The Comics Must Flow
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 688
Date published 5 November 2009
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Belkar's addition to the Spice Melange attracts Shai-Hulud.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Roy: What is that smell? It's been in my nose ever since we left the caravan.
Haley: It's Belkar's gift from the spice merchant. He's been practically chugging it for the last few hours.
Belkar: This is... damn, this stuff is amazing.

Panel 2

Belkar: It's like you crystallized the best sex you've ever had with a woman and put it in a tiny bottle on your spice rack.
Belkar: No, wait, it's like you took that spice and snorted it while screwing her hotter sister.
Belkar: In front of her.

Panel 3

Belkar: Elan, you should totally taste this. It will change your life.
Elan: Sure, I'll try some.
Belkar: Oh, no, I meant, you know, hypothetically.
Elan: ...Does "hypothetically" mean "on toast?"
Belkar: No.

Panel 4

Haley: Belkar, are you sure this stuff is safe? Your eyes look a little weird.
Belkar 's eyes turned purple-blue
Belkar: Let me tell you, "safe" is for NPCs. I live on the edge.

Panel 5

Haley: Seriously, Belkar, we are not lugging your misogynistic little butt around if you make yourself sick again.
Belkar: Fine, fine, I'll read the packaging if it will make you feel better, Mom.

Panel 6

Belkar: No, it doesn't say anything about eye color change. Just a disclaimer that the distributor is not liable for any gruesome violent deaths resulting from consuming this product in an open desert.
Belkar: So, see? It's perfectly safe for—
Mr. Scruffy looks off stage left in alarm.

Panel 7

Belkar: ...
Belkar: Ah, crap.
Mr. Scruffy starts running.

Panel 8

A gargantuan Purple Worm bursts through the surface of the sand, "RRRRRRRRAAAWWWWWWWWWWRRRR!!!!"
Roy: Holy—!!!
Roy: It must be attracted to the spice!
Belkar: You think?

Panel 9

Durkon: Och, it's times like this, I wish I had a 500-foot tall bottle o' tequilla!
Roy: I don't think that would work to drown the worm.
Durkon: Who said anythin' aboot the worm? I jus'wanna get too blitzed ta rememb'r this!

D&D Context Edit

  • The Purple Worm is a classic D&D monster introduced in the original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons (0th edition) boxed set (White Box). Of Gargantuan size, the Purple Worm is capable of swallowing adventurers whole.

Trivia Edit

  • This comic has several references to Frank Herbert's 1965 epic science fiction novel Dune, and its sequels.
    • Belkar is drinking a substance he describes a "spice" and which was a gift from a "spice mercant". Much of the plot of the Dune series revolves around the production and use of the spice Melange which is often referred to simply as "the spice".
    • Melange is known to tint user's eyes blue after extensive use, as Belkar's eyes have changed.
    • In the Dune novels, spice is produced by giant sandworms in the juvenile phase of their life cycle. Rather than being attracted to spice, however, they are attracted to vibration on the surface of the desert. They are however, often seen near spice eruptions due to the relationship between spice and the worms. The Purple Worm of D&D is a close analog to the sandworms of Dune.
    • The strip's title is a nod to the often used quote related to the series, "The spice must flow." In the novels, interstellar travel and personal longevity rely on spice, so the uninterrupted production of the substance was deemed critical. Similarly, Rich Burlew must feel that he is compelled by his fanbase to continue the production of the comic despite his injuries and chronic illness.
  • Tequila never contains a worm. Mezcal worms are used for flavor in some varieties of Mezcal.
  • This is the first appearance of the Purple Worm.
  • Belkar had apparently read the script for this comic, since he was somehow able to correctly infer that Haley's words "Your eyes look a little weird" referred to his eyes changing color.
  • Haley's comment in Panel 5 refers to when Belkar was ill from strips #569 to #610 due to his Greater Mark of Justice being triggered, forcing her and Celia to carry him around during that time.

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