The Order of the Stick is a webcomic that has been running for about three years now. (And I just found out about it from Rob Fermier’s blog – thanks, Rob!) It started out as just a simple “make fun of the rules of D&D” comic – and it did its job very well. But as I read it, I was surprised to watch it grow out of that and into a pretty darn good general action/adventure/comedy comic set firmly inside the D&D universe.
One of the great things about The Order of the Stick is that all the characters know they are characters in a role playing game, but the entire story is told from their perspective – we never see the players who are presumably playing the characters or the GM who is presumably running the campaign. The characters all know how the D&D rules work and they know their own stats. They continually talk about failing Spot checks, rolling natural 20s and what Feats they should take for their next level. And the author, Rich Burlew, seems to know a whole lot about D&D. A whole lot. Reading the comic can actually help you figure out how some rules (like attacks of opportunity) work.
The other great thing about The Order of the Stick is that it’s drawn in a stick-figure style. This is great because it goes a long way to covering up the unbelievability of how RPGs are played – it doesn’t seem that weird when a character one hit point away from death is healed back up to full hit points instantly because all that really happens is that the red mark on his chest disappears and he stands up. If the toon were more realistic, it would actually be less believable. This is very, very important. The other benefit of the stick figure style is that Rich can give us a full page on every update which allows him to tell really big stories – and tell them he does!
The only downside is that I’d rate the strip PG-13 for violence, adult language and adult situations. So I’m not letting my daughter read it quite yet. But if you’re old enough and would like to read a great fantasy adventure comic, you really should give it a shot.
I love OotS. I’ve been reading it faithfully for over a year now. As a D&D nerd, I appreciated all the inside jokes, but it’s amazingly good at maintaining a story. I can’t believe how much they do with continuity, single-page jokes and riffing on D&D all in one comic. And the art style is amazing. sure it’s stick figures, but the truth is, as it has always been, what sells sequential art like comics is the expressiveness of the characters. In action/superhero comics, the expression is always in the exaggeration of the actions, the crazy wind up or follow through on a punch. In OotS and its simple stick figures, it’s the facial expressions. They eyes are so very expressive. This is what’s missing from video game characters in regards to story (if you ask me).
If that guy sold collections of his work, it’d be one of the first things I bought when I found employment.
That was GREAT!!! Thanks for the heads up. I just read the ENTIRE OOTS series … what a blast. Yes in one sitting.