We're Doomed If She Finds the Map Key
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 522
Date published 17 January 2008
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Haley and Belkar escape Tsukiko through a secret door.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Belkar: Check it out: no shoes! Looks like someone wants to be just like the Belkster when he grows up.
Haley: Less unchecked ego, more running. The secret door is right down this alleyway.

Panel 2

Haley, Belkar, and Thanh arrive at a door marked with a large S with a line through it.
Belkar: That's your secret door?!?
Haley: Yeah, of course. Why do you think they mark them on maps that way?

Panel 3

Haley: Hey, Roy. Hope you don't mind sharing the cart for a bit.
Haley: OK, we're set. Close the door.
Belkar: Not yet, I've still got a few actions to take.

Panel 4

Belkar: Mr. Scruffy! Here kitty! I've got tuna treats!

Panel 5

Mr. Scruffy jumps off of Tsukiko's face.
Mr. Scruffy: meow!

Panel 6

Tsukiko: You little feline bastard, get back here! Cold Orb!!
Tsukiko: Damn it! Why did I prepare so many spells that need attack rolls?!?

Panel 7

Belkar: In you go, Mr. Scruffy.
Belkar: Oh, and hey, Tsukiko. On behalf of all the men in the city: Thanks for wearing a short skirt while flying.
Belkar: You've given me a lot to think about. Heh.

Panel 8

The secret door slams shut, "SLAM!!"

Panel 9

Tsukiko: I'll give you something to think about, you triple-crossing hair-footed pipsqueak who can't even manage to get himself convicted of first-degree—

Panel 10

Beat. Tsukiko and the wight pause at the secret door.

Panel 11

Tsukiko: Where the hell did they go??
Wight: Maybe they polymorphed into boxes, Mistress?

D&D Context Edit

  • The title and the clear marking on the "secret door" plays on a common convention in D&D maps where secret doors are marked with an S with the line of the wall continuing through the S. In the comic, the secret door is clearly marked with this symbolism, though the villains cannot see the door, presumably because they failed to look at the map key where it would show that secret doors are marked in this way.
  • Belkar has "a few actions to take" because D&D plays round by round, and he has yet to take an action this round. Additional actions are also possible with bonus actions, reactions, opportunity attacks and other special actions.
  • Tsukiko laments that many of her spells require attack rolls, making them potentially useless against opponents with high Armor Class. Other spells only require a failed saving throw by the object of the spell. However these types of spells can be useless against an opponent with Evasion and a high Dexterity (like Haley). Tsukiko is forgetting she intentionally stacked her prepared spells with those requiring attack rolls in order to deal with Haley as she notes in #518
  • Polymorph is a 4th level spell that allows characters to change form, though the canonical spell only allows transformation into other animals or monsters, not inanimate objects as the wight suggests in the final panel.

Trivia Edit

Belkar notices Thanh's missing shoes, a continuation of the gag from #516 and #517

External Links Edit