

Panel 1, Page 2

Haley: Hey, Thanh! Look! It's your master, Lord Shojo!
Belkar: What?!?!
Haley (whispering): Play along.
Ho Thanh: Must... attack...

Panel 2, Page 2

Belkar: Uh, yes! It's me, Lord Shojo!
Belkar: Mr. Scruffy says don't attack me. It would be wrong.
Belkar: Did I mention that I have no weapons and am easily pushing 80 years old?
Thanh: Must... attack...

Panel 3, Page 2

Haley (whispering): Geez, could you at least TRY to sound a little more like him?
Belkar (whispering): Why don't we get the party bard to do it?
Belkar (whispering): Oh, right, he sailed away from your overly-critical fat ass.

Panel 4, Page 2

Belkar: Uh... strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!
Thanh: Must... attack...
Thanh: ...but...Lord Shojo...

Panel 5, Page 2

Thanh: NO!!
Thanh: No, I cannot! To strike down my liege would violate everything I believe!
Thanh reverses his katana.
Thanh: I should take my own life for even considering such an act.

Panel 6, Page 2

Haley: Whoa, whoa, whoa! No need for that, it's just Belkar. The spell's all gone now.
Thanh: Yes... I feel my head clearing...
Male priest: Here, this way, Thanh. You need rest.
Thanh: Where did my shoes go?

Panel 7, Page 2

Belkar: I have absolutely no idea what just happened here...
Haley: It's easy. We used a loophole to break Tsukiko's enchantment.

Panel 8, Page 2

Haley: Magic domination can be broken if the order given is against the subject's true nature right?
Haley: And what's the one act that we know—through direct empirical evidence—can cause a paladin to be stripped of his powers?
Haley: Killing their defenseless liege lord!

Panel 9, Page 2

Haley: So it stood to reason that as such, doing so would be against Thanh's true nature, and he would get a new saving throw.
Haley: I'm just glad having the real Mr. Scruffy gave you such a good circumstance bonus to your Disguise check to look like him.

Panel 10, Page 2

Belkar: I was BAIT?? What if he didn't but it? Or worse, what if he did but it turned out he was "Miko 2: Electric Bugaloo" and did the deed anyway?!?
Belkar: I could have been killed!
Haley: Yeah, I though of that...

Panel 11, Page 2

Haley: But then I realized that you just proved that there's plenty of room on the cart for your corpse.
Haley: So I tried it anyway.

Panel 12, Page 2

Belkar: Ha ha, very funny, Haley. But I know that you wouldn't let me get killed to save some NPC paladin, just because he's loyal and trustworthy and honest and—
Belkar: ...
Belkar: Ah, crap.

D&D Context Edit

  • The priests use three Cure Moderate Wounds spells which heal 2d8+1/level HP to heal Haley because they are too low-level to use the more effective Cure Serious (3d8+1/level), Cure Critical Wounds (4d8+1/level), Cure Deadly Wounds (5d8+1/level), or Heal (heal to max hp) spells.
  • The male cleric also used a Cure Light Wounds.
  • Dominate Person lasts 1 day/level, which for Tsukiko is probably at least 11 days. Dispel magic is a 3rd level spell that can end the effect. Dominated persons forced to perform an action against their nature get a new saving throw (at +2) to cast off the effect.
  • Miko Miyazaki lost her paladin status due to killing Lord Shojo in #407.
  • Create Food and Water is also a 3rd-level spell, requiring a 5th-level character to cast it.

Trivia Edit

  • This is the first appearance of the Resistance Clerics.
  • The hairstyle of the male priest is reminiscent of the chonmage worn by samurai during the Edo period.
  • The BDSM gag from #521 is continued here by the female priest.
  • Belkar (as Shojo) references Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars Episode IV when he says to Darth Vader, "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."
  • Thanh loses his shoes to a wight between #516 and #517, which delivers on the joke about "walk a mile in their shoes." Belkar notices their absence in #522.
  • Belkar makes reference to the 1984 sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.

External Links Edit