Riders on the Worm
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 690
Date published 11 November 2009
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Roy plans out the mission to Girard's Gate.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

A long shot of the party riding through the Great Barren Desert on the purple worm.
Roy: Let's see...

Panel 2

Roy operates a sextant while Durkon produces a magical timepiece.
Roy: OK. I think we need to bear three degrees and... eight minutes to starboard.
Durkon: Ooch! "Starboard" means ta tha right!
Vaarsuvius: Yes thank you.
Vaarsuvius: (aside) I stayed aboard a ship for half the last book too, you know.

Panel 3

Vaarsuvius is casting a hand spell to hold Belkar in from of the worm.
Vaarsuvius: Three degrees, eight minutes. Course confirmed.
Belkar: (reading) No, no, no! Don't lean in, he's got a poison tooth!

Panel 4

Durkon: This's great. At this rate, we'll be standin' at Girard's Gate inna few hours 'nstead o' a few weeks!
Roy: Actually, we'll be getting off a few miles short of the Gate.

Panel 5

Roy: Shojo said Girard Draketooth was a pretty powerful illusionist, and we'll be trying to enlist his help in crushing Xykon.
Roy: Showing up on his doorstep riding a big monster worm may not leave the best first impression.

Panel 6

Roy: That's another reason the paladins went to check on Kraagor's Gate.
Roy: Apparently, there was no love lost between Girard and Soon. Walking in the door with two of Soon's disciples in tow may have soured him against us.

Panel 7

Roy: And you prepared True Seeing, right?
Durkon: Twice, aye.
Roy: Good, good. I'm not sure what we're going to find when we get there, but I'll be relying on you to pierce any mirages.

Panel 8

Durkon: I'm surprised lad! Ye really seem ta have all tha bases cover'd!
Roy: Yeah, it's not like I had several months of free time to think about all of this.
Durkon: Och, right.

Panel 9

Roy: The scary part is that once we get inside the—
Roy: I dunno, castle? Dungeon? Whatever.
Roy: —I'm going to be relying on Elan's diplomacy to persuade Girard to—

Panel 10

Roy: Wait.
Roy: Where IS Elan anyway? Or Haley for that matter?

Panel 11

Elan: What, here? Now?? What's gotten into you?
Haley: What? I was just overcome with how much I love you
Haley: Though the fact that I've been staring at a huge worm all afternoon may also be a factor.

D&D Context Edit

  • V appears to be using Bugsby's Grasping Hand, V's parody version of Grasping Hand, which is also known by the trademarked name Bigby's Grasping Hand. This is a 7th level spell, but it cannot be any of the lower level variants because only Grasping Hand (and the 9th level Crushing Hand, which V cannot cast) are capable of grappling a subject, as is required to hold Belkar over the worm.
  • In panel 2, Durkon has produced a chronometer via an unknown magical effect. There is no canonical D&D spell which would perform this function of providing an independent clock. See below on its use in the calculation of longitude.
  • Some have proposed that Belkar in panel 3 is reading the D&D Monster Manual and thus learned of its poison attack. However, the D&D purple worm has a poison stinger on its tail, not a poisonous bite, and certainly not a poisonous tooth. See below for why that specific language suggests the book is intended to be Frank Herbert's Dune.

Trivia Edit

  • The comic's title is a reference to Riders on the Storm, from The Doors on their 1971 album, L.A. Woman.
  • The worm-riding on the desert continues the references to Frank Herbert's Dune prevalent through the last three strips.
  • In panel 3 Belkar is reading Dune. He appears to be reading the scene in which the Duke Leto Atreides has been incapacitated and brought before the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. The duke has a false tooth containing poison gas that will kill both characters when triggered, but the duke waits for the baron to lean in so that it will have its full effect. Belkar is yelling to protect the evil Baron, whose character he empathizes with.
  • In panel 2, Roy is taking an elevation measurement of the sun (presumably at noon) and also recording the time on Durkon's magical chronometer. While latitude can be calculated from the sun's elevation at noon alone, the clock (presumably set to the local time at some reference longitude) is necessary for the calculation of longitude via Harrison's method.
  • Durkon has picked up on nautical terms, an issue he had trouble with in #507.
  • This is the final appearance of the Purple Worm. It first appeared in #688, The Comics Must Flow

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