Whatever You Do, Don't Oscillate
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 683
Date published 6 October 2009
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The caravan is ambushed by insectoid slavers.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

The order treks through a rocky outcrop in a sandy desert with the caravan.
Belkar: Goddamn it, I am sweating worse than a logger at DruidCon back here!

Panel 2

Belkar: I thought we were going to use magic to cancel the effects of the sun. Can't I get an Endure Heat spell aready?
Durkon: Sorry, I only prepared tha spell five times, an' I cast all o'em already.
Belkar: But there are SIX of us!

Panel 3

Durkon: Are there? Gosh golly, I fergot.
Durkon: Musta been all those blows ta tha head I took recently, aye?

Panel 4

Belkar: Stupid entirely justified comeuppance.
Durkon: Heh heh heh.
Elan: Hey, V—if you translate, do you think I could talk to one of the camels? Y'know, since you're half camel?
Vaarsuvius: You are a bottomless pit of self-reference, are you not?
Roy: Hey, can we all shut up about camels for a second, I think I heard—

Panel 5

Bugs emerge from the sand.

Panel 6

Elan: Wow! Bug-riding beetle bandits! Or beetle-riding bug bandits. I'm not sure.
Belkar: Come on, we DID bandits once already!
Roy: If it will make you feel better, they're not bandits—

Panel 7

Cut to two bugs capturing a human woman in a weighted net.
Roy (inset): -they're slavers.

Panel 8

Roy: Split up and protect the civilians!
Belkar: Great, just what I need, a random encounter to make me work up even more of a sweat.

Panel 9

A bug with a bola approaches Belkar.
Belkar: Come here, Beetle Bailey, I've got a trouser full of nut-sweat that I intend to end your life all the more painfully as a result of.
Belkar: Just stand still while I...

Panel 10

Belkar: ...cut off...

Panel 11

Belkar: ...your...

Panel 12

Belkar: Ahhhhhhh.
The bug with the bola stands whirling his bola over his head, "whoowwhoowwhoowhoo", blowing air on the overheated Belkar.
Other Bug: Don't you usually need to throw the bola in order to immobilize the target?
Bug with Bola: Shut up and get the net.

D&D Context Edit

  • The Druid class are defenders of nature, especially trees.
  • The Endure Elements spell, a 1st level spell, can be used to suffer no harm when in a hot or cold environment, but not from heat or cold damage.
  • Random Encounters can occur whenever a D&D party is traveling in the wilderness. They consist of an encounter with one or more hostile creatures.
  • The race of Bugheads is most similar to the D&D race of Thri-kreen. Thri-kreen were first published in the 1982 AD&D (1st edition) Monster Cards as well as the 1983 Monster Manual II. They were developed into a Player Character race for the 1991 AD&D 2nd Edition Dark Sun campaign setting, a desert setting similar to Great Barren Desert the Order finds themselves in in this strip.
  • Riding insects were also a common mode of transport in the Dark Sun setting.

Trivia Edit

  • Belkar is sunburned due to Durkon not casting Endure Heat on him. He retains it until Durkon heals him in #687.
  • Elan's comment (and V's frustration) in panel 4 are a reference to #87 where V sarcastically agrees with Elan's assessment that V is half-camel, since V did not need to use the bathroom.
  • Beetle Bailey is the main character in the long-running comic strip of the same name. It was first published in 1950 and was produced by its original creator, Mort Walker, until his death in 2018.
  • The title refers to table fans which oscillate from side to side while they blow air, the implication being if the slaver turns the airflow away from Belkar, the halfling will kill him.
  • This is the first appearance of the Camel Drover Father, in the green robes.

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