I am not The Giant, nor do I play him on TV. I am simply a fan of his, and I recommend you check out his work. (I distinctly remember the first comic of his that I read - a friend showed me #418 "It's A Type of Boat." The rest is history.)

No promises about maintaining the continuity. No promises about maintaining the characters' dignity, either - but that's nothing new to them. Possible side effects from taking the stories contained herein too seriously include headache, nausea, and ridicule from D&D/webcomic patrons. Consider yourself warned.

Dawn broke over the Western Desert clearly, steadily, without fuss. It being a desert, the night had been cold and the day would be brutal, but for now, it occupied that comfortable medium. The Order of the Stick lay camped, resting for the latest attempt at their quest, which had proceeded with remarkably few complications so far. And best of all - at least in Roy's mind - Haley had agreed to split the watch with him, and he slumbered on contentedly. Everything was at peace.

Naturally, a blood-curdling scream rent the air, and he snapped awake. "-flying kobolds! Huh? What, what's going on?" He snatched up his greatsword, running towards the noise's source.

Haley quickly turned away from the disturbance to face him. "Roy, good morning! So, feeling better? It's been nice and calm, nothing dangerous going on around here, everything's perfectly fine-"

He put his sword away. "-and I bet there's a good reason why Elan is fighting Belkar. Is this one of those curses that switches their brains, and now Elan's planning to kill us all in our sleep?"

Indeed, the battle seemed very much reversed in how unequal it was. The blond man was prancing about and flourishing his rapier at the fallen halfling, who recovered enough to glare up with pure venom. But before he could get to his feet, Elan simply tapped him on the shoulder and declared, "You may be a predator, but you won't find me easy pray!" Belkar promptly screamed and dropped to the ground again, clutching his ears.

Durkon and Vaarsuvius joined their leader, blinking away sleep (or trance, at least) as Roy said, "I doubt this is possible, but if someone could explain why Elan's doing this without breaking my brain, I'd be grateful."

Before Haley could speak, Elan noticed his fresh audience. "Perfect! You've come to join my holy cause!"

A haunted look dawned on Roy's face. "Tell me this isn't-"

But Elan had already pulled out a hand-puppet clown with googly eyes and a banjo. "I had a vision from the great Banjo in the night! He has called me to not only speak for him, but to lend my rapier and my rapier wit to his cause! Behold! I have become a paladin in the First Holy Army of Banjo!"

"You have got to be kidding me."

But Durkon lost it first. "Ye cannae be a paladin! Ye dinnae haf the-"

"Sure I can! It must be working, because my puns carry Smite Evil damage now! Check it out!" He advanced upon the snarling Belkar, declaring, "You shall never win, evildoer, for in this battle, smite makes right!"

"Gaah! I swear, one more of those, and I am going to rip out your-"

"You will be struck down, unless you altar your ways!"


Unlike the others' various degrees of worry or exasperation, Vaarsuvius looked on intently. "Fascinating... even with the merest contact, his prowess in the Dashing Swordsman class retains its enhancements to strength and combative prowess, but I was under the impression that the target is required to comprehend the meaning of the puns used in order for the technique to be effective, and knowledge of theological practices seems well outside of the halfling's experience."

The resident cleric growled, "Aye, that be my doing. After tha Dungeon o' Dorukan, I took the lad to a religious meetin', hopin' ta show 'im tha light. Tha tales o' war drew 'is ear, right 'nuff. But tha message to die to oneself fer tha sake o' others went all wrong."


"Aye... I had ta knock 'im out ta get 'im outta there. He told me tha, since he'd been doin' so much sinnin', it'd take a lotta people to die ta themselves in order ta save him. They had ta put a carpet o'er half the floor, to cover all tha-"

"Look," said Roy. "This is great, I'm sure, but I vote we stop this before we lose a few party members. Either Belkar's about to die, or my brain is. Haley?"

"On it."

"Elan, hey, maybe you'd like to describe your vision to us in a bit more detail?"

"Oh boy, oh boy, would I! There was a great ray of light, and a strum of banjo strings-"

As soon as his back was turned and his sword lowered, Belkar whipped out his twin daggers and prepared to jump. "Get ready to meet your god, you-"

"Sneak Attack!" The sap crashed down on his head, and Belkar dropped all of three feet to hit the sand.

The elf blinked unsteadily. "It would be a falsehood for me to declare that such an action failed to be gratifying to witness. However, it instills some grave doubts about our personal safety once the halfling awakes."

However, something caught Haley's eye, and a quick (and disgusted) Search check of Belkar's pockets turned up a flask. "Looks like we got ourselves some fresh, back-of-the-tent Western Continent booze."

Roy nodded. "Nice. Belkar wakes up next to an empty bottle, he won't even want to remember what just happened. Of course, he'll still have residual anger, but then again-"

"-he always does. But this isn't empty."

Durkon plucked it from her hand. "Tha' can be arranged."

Roy became aware that Elan had never stopped talking. "...nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, 'til we have built an ice cream parlor in Azure's green and pleasant land!"

"Elan, you can't-"

"Though their land is usually more blue than green-"

"Elan, you can't be a paladin!"

"But it's my calling! Even from the first day I was taught by Julio Scoundrél aboard his great ship Mechane, it was my foundation for the ways of war-ship..."

Roy's retort died in his throat, and one of his eyes started twitching. The elf's ears were swiftly covered, and Haley sighed. Durkon was still intentionally failing his Listen check - no easy feat, given his high Wisdom.

"...and his lessons are what I need, as I learned from Banjo's rapier-ance before me!"

"You can't be a paladin because you're not Lawful!"

Elan thought about this. Or at least gave a good impression of it. "...Ohhhh."

"Right, so just drop the whole pun-smiting thing and let's forget this ever happened."

Elan's face fell. "Then without me as its prophet, I guess the First Holy Army of Banjo doesn't have a prayer."

"-hrk- Gah! Elan, what did I just say!"

"Well, that one wasn't really a pun-"

"I don't care what it was! Knock it off, no loopholes!"

Durkon wiped his standard-issue dwarven beard, in better spirits for the spirits. "Ah, Roy, it's na so strange. Whene'er a lad wants ta be a cleric, he works hard ta receive hole-y orders."

Roy gasped, "Oh no... it's contagious!"

Elan pointed, "Hey, I think there's smoke coming out of Vaarsuvius' ears!"

Haley patted her boyfriend on the back. "Then you must be a holy man. Just like they say: where there's smoke, there's friar!"

He joined her laughter, and then Roy pointed over his shoulder. "Look, Elan - it's the spirit of Banjo incarnate!"

Elan gasped with joy, then spun to face the sky. "Banjo! I knew you'd never forget me! I believed in you, for you are my captain, and I am your crew-sader..."

The last syllable came out somewhat slurred, and Elan's face went more dopey than usual before he dropped somewhat more than three feet, also hitting the sand face-first.

Roy shook some life back into his fist, facing their various expressions stoically. "Look, I have my limits all right? And Elan here just crossed the 'punch' line."

Then he realized it. "Son of a..."