Sunday, October 14, 2007

Review: Order of the Stick Print Comics

D&D players have always been insecure. My favorite example is that over in the Enworld Forums, every so often there'll be a thread about how D&D or Role Playing Games (RPGs) are losing players and becoming an extinct species.

The evidence, however, is that D&D is going strong, and the number one exhibit for that case has to be the Order of the Stick web-comics, which make so many D&D references (right down to edition changes) that most geeks wouldn't even bother reading it unless they were D&D players.

The Order of the Stick has become so popular that it has spawned two print-only books:

On the Origin of the PCs introduces the player characters, or rather, the protagonists. In black and white (to lower costs, and to reflect the flash-back nature of the story), it provides the back story behind each of the protagonists and their coming together. Along the way, it makes fun of the usual D&D tropes (dark strangers in taverns anyone?), as well as the usual jabs at the D&D rules. While I think it falls short of being as funny as the web-comic, it is still very funny.

Start of Darkness details the villains, and surprisingly enough, was more interesting than the protagonists. Though as any DM who has spent gobs of time detailing the backstory of his villains who rarely survive more than one encounter with the PCs will tell you, this is all too common. In particular, the goblin known as "Redcloak" has a tragic story and this makes the web comic even more entertaining.

As you might have guessed, you can read most of these on-line, but you're not going to enjoy these comics unless you like D&D, and if you are not a current player, you will miss many jokes and references. But yes, Scarlet, I expect you are current enough to get most of the jokes.
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