The Dangers of Progress
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 853
Date published 18 May 2012
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The Linear Guild wades into the fight with the Order of the Stick. The Order retreats to the cover of the pyramid. Inside, they nearly fall prey to the trap that has taken Vaarsuvius, but Haley (miraculously) makes her Spot check.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

The Linear Guild flies above the fray.
Malack: Now the fool is just showboating.
Malack: Flame Strike.
Nale: HEY!

Panel 2

The Flame Strike engulfs Roy, Belkar, and Tarquin, who is putting his helmet back on and seems unfazed. Elan avoids the blast.

Panel 3

Sabine: Nale didn't order you to provide artillery support yet, Pinkeye!
Malack: And I didn't care. This is a waste of time.

Panel 4

Belkar: Damn it, how come WE never have magical protection from fire?
Belkar attacks with his daggers and misses, "whiff! whiff!"
Tarquin: That would explain your blotchy complexion.
Elan: Durkon! Roy is down!
Durkon: I'm onnit lad. Heal!
Haley: Get him up and get back into the pyramid! We're sitting ducks out here!

Panel 5

Haley Sneak Attacks Tarquin from behind with Crystal's dagger of Cold (+1d6 damage). "SPLRK!!"
Tarquin: Unnh!!

Panel 6

The party retreats into the pyramid.
Haley: Hurry up! Move!
Belkar: Some of us had a guy in plate armor trip over us, you know.
Roy: Thanks for the cover. Now come on, we're falling back down the stairs.

Panel 7

The party continues down the stairs into the interior of the pyramid.
Haley: Do we have any idea what's down here?
Roy: None—except that it's indoors, which means we should have more control over the range and direction of engagement.

Panel 8

They reach the bottom of the stairs.
Elan: Roy, what about Vaarsuvius?
Roy: I didn't see any signs of a wizard battle outside. Either V's not out there, or has managed to stay hidden.

Panel 9

Roy: As much as I want to find V, we'll be no help if we get picked off at long range.
Roy: We'll need to figure out later what happened to Vaarsuv—
Haley: Look! A trap door!!

Panel 10

Cut to the bottom of the pit directly under this trap door, where Vaarsuvius and Blackwing lie unconscious still.

Panel 11

The party carefully crosses the trap door; Roy hands Durkon across to Haley while Belkar jumps over holding Mr. Scruffy. Roy: Nice catch, Haley. In the old days, we would've just fallen in!
Elan: We're improving!

D&D Context Edit

  • Flame Strike is a 5th level spell and deals 1d6 points of damage per level to a maximum of 15d6. Malack is likely 12th level so it would do 12d6 damage in a 10 foot radius.
  • Durkon's Heal spell heals 10 points per level, or 140 points of damage, likely bringing Roy up to full health.

Trivia Edit

  • With regards to his "blotchy complexion", Belkar got a sunburn because he was not protected by Durkon's Endure Heat spell in #683.
  • Haley took Crystal's knife (+1d6 Cold) from her in #648. She subsequently left it as a sign for Roy to find in #716, which Roy had recovered prior to #729. Durkon must have picked it up from the brunchroom along with her bow in #732, although he is never shown on-panel returning her equipment. This is the first appearance of the knife since then.
  • The title refers to the fact that had Haley not made progress with her abysmal track record in finding traps, they would have found Vaarsuvius. It plays on the wider use of the phrase which usually refers to situations where technological progress results in a degradation in the human condition or damage to the environment.

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